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The War of Art – overcoming creative self-doubt

30 Jul

Some really great quotes from The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks & Win Your Inner Creative Battles by Steven Pressfield



“If you find yourself asking yourself (and your friends), “Am I really a writer? Am I really an artist?” chances are you are. The counterfeit innovator is wildly self-confident. The real one is scared to death.”


 “The Principle of Priority states (a) you must know the difference between what is urgent and what is important, and (b) you must do what’s important first.”


 “Are you paralyzed with fear? That’s a good sign. Fear is good. Like self-doubt, fear is an indicator. Fear tells us what we have to do. Remember one rule of thumb: the more scared we are of a work or calling, the more sure we can be that we have to do it.”


 “The artist committing himself to his calling has volunteered for hell, whether he knows it or not. He will be dining for the duration on a diet of isolation, rejection, self-doubt, despair, ridicule, contempt, and humiliation.”


 “We must do our work for its own sake, not for fortune or attention or applause.”


 “This is the other secret that real artists know and wannabe writers don’t. When we sit down each day and do our work, power concentrates around us. The Muse takes note of our dedication. She approves. We have earned favor in her sight. When we sit down and work, we become like a magnetized rod that attracts iron filings. Ideas come. Insights accrete.”


 “Our job in this life is not to shape ourselves into some ideal we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.”


“The most important thing about art is to work. Nothing else matters except sitting down every day and trying.”


 “We fear discovering that we are more than we think we are. More than our parents/children/teachers think we are. We fear that we actually possess the talent that our still, small voice tells us. That we actually have the guts, the perseverance, the capacity. We fear that we truly can steer our ship, plant our flag, reach our Promised Land. We fear this because, if it’s true, then we become estranged from all we know. We pass through a membrane. We become monsters and monstrous.”


“Are you a born writer? Were you put on earth to be a painter, a scientist, an apostle of peace? In the end the question can only be answered by action.

Do it or don’t do it.

It may help to think of it this way. If you were meant to cure cancer or write a symphony or crack cold fusion and you don’t do it, you not only hurt yourself, even destroy yourself,. You hurt your children. You hurt me. You hurt the planet.

You shame the angels who watch over you and you spite the Almighty, who created you and only you with your unique gifts, for the sole purpose of nudging the human race one millimeter farther along its path back to God.

Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.”


“Someone once asked Somerset Maughham if he wrote on a schedule or only when struck by inspiration. “I write only when inspiration strikes,” he replied. “Fortunately it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”



Reading list

30 Jul

What’s on my To-Read List:

DESIGNING FOR INTERACTION Dan Saffer (LIU Norrkoping on hold) didn’t finish – rather basic
Universal Principles of Design (LIU Norrkoping reserved)
Dealers of Lightning: Xerox PARC and the Dawn of the Computer Age
The Art of Human-Computer Interface Design (LIU Valla bibliotek)

Thoughts on Interaction Design (Kolko)

Thoughtful Interaction Design (Lowgren/Stolterman)
Humane Interface by Jef Raskin (TekNat PU)
Information Visualization: Perception for Design by Colin Ware (TekNat 152)
Social Psychology & Exploring Social Psychology by Myers (HumSam 302, Norrk, Hälsouniv 302)
Essential Cognitive Psychology by Alan Parkin

Architecture – Francis Ching (Hum Sam)
The Art of 3-dimensional Design – Louis Wolchonok (Hum Sam)

Bauhaus 1919-1933 (Hum Sam)
Design for the real world Papanek (HumSam Plan 2)
Design for the Digital Age by Kim Goodwin (HumSam 745.2)
Universal Principles of Design (Tek Nat)
Cradle to Cradle (TekNat)
The Laws of Simplicity (e-book)
Graphic Design: The new basics (e-book)

*Don’t make me think – Steve Krug (Norrkoping)
Envisioning information – Tufte (Norrkoping)
Elements of Typographic Style by Robert Bringhurst (Norrkoping)

A list of interaction design books from the Experience Design MFA program:

A list of usability and interface design books:
About Face 3. The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann and David Cronin (ebook)

The Semantic Turn
Geometry of Design
The Elements of User Experience by Jesse James Garret
Web Anatomy: Interaction Design Frameworks that Work by Robert Hoekman, Jr and Jared Spool
Designing Interfaces by Jenifer Tidwell
UX Design: For User Experience Designers in the field or in the making. by Russ Unger and Carolyn Chandler
‘Designing for the Digital Age’ by Kim Goodwin (HumSam-biblioteket & TekNat 005.43 & ebook)
About Face 3. The Essentials of Interaction Design by Alan Cooper, Robert Reimann and David Cronin (ebook & HumSam 005.43)
The Inmates are Running the Asylum