Getting Ready for Tomorrow

 

The last thing I do before closing my eyes to sleep is to mentally prepare myself for the fight tomorrow.

How easy it is, congratulating yourself after a productive today, to talk yourself into slacking off tomorrow.

The working day doesn’t start in the morning. It starts the night before.

The first post in this series was titled RESISTANCE WAKES UP WITH ME.

It does, and I know it.

Resistance will hit me tomorrow morning before I even open my eyes. It will try to turn my success today into failure tomorrow.

Resistance will try to convince me I can relax, ease up. “You put a good day in the bank today. Enjoy it. Slack off a little tomorrow.”

Tempting, ain’t it?

But I know what will happen if I listen to this siren song.

So I don’t listen.

Instead I steel myself. Like an athlete, like a provider for a family, like a contender, like a professional.

I am playing the long game.

I am inculcating habit.

I am deepening my practice, day by day.

I have a month-at-a-glance calendar on my desk. Every day when I finish work, I write a letter as a code for the project I worked on that day in the upper right hand corner of the calendar day … and I put a check mark beside it.

What I’m trying to do is reinforce for myself the idea that my artist’s life is 24/7/365.

I want to be able to look down at that calendar and see check mark after check mark with no gaps in between.

I’m my own boss, my own coach, my own CEO.

I’m training myself and reinforcing myself every day.

DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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THE AUTHENTIC SWING

A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

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NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.

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TURNING PRO

Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"

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31 Comments

  1. Mary Doyle on April 29, 2020 at 6:10 am

    Thanks for this important reminder, Steve! It’s easy to fool oneself that one day we will defeat Resistance once and for all, and watch it slink away, never to return. As the dinosaur wrangler said in Jurrasic Park, just before the T-Rex ate him, “Clever girl.” Never turn one’s back on the enemy.

    • John Nelson on May 28, 2020 at 8:28 am

      It was a Velociraptor that got him, Mary. The lawyer got eaten by a T-Rex. I do, however, really like the point you were making so your analogy is still a good one. It’s often not the enemy in plain view that waylays us, it’s the one masked by life’s jungle that slip in silently to kill our dreams. The Resistance is clever, indeed.

  2. Cathy Ryan on April 29, 2020 at 7:57 am

    “It starts the night before.” Yes. Thank you for that reminder.

  3. Kim Finley on April 29, 2020 at 8:00 am

    Love this. Thank you.

    • Michael Greco on April 29, 2020 at 8:09 am

      Yes. Really well-stated, Steven Pressfield, thank you!

  4. Adithya Rowi on April 29, 2020 at 8:08 am

    It’s hard. But it doesn’t have to be too hard. “No hurry, no pause.”

  5. J.J. Salem on April 29, 2020 at 8:12 am

    I needed to read this today. What a succinct and powerful post. I love the project letter code/checkmark practice. I’m going to adopt that. Thank you for this!

  6. George Dom on April 29, 2020 at 8:12 am

    How does preparing for the fight tomorrow affect your ability to go to sleep? Imagining the threats you’ll face tomorrow will arouse fight-of-flight hormones that will keep you awake. Could it be that your routine includes reviewing your challenges for the next day such that you can then climb into bed, relaxed and calm, knowing you are prepared for tomorrow?

  7. Sweta Das on April 29, 2020 at 8:23 am

    Fate/resistance says, ” You have no choice in the matters of life, just be a mere observer because it does not matter anyway. You are too small to make a significant change in your life or the lives of others”.
    Destiny/spirit says, “You matter, and every choice you make matters. If you are breathing and are alive then you have a responsibility towards making your life into a genuinely beautiful piece of art. And you just might influence others to do the same as a side effect”.
    Choice is ours at any given time. People like Steven Pressfield give voice to the forces of spirit for anyone to tune in. Thank you.

    • Antoinette Webster on May 6, 2020 at 2:07 pm

      Here’s to making great art.

  8. Melanie O Miller on April 29, 2020 at 8:47 am

    DId you have to read my habit?

  9. Rock on April 29, 2020 at 8:50 am

    Wise and disciplined approach. Thanks for sharing

  10. Anonymous on April 29, 2020 at 8:50 am

    I like this simple, straight-forward style.
    Easy to read and understand, without much technical jargon.

    Doug

  11. Chuck DeBettignies on April 29, 2020 at 8:53 am

    Yes – We must know the enemy (resistance) better than we know ourselves.
    It never gives up. Never takes a break.
    It flourishes by hiding.
    The only way we can get ahead of it, is by dragging it out into the bright light of day.
    Love these Wednesday messages from you Steven!

  12. Gigi Blackshear on April 29, 2020 at 9:49 am

    This will stay with me, “The working day does not start in the morning. It starts the night before”. I have been desperately seeking a solution to my inability to write consistently. Now I realize the lack of an established routine or better put, my unwillingness to establish a routine is partly to blame. Laziness makes Resistance’s job so much easier.

    • Rodney Page on April 29, 2020 at 10:50 am

      Truth! Unfortunately, this is me. ” My unwillingness to establish a routine is partly to blame.”

  13. Jule Kucera on April 29, 2020 at 9:54 am

    In the Jewish religion, days start at sunset.
    The evening prepares the morning.
    If I fall asleep with a question about what I am working on, many times the muse will wake me up before my alarm clock, filled with words that need to be written. I have to write them fast, before they fade away.

  14. Marina Goritskaia on April 29, 2020 at 10:22 am

    I can relate. Dozing off with no idea what exactly to do tomorrow leads to a half of next day figuring it out.

  15. MarkF on April 29, 2020 at 11:31 am

    On point as usual; no, actually, moreso

    Resistance is never entirely defeated, tho you know yourself to be on the right track when it feels weirder to not be working than to be on task.

    “It’s 7:55am, I always sit down at computer to work; where else would I be?” M

  16. Brian Nelson on April 29, 2020 at 11:35 am

    This COVID stand down has been a great opportunity to tighten up my daily routines. My morning behaviors have gotten much stronger, but I have struggled with a ‘closing of the day’ habit. This is the perfect reminder of how incomplete my day is without a review, analysis of success/failures of day, and a recommitment to my ideals. Thank you.
    bsn

  17. Denise on April 29, 2020 at 1:07 pm

    Great reminder!

  18. Mo MacRae on April 29, 2020 at 4:33 pm

    Thank you Steven. So incredibly insightful. It’s like you’re inside my head – all those siren songs from resistance are the ones I heard this morning. I had a power day yesterday and resistance was angling to turn it on me. Not now. I really love the calendar hack too. No gaps. Thanks. Be well. Cheers, Mo.

  19. Charles on April 29, 2020 at 10:00 pm

    Talking about mermaids remebers me of Hagar
    The guy is Horrible
    He likes going to drinking picnics with the mermaids on the sea shore
    But if one is unfastening the sails of the boat to throw kisses at every mermaid one hears singing on the shore, ones long sailing goes crazy
    Sail the long sail wave by wave

    “It s worth remembering, that it is often the small steps, not the giant leaps, that bring about the most lasting changes”
    Her Majesty The Queen Elisabeth II

  20. Max Rijavec on April 30, 2020 at 1:54 am

    Dear Master Steven,

    I am loving this, only three Wednesdays and I am winning, as you say today, day by day.
    Just a favour, check with your IT people, or maybe there is another reason, I cannot get to the 21 minute minicourse.
    Thanks again,
    and again,
    Max from London

  21. Harvey Stanbrough on April 30, 2020 at 4:14 am

    Frankly, I was surprised this is your routine. I wake up each morning excited to get back to the current novel. I only stopped writing the day before because my mind was becoming fuzzy. (grin) But then, writing is fun for me, not work. Work, to me, is something I did for years for money; something I didn’t necessarily enjoy; something I would escape on weekends. But writing is what I escape TO. Bradbury once wrote “I love to write. It’s all I do.” I feel much the same way. And I’m no beginner. My current novel will be my 50th.

  22. mary darling on April 30, 2020 at 1:20 pm

    I walk hand in hand with you Master Pressfield.

  23. Binit on May 1, 2020 at 11:52 am

    Steven,
    I recently completed “The War of Art”. I am really very grateful to you for your work on the book. After reading your book, I did the self assessment and found out that I am a graduate of procrastination and excuses. I can procrastinate anything good indefinitey. In fact I have been very creative in procrastination. I can write a book on procrastination and excuses.
    But, I have changed now.

    I have been trying for good for last five years. Whatever I tried I failed. And without even getting up and try harder, I quit and tried something else. Your book is an eye opener. Thank You For Your Great Work.

    With tons of love
    Binit

  24. Jonathan on May 7, 2020 at 5:48 am

    Hey Mr. Pressfield – I rarely leave comments, but wanted to tell you how much I appreciate your stuff. The part about marines in War of Art…! THANK YOU

  25. Zbigniew on May 11, 2020 at 2:48 pm

    Mental preparation is a key for achieving any goal. The “tomorrow “ is our next goal after today’s successes.
    Cheers

  26. Patrícia on May 28, 2020 at 7:59 am

    Steven, thank you so much for sharing your experience, and make us stronger! Love you!

  27. Anonymous on June 2, 2020 at 3:38 am

    Thank you.

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