“In the end, it’s about the inner war.”
I’m going to get a little personal in this episode. When I was twenty-nine, I rented a little cottage like this one behind me here. I had saved up enough to last me a year … twenty-seven hundred dollars … and moved from New York City to a little town in Northern California. My intention was to write a book, to finish a book. This house behind me is not the actual place I lived in, but it’s a pretty good stand-in.
To fill in the “backstory” that brought me to this place, I had tried six years earlier to write a novel, spent two years full-time, with the support of my wife and family … and had gotten 99.9% of the way through it. And then I choked. On the one-yard line, I had fumbled the ball, blew up my marriage, etc., and had spent the following five or six years on a kind of hellish odyssey, on my own, where shame, my own shame at what I had done (or rather NOT done) was tormenting me.
I had finally gotten it together enough that I had enough money where I could work for a year. My goal was just to finish something. Whether it sold, whether I could find a publisher didn’t mean anything to me. I just had to FINISH SOMETHING or I was gonna kill myself.
We’re talking here about the Inner War.
This cottage here, from the outside, looks like an idyllic setting … the fantasy ideal of the writer’s life, the artist communing with his Muse. But inside that cottage, in the back room where I was working, it was a war.
It was a war to the death.
At that point I had to call upon, or find within myself, my Warrior Archetype, my King Archetype, the things we’re talking about in this series. To maintain my composure over my self-doubt, my tendency to sabotage myself, to procrastinate, my fear, the fear to go big, the fear to really try hard. And these were compulsions that I had no control over. I was hanging on by my fingernails.
Anybody that’s done that, anybody that’s engaged in a long-term creative enterprise knows what I’m talking about. The enemy is Resistance. Resistance with a capital R.
The wars that we fight, that you and I fight, are not always on the battlefield. Sometimes they’re in a perfect little setting like this, where the inner war is being fought out on an arena that nobody else can see from the outside, but that we know. It’s in our heart and it’s in our head.
Man, I appreciate your honesty and willingness to share things that might make you feel vulnerable. You’re doing good work.
Thanks for sharing Steve. I’ve always loved that story and moved to Florida myself to get away and work on getting it together. Would love to here more.
Thank you for being transparent.
Absolutely! Resistance vs Submission; it’s like the struggle between good and evil except it pertains to me.
With every article I write, my nerves frazzle just before I hit the ‘send’ button. Will they like it? Is it good enough? If I edit it yet one more time can I make it better? And the all-important; if it’s not good enough now, how can I make it better? So I re-read and likely tweak it one more time – and then punch the ‘send’ button. And on to the next week’s: keep attacking!
I know you’ve shared that our beliefs go beyond the material world. When you were in that shack, in the heat of the battle, how often did you look up for support? I don’t want to ‘pin you down’ on a religious belief, but did your efforts there, quietly alone in a room (Pascual..) help reinforce a belief in God? A God? A supernatural presence? An intelligence that is Good?
I won’t say that I’ve been atheist for the past 35 years, but I did fall away from the Christian faith. When I grew up, the tenants of Christianity were suffused with the 7 Deadly Sins, violence, betrayal, confusion, abuse…and so I only saw the hypocrisy in what I was being taught. At the time, I thought I learned the right lesson.
That cynicism has stayed with me for years. 2020 has brought a catastrophe to our lives, but one upside is the kindling of the idea of the Divine. Now I’m trying to figure out how to reach out and open up to this.
In my agnostic days, I thought that the Spirit of God wouldn’t want to enter a ‘dirty’ vessel, so one should clean their own house before expecting a visit from the Divine.
As I’ve thought about “War of Art”, “Turning Pro”, “Do the Work”, and this video series–I guess is that you would answer, “Doing your work is what God wants you to do. When you do your part, He/She does his…” The Muse sitting on your shoulder, the tamping down of self-destructive thoughts/behaviors long enough to build some ballast for the day…
It might be a chicken or egg question, but I’m thinking of the actual ‘tactical application’ of spirituality.
Maybe this is a clearer question. When did a stronger belief in the non-material world happen? Before or after your year?
Thanks. As you’ve heard 1000s of times, I cannot thank you enough for what you’re doing.
As always, amazing, Steve. I and so many of us are so grateful for your telling your story to us, shining a light on the path. Thanks.
Thanks as always Coach.
It’s truly very complicated in this busy life to listen news on Television, therefore I just use world wide web for that purpose, and take the latest news.|
So inspiring. I have adopted you as a Mentor Mr. Pressfield. Thank you for your service. I appreciate like myself you have put your daily workout as a priority. I appreciate how you persevered after so many years of not having your work recognized. In the face of commercial success you went with your hearts desire to write you wanted to write even if it hurt your financial success. Bravo to you. I will make my Monday motivational today based on your message of the inner battle in my blog mega porn. I will send any viewers to your link. Keep up the battle and beating resistance.
The information is very special, I will have to follow you.
Steve, I thank you from the bottom of my heart for your story and this blog and I want to say that you change people for the better every day. I admire not only what you write, but HOW you do it. With skill and dedication, reading your blog feels like you’re in the next room or talking on the phone. You are also a kind of mentor for me and I would like to learn how to write like you.
I found your blog a couple of months ago when I was just looking for what should a thesis statement include, maybe I just got lucky, but the answer came by itself when I read some of your stories. Your blog was referenced by one of the writers, on some service where writers share their reviews. He described your blog as “You will never ask questions about writing again once you get to know Steve and his blog.”
I really recommend you to all my friends and already see many of them in your comments. I look forward to your new videos or articles.