Resistance and Dreams

I’m starting a new book and Resistance is beating the hell out of me.

The book is nonfiction. Autobiographical. Here’s the form Resistance is taking. It’s telling me (the voice in my head, that is), “What are you, crazy? Do you imagine anybody is gonna be interested in these lame-ass stories from your life? They are so ordinary! YOU are so ordinary. Readers are going to laugh you off the page. Whatever credibility you’ve built up over the years will go straight into the toilet. Stop right now before you totally humiliate yourself!”

I wish I could hear that voice and say, “Ah, that’s Resistance! I’ll simply dismiss it.” But I’m terrified that the voice is true.

Worse, I’m having a helluva time even conceiving the book in my mind. I haven’t been able to do a Foolscap. I can’t find a three-act structure. I’m not even sure what to include in this damn thing.

If it weren’t for encouragement from my girlfriend Diana, I would totally dump this project. Despite her belief in it, I’m racked with indecisiveness and irresolution.

I’m about 100 pages in, which is at least SOMETHING. But the form the writing is taking is spaghetti-against-the-wall. I’m just snatching unrelated episodes out of the air. I have no idea what goes where … or even if there’s any order at all.

In the midst of this, I had the following dream (verbatim from my notes-to-myself):

[Note: GOVERNMENT CHEESE is the title of the book.]

Somehow I got into my possession a diary/journal of Hemingway’s that he had used during the writing of a novel. No specific one from real-life, just one in the dream. The journal was in the form of hand-drawn maps with no text. Each map (there was a big pile of them) represented one day’s writing. The concept was that Hemingway was driving across country east to west and each day’s travel represented one day’s writing. Except the maps were ridiculously vague. No place names, no road numerals, no river names, nothing. I studied the pages one at a time trying to figure out what state/city/road they represented. I assumed Hem was starting from Boston or Maine (not sure why I assumed this, it just made sense in the dream) so I’d look at a map page and ask myself, “Is this Massachusetts? Is this Connecticut?” But I couldn’t tell. Farther west, I asked myself, “Is this body of water the Hudson? Is this Lake Champlain?” It was impossible to tell.

[Here there are notes of my associations with each image in the dream. Too long and idiosyncratic/personal to include here.]

My analysis/conclusion: the dream is trying to tell me to keep the faith re the crazy way GOVT CHEESE is unspooling. If we think of writing the book as a trip east to west across the United States, each day I’m lost. My maps don’t tell me where I am. Middle of book? End? Totally lost? But don’t worry, says the dream. Hemingway did it this way and it worked for him. 

I’m still racked with self-doubt over this project, but this dream certainly helps. I had another one a few days later. I’ll report that next week.

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.

The-Authentic-Swing

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?"

Turning-Pro

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74 Comments

  1. Peter Brockwell on December 30, 2020 at 3:27 am

    Steve, don’t worry, we’re your buddies and we’ve got your back. This project is gonna be fine. Thanks a bunch for sharing.

    My Resistance normally takes the form “You’re so busy and worn out with work, and you haven’t the space at home. There’s too much else going on, so why don’t you relax and just do a lazy hour a couple of times a week? You owe it to yourself.” I struggle to beat it. Tales of Resistance, ha.

    Stick with it bro. We’re here for you to sound out Resistance and other problems.
    Peter

    • Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 7:34 am

      Peter,
      I was thinking the same thing. I was like, “Damn Bro, I totally want to hear more personal stories Steve! Those are the best parts of your non-fiction.”
      One of my favorite personal anecdotes is how Steven knew this Stray Tom Cat, “had his shit together”.
      bsn

      • Tom Wall on December 30, 2020 at 12:00 pm

        Love that title!!
        What does Government Cheese mean to you?
        There is your thene. Go get it done. Do the work.

  2. Mary Doyle on December 30, 2020 at 4:55 am

    Steve, there’s this great book you should read – it’s called “The War of Art.” Seriously, you can do this, and we’re here for you all the way – now get back to work!

    • Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 7:30 am

      Mary,
      Well played! Steve’s post is a perfect example of why I generally listen to War of Art & Turning Pro 3-4 times a year. I also return to Gates of Fire and Legend of Bagger Vance 2-3 times a year (I love how Audible app allows you to speed up the narration).

      Science & Art in equal measure, both help illuminate my path.
      bsn

    • Tessa on December 30, 2020 at 8:19 am

      Mary Doyle stole exactly what I was going to say!! Hahahaha! But your auspicious dream says it all, if you can’t get a hold of a copy of that book!

    • Sandra on December 31, 2020 at 6:41 pm

      I’ll be the first in line to buy it. Your story matters.

    • Peter Brockwell on January 6, 2021 at 2:38 am

      Haha, very good Mary, and very true!!

  3. Chris Drinkut on December 30, 2020 at 6:21 am

    What a crazy coincidence?! I am planning to write a book and just happened to stumble upon Do The Work on Scribd this morning. Then, I come here and see that you have written toward your book — this gripe and whine is a part of your moving into that next book, Steve. Eh?

    After listening to Do the Work for 10 minutes I thought, “I *totally* needed to hear from this guy. This is my dude!” I am prone to research, analysis, … paralysis. I do want to do a good job and so I do like to know what I am talking about before I start talking.

    But, you know what? I have felt that energy. The on the pursuit energy. I have – like the screenwriter – started at the end. I’ve swung for the seats and I’ve found in your book the voice of a mentor. A higher-nobler version of self that moves when needed and stands still when needed too. Your words matter, thanks for sharing them.

    Here’s to the chase, and to our own agility and tenacity to … get the job done.

    • Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 7:26 am

      Chris,
      I smiled when I read your post. Your response to Steve’s work mirrors my own. Welcome to the tribe. I find this blog to the right medicine 90% of the time.
      bsn

  4. Joe Jansen on December 30, 2020 at 6:25 am

    1) I’m grateful for Diana. There’s a kind of openness in Steve that feels more pronounced since she arrived.

    2) I’m grateful for the Internet Archive. Most of what you get on Google Books are limited previews or snippets. Archive.org, however, seems like what Google Books hoped to be: Tons of books, fully scanned and text searchable, which one can check out for an hour or for 14 days. Even if I have a book on my shelf, I can check it out on this site and easily search for what I’m looking for. Like now: thinking how Ann Lamott and Steve are singing off the same sheet of music on this topic. In her classic 𝘉𝘪𝘳𝘥 𝘣𝘺 𝘉𝘪𝘳𝘥, her third chapter is titled, “Shitty First Drafts.” Allow me to transcribe:

    “People tend to look at successful writers, writers who are getting their books published and maybe even are doing well financially, and think that they sit down at their desks every morning feeling like a million dollars, feeling great about who they are and how much talent they have and what a great story they have to tell; that they take in a few deep breaths, push back their sleeves, roll their necks a few times to get all the cricks out, and dive in, typing fully formed passages as fast as a court reporter. But this is just the fantasy of the uninitiated. I know some very great writers, writers you love who write beautifully and have made a great deal of money, and not 𝘰𝘯𝘦 of them sits down routinely feeling wildly enthusiastic and confident. Not one of them writes elegant first drafts. All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.

    “For me and most of the other writers I know, writing is not rapturous. In fact, the only way I can get anything written at all is to write really, really shitty first drafts.”

    https://archive.org/details/birdbybirdsomein00lamo/page/20/mode/2up

    3) Dream analysis… it’s interesting to see Steve’s notes and to recognize something we all do in dreams: In retrospect (in waking consciousness), we can recognize things that are odd or out of place (eg, came into possession of one of Hemingway’s journal and understood on awakening that this was not “from real-life, but just one in the dream”). I’m always on a quest for the “lucid dream” — where you can realize in the midst of that dream that “I am dreaming.” With that realization, you can bring your waking consciousness online within the dream. You want to fly, or breathe underwater? You can do it. You want to have a date with Helen Mirren or sit down for a bourbon and talk about Yoda with Joseph Campbell? You’re in charge.

    It’s the ability to recognize those “out of place” things in the dream (“hey, this isn’t a journal Hemingway actually wrote”) that can help us “wake up within the dream.” I’m not very good at it, but I try. Anyhow, dreams…

    4) This is probably the ONLY thing I can quote from E.L. Doctorow:

    “Writing is like driving at night in the fog. You can only see as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.”

    • Joe on December 30, 2020 at 6:40 am

      And a follow-up… one of the short daily mailers I get is from meditation teacher Light Watkins. I bopped over to email after writing this comment, and found that Light was mentioning Steve in this morning’s post:

      http://bit.ly/Watkins_reps_Pressfield

      • Donna Sellers on December 30, 2020 at 1:10 pm

        Steve, I’m neither a writer nor a lover of war stories. AND, your newsletter is one of the few I read consistently every week. I love the way you write. I suspect you could make a story about taking out the trash interesting…

        • Julie M. on December 31, 2020 at 6:29 am

          Donna, right?

          Steve, thank you for your brutal honesty and not trying to pitch a writing course for $4999!
          I’m inspired. My map is all over the place and now I know that’s ok.

          Happy New Year to all!

          P.S. My ass will be in a new chair in 2021! 😉

    • Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 7:11 am

      “..All right, one of them does, but we do not like her very much.”

      I literally laughed out loud when I read that. So honest, and a rather sad mini-comment on the human condition, but so very true. Not sure if the Seven Deadly Sins are ordinal, but envy has to be close to the worst.

      That might be why when we find a friend who is genuinely warmed by our success, we know we’ve found a keeper.
      bsn

      • Robert Farrell on January 2, 2021 at 12:34 pm

        This really hits home. In 2020 I started a motivational book, but ran out of ideas. I started a book on my financial journey, but realized that because I’m still struggling I wouldn’t have anything to offer. Then I thought of writing my own autobiography but realized no one knows me so what would the point be. Now I’m thinking of a book on US Presidents and feel excited.

        On the plus side, I finished most of the work I’ve been co-authoring and co-procrastinating on for years.

        I think if I’m going to really be a writer then I need to sit down and actually write. I re-read a book called The One Thing by Gary Keller. I got two things out of it: first, pick one thing to focus on to the exclusion of all else or as much else as possible; and, second, put in at least four hours a day on that one thing. Since November 9, 2020, I’ve put in at least four hours a day on studying on US Presidents and that’s how I finally finished the book I was co-authoring.

        Now I’m ready to go the next level.

        • Joe on January 4, 2021 at 5:34 am

          You’re in the arena, Robert.

    • Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 7:35 am

      Joe,
      I love how you started this with “I’m grateful…”

      This is a theme in your posts, generally as meaningful to me as Steven’s main point.

      You, my friend, are a good egg.
      bsn

      • Joe on December 30, 2020 at 7:43 am

        Brian… I used to be basted and often fried. Then I got sober. Now I’m just scrambled.

        • Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 8:45 am

          That’s funny! Staying with the analogy, there are times when I find myself hard-boiled. Usually that is when I’ve allowed fear and frustration to overcome creativity, production, and love. Happy New Year!
          bsn

          • Joe on December 30, 2020 at 9:56 am

            Being hard-boiled is okay, as long as you don’t go over easy, and turn into a poacher.



  5. Benjamin Taylor on December 30, 2020 at 8:04 am

    Not sure I like the title, but I’ll still buy it and read it! Thanks for keeping it real!

  6. Kevin R Worthley on December 30, 2020 at 8:06 am

    Geez, Steve. Considering what you’ve written about your life over the years, it sounds like a modern-day Hero’s Journey if there ever was one. And maybe what the Hero of this story discovers is that his true Dharma is not just write books about ancient and modern war stories, but also to inspire thousands of other writers to break through and find their true voice. I mean, the Hero spent all those years driving trucks, taxis, picking fruit, and avoiding his true mission in life before, finally, that’s mission was all he had left. Who wouldn’t identify with that story?

    • Kevin R Worthley on December 30, 2020 at 8:07 am

      *that…
      🙂

  7. Lyn on December 30, 2020 at 8:12 am

    You’ve shared such tremendous wisdom with writers. Certainly you’ve gleaned that wisdom from life experiences. An autobiography is tough probably not because you’re “so normal” but because there are so many experiences–how to pick and choose? You could probably write 10 autobiographies about different stages of life. Yet, we all have turning point experiences, some more meaningful than others. Which ones led you into a different state of being? From one archetype into another? You certainly seem to be the teacher/sage for many of us now. How did you get there? I’d love to read a story about that.

  8. Daniel Stutzman on December 30, 2020 at 8:18 am

    Man, I want to read more about the old shack with the cat, living on liver, driving an 18-wheeler, stopping that first book at 99%, finally finishing that first book, how Gates of Fire was born (which I’m reading now), how you met Shawn, some stories that have nothing to do with writing, and your friendship with Robert McKee (and who’s better at golf :)).

    • Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 8:44 am

      Daniel,
      Exactly! I love those stories. Picking Fruit (I think it was Dave who Steve admired so much at that time), the old Tomcat, driving truck…

      Until you mentioned it, I hadn’t realized how curious I am about the founding of Black Irish Books. Steve & Callie.
      bsn

  9. Sidney McGaffigan on December 30, 2020 at 8:20 am

    Your post is truly serendipity for me and I have a feeling I’ll be rereading it often in the coming weeks/months. I’m writing a “Note to Self” and as the pages unfold over time, and I reread my thoughts, I’m unsure if I’m writing it to my younger self, my adult daughter, or her 6 year old son who I watch full-time and is the light of my life. I’m sometimes tempted to rewrite some pages to be more targeted to one of us. Then, something holds me back and says … “Just write.” So, that’s what I’m doing. But I remain unclear who I’m writing for or if my story will make sense in the end.

  10. Sweta Das on December 30, 2020 at 8:25 am

    May be what we need right now are your ordinary stories that help us see ourselves in them. And may be we need that as a reminder, more than ever, that we are really not that different from each other. And what if the boundaries between state, city, location is meant to be blurred and not distinct.
    At the moment, when I am trying to focus my attention and the negative voices come up, I am in the process of building a habit where I say simply say, “not true” to those voices in the most humble and genuine tone. It feels miraculous to see you Steve wrestle with the same negative voices as anybody else. Here is to the magic in the ordinary!

  11. Helena B on December 30, 2020 at 8:26 am

    Hmmm. Books are such individuals. Some can be really annoying! It will tell you what it wants to be, eventually. I have one in here now that has defied all of my structures and processes and has led me over the past year in a complete circle back to the original controlling idea. However, it will be deployed in a completely different way than we originally planned. It took a while to figure out what the book’s real job was, i.e., what it was delivering to the reader! Your book might just want a longer time in discovery than you’re used to or want to give it. If I had the aforementioned book to do over, I’d recognize sooner that a big part of this was going to be about the journey, i.e., writing to learn, the fruits of which we could then share with the reader. #livelearn My money’s on you. Thanks for all you do and share.

  12. Barbara Newton-Holmes on December 30, 2020 at 8:26 am

    I’m with Daniel Stutzman! I would read anything you write, Steve, even a grocery list. Stick with it — we all want to read it.

    • Logan Darrow on December 30, 2020 at 11:30 am

      I can’t wait to read your lame-ass autobiographical stories. Get back to work!

  13. Michael Esser on December 30, 2020 at 8:31 am

    Here is another interpretation of your dream:
    Hemingway just made it all up, all of it. There is no “country” let alone the United States, underlying his writing/mapping. He invented the country, he made it up as he went along. That is what you should do too, it is what every writer should do (especially when it comes to autobiographies!). You instead try desperately to compare Hemingway’s maps with reality which will not only waste a lot of your time but also not lead you anywhere. Make the country up, draw maps of where you think you are and are going while you are on your way. Present them to the world as if they were representations of reality. That is what writers do and you can do it too!

  14. Dee on December 30, 2020 at 8:44 am

    In the silence, our minds get noisy. Let the ticker-tape roll and the true story will unfold.

  15. Sandra G. on December 30, 2020 at 8:45 am

    Like it or not, this is part of your creative process. It’s uncomfortable. It makes you want to quit all the time. It’s why so many creative people don’t continue, but you will. You will create another book that reaches us, teaches us, and helps us push forward with our own creative life. Bravo for trying something that makes you so uncomfortable.

  16. Chuck DeBettignies on December 30, 2020 at 8:49 am

    Yes Steve . . . another book recommendation is “Do The Work.” Start reading at page 53, the “The Belly of the Beast” chapter. I keep my worn/underlined copy on my desk to get me through the moments you’re describing.
    Regarding the “No one is interested” issue. Maybe we all should arrange to buy advance copies, so you’re forced to finish it?

    • Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 8:53 am

      Love the advanced copy idea. Tell me where to give my credit card.
      bsn

  17. Brian Nelson on December 30, 2020 at 8:52 am

    Steve,
    I doubt this post will have the same number of responses as the Finnish writer who you shared with us earlier this year, but I imagine it will be close.

    The fact that this insane thought raced through your mind, “..Do you imagine anybody is gonna be interested in these lame-ass stories from your life?..” is EXACTLY why Wednesday is the best day of the week for many of us.

    If I were to put a finger on it, it is precisely your ‘open Kimono’, authentic little anecdotes which fill me with hope.

    I echo what everyone here has said. Thank you again for a timely post.

    The reminder that Resistance is as powerful to you as it is to the rest of us is both cautionary and inspiring. We’re all in this collective soup together, battling the same human condition.
    bsn

  18. Yvonne on December 30, 2020 at 9:05 am

    I’m so sorry you’re struggling with Resistance, but I’m grateful you shared this with all of us, as it makes me feel less alone when I read about others’ struggles with it. I laughed when I read the title your dreams had given your book! For what it’s worth, I know I would be fascinated to read about your life’s journey–every time you give a brief mention to something you’ve gone through, I find myself wanting to hear more, and I’m sure many others feel the same way. About dreams, you’ve now made me wonder if a recent one of mine might be Resistance, too. I’m not afraid of snakes, but I had a dream that I saw a huge snake (about the circumference of a manhole cover) and incredibly long, and any creature that size is worthy of a little healthy fear I guess. I went up to it cautiously, and for some reason, I reached out my hand to pet it, and to my shock, discovered it was tame and responded favorably to being petted. My take on it was that something that seemed overwhelming in my life and impossible was perhaps not as big as I’d made it out to be, and I’m wondering if that “something” is this book I’m trying to finish and get out there. In any event, thank you so much for posting every week, especially sharing the vulnerable posts. And I can’t wait to read “Government Cheese” (or whatever your actual title will wind up being!) when it’s finished!

  19. Scott Mitchell on December 30, 2020 at 9:09 am

    This year I finally got around to reading Hemingway’s “A Movable Feast”, a chronicle of his days in Paris as a young writer. The story is that Hemingway was in Paris after WWII, and he stopped by (claims he “liberated”) the Ritz Hotel, his old hang-out back in the twenties. Lo and behold, the hotel manager said they had been keeping a trunk of his stuff in the hotel basement, for all these years. Hemingway was overjoyed. He believed the trunk contained his journals of his life in Paris as a young writer among the American expatriate community. And from these journals, he wrote “A Movable Feast”, the book he had been yearning to write for decades. The thing is, though, when you read it, it’s pretty quotidian. Just him and his young wife getting by in their walk-up flat, Hemingway running into people, trying to write on little tables in curbside bars. A lot of F. Scott Fitzgerald getting drunk. No great moments of literary genius, no three-act structure to these episodes leading up to a crescendo of inspired creation or existential despair. Just. . . living. And yet – it works! As a book, it works. You put the book down rather wishing you could run into Hemingway in one of those café’s, have some coffee together.

    I suspect that if Steve’s subconscious judged it was time to compile some stories about his life, there is a purpose to it. And it will be a very good book.

  20. Brad Graft on December 30, 2020 at 9:11 am

    Steve commented a few months back that he always wished for this blog to become “a community.” Having read the above posts, seems to me that Steve has certainly achieved his objective. And his community of artists has their Sensei’s back.

    Positive vibes from all of us to you on this worthy project, my brother. Semper Fi.

  21. Kenneth N Proudfoot on December 30, 2020 at 9:20 am

    Thanks for your post, Steven! I suspect your “autobiographical” book is really a “memoir.” Memories. Write on!

  22. Dorie on December 30, 2020 at 9:20 am

    From this blog I get “I’m lost. Keep going.” and I’m really encouraged to find that it l aves me encouraged. Thank you.

  23. Angela on December 30, 2020 at 9:54 am

    Steve, thank you for this post. Once again, you’ve made us see that resistance’s aim is to render us failures in our own eyes.

    Coming here to read this post, in particular, has made me see that I too have a seat at the table. If I didn’t show up, resistance would leave me alone, and rather than feeling overwhelmed, I would spend 2021 explaining away the weight of my sinking soul. Lol. According to my Kanban board, I’ve got better goals planned for the year ahead. So back to the keyboard.

    I made it to 50% of my next novel when resistance started in on me: the structure is all wrong; these conflicts are boring; look at how interesting other authors make their people. I too pulled out my Audible version of Do The Work for the third time this year and sped through a listen. Am I back on track yet? I’m plotting the dreaded middle a bit closer. My plan, get to the end like the devil himself is chasing me. I believe in this story. It’s got a foothold in my soul, so I know I can make it work. I will struggle with resistance to the end, but on this one, I will not give up.

    And Steve, you got this. Like my 14-year-old daughter tells me in her pep-talks: You do you.

  24. John Arends on December 30, 2020 at 9:56 am

    That tall, lean hitchhiker jamming his thumb out as you roar by in your 18-wheeler kinda sounds like Steinbeck. But he and his dog, Charlie, drove West to East on their form of this trip. I’d stop and invite him to join you and Hem. With two Nobel laureates in the back seat and a good dog at your side, riding shotgun, Resistance doesn’t stand a chance!

  25. Sam Luna on December 30, 2020 at 10:20 am

    When I’m having a really (really) bad bout with Resistance, I go back to your essays/books and imagine you are Burgess Meredith’s “Mickey” to my “Rocky.” I’m sitting on the stool in the corner of the boxing ring, my eyes swollen shut, blood dripping down my face, and you’re shaking my shoulders: “You’re gonna eat lightnin’ And you’re gonna crap thunder! Stand up, kid! Goddamnit stand up and get back in the ring!”

    I hope you have a Mickey in your life. Also, Government Cheese is a great title.

  26. Kate on December 30, 2020 at 10:25 am

    Thanks for sharing your experiences with Resistance, Steve. It helps me realize that all creators experience it to some degree!

  27. Steve Pressfield on December 30, 2020 at 10:49 am

    Thanks, you guys. I didn’t write this post hoping for encouragement … but I’ll take it. A community!

  28. Vlad Zachary on December 30, 2020 at 11:03 am

    Steve – for years I have been telling to anyone who would listen – about your life story and your story as an author and the books you wrote. I think you are a very interesting man and your story is totally worth sharing.

    The narrators in our head – that tell us somehow we are not good enough – these voices are just parasites. We are not these voices. When I have them – I look to replace each parasite with an ally – a voice that tells me the opposite – tells me a positive story about myself. We are not the positive voices too. But it’s easier to create with the allies than with the parasites.

    So thank you for keeping up with your work. You are an inspiration.

  29. Vlad Zachary on December 30, 2020 at 11:06 am

    Someone who interprets dreams would argue that you are the Hemingway from your dream. And the maps are for your journey – in the coming Gov Cheese. You traveled east to west, right? 😃

  30. Bill Pace on December 30, 2020 at 11:15 am

    We…
    are…
    VERY interested…
    in those…
    decidedly non-lame-ass stories!!
    The voice is WRONG!
    I’ve met Diana — she is RIGHT!

    Can’t wait,
    Bill

  31. Maureen Anderson on December 30, 2020 at 1:31 pm

    When do the rest of us get to meet Diana? I can’t be the only person who’d love to see a little something from her here, can I?

  32. Maurice B Gavin on December 30, 2020 at 2:08 pm

    You told me through David Allen of GTD fame, that your was the writing alone, not the success thereof that was all you are entitled too… don’t even break stride to write another such post, that in and of itself is “resistance” made manifest.

    Grateful for your transparency….

  33. Paullette MacDougal on December 30, 2020 at 2:09 pm

    Steve,
    Your autobiography – or memoir – would be at the top of my reading list. Please write it. I would even buy the hard copy and rave about it to my friends.
    Phyllis Paullette MacDougal

  34. Curtis on December 30, 2020 at 4:25 pm

    ” Shitttttttttty first draft” A little bird told me that. Grace and peace.

  35. Todd Corelli on December 30, 2020 at 7:52 pm

    Man, I sure believe in you. Just write from the heart and all that spaghetti will sort itself out.

  36. Robin Kirkley on December 31, 2020 at 2:40 am

    Writing an (honest) autobiography is an exercise in finding out who we really are. That takes courage. I empathise with the resistance.

  37. Alkan on December 31, 2020 at 2:42 am

    Steveee! Don’t listen to that Resistance! Look at how many people are commenting on “only” this post. We’re all ready to learn from you and your writing. By the way, thanks for being open about your situation. I’m going through the same process. We’re all in this war.

  38. Nerijus Malinauskas on December 31, 2020 at 3:21 am

    Hi,

    First time commenting here. Neither a native speaker or a writer so please forgive me.

    I have spent the last two full days watching cooking and talent shows that I never done before. And I know why, I need to deliver a collection of work that will ‘define me’.
    Resistance got me.
    But because of Steve I know what’s going on and how to go about it. Not like the ten years of suffering in the dark I had prior reading the War of Art. And I read every kind of self-help book before it.
    Steve’s writing spoke to me, it was the exact thing I was going trough and Steve survived it, came out victorious and handed me the blueprint. It was the only thing that helped when I was not in a good place.

    Last time I read the books I had the thought ‘I love these personal stories and I hope one day he’ll have the balls to write a memoir because that is all that’s missing from this hero’s journey.’

    Every time I loose my path I pick up one of those books or read this blog and Steve’s voice reminds me of the warrior in me. And on my tough day today I come to read that the book I dreamt off is actually being written and the general himself is at the trenches fighting this very moment makes me thrilled. Also makes me aware that Resistance is here to stay, for all of us no matter how great we become and how many times we slay it.

    Thank you for the work you’re doing Steven!

    And what reminds me of it is reading the first pages of the War of Art, something from Turning Pro or this blog.
    It sparks the fight in me and I turn

    • Nerijus Malinauskas on December 31, 2020 at 3:24 am

      Sorry, the last paragraph is just some copy/paste mistakes.

  39. Bruce Sammut on December 31, 2020 at 5:14 am

    Please keep up your great work!

    And, Happy New Year!

    Bruce

  40. Shepherd T. Edwards on December 31, 2020 at 6:51 am

    In your dream Hemingway’s ‘maps’ …
    If he scribbled some each day starting in the east and traveling west.
    Each day’s stuff ‘may’ have little or nothing to do with a specific location nor geography?
    Another type of guidance ? Releasing slowly but without linear flow yet able to unwind completely during his cross-country journey.

  41. Ken Robertson on December 31, 2020 at 9:01 am

    Hi Steven, really appreciate the draft title of your autobiography, “Government Cheese.” Been there, done that; some of the best grilled cheese sandwiches of my life were made with Government Cheese. I’m interested in your stor(ies) because I enjoy reading about the lives of creative people. What personal events, historical events, circumstances, experiences, shaped you, your goals and objectives, your story choices (beyond paying the bills, of course) and your process. Some of us are voyeurs, others hope to find that “lightning in a bottle moment” in your life, pull out our little bottles, and wait for lightning to strike us too.
    Most of us are ordinary, just like everybody else. The extraordinary thing about is that we tell stories; we write. We writers, storytellers, and songwriters (try telling the story of The 300 in a song of two minutes and 30 seconds duration; hah hah) convert chaos (our chaos; chaotic world events; chaotic cultural situations) into order. Your map may be chaos at this point in the process, but it’s still YOUR chaos, not Hemingways chaos. To paraphrase Tom Hanks as the late Walt Disney in Saving Mr. Banks, “Because that’s what we storytellers do. We restore order with imagination. We instill hope again and again and again.” As you work out your chaos and organize your map, don’t leave too many of those important stories on the cutting room floor. Your experiences and choices (Resistance; War of Art) have already inspired many of us. Thanks in advance for bottling more doses of your particular lightning to inspire us again!

  42. Cindi Peterson on December 31, 2020 at 10:04 am

    Oh, how I needed this today! I have been struggling in revising my novel with these same voices and vagueness. You are a huge encouragement always, and again today. Thank you! Resistance is a beast. But it can be tamed. Again. And again. Happy 2021. Thank you.

  43. Bobette on December 31, 2020 at 11:49 am

    What immediately comes to my mind is your vivid description(s) of the era in which you drove long haul big rigs cross country. The thrill of how you held those behemoth machines on the road around curves, down inclines, the heavy shoes you wore – and the sheer mental freedom (or escape) it was for you to take to the road cross-country. Am I imagining all this? If so, you made me see it – and feel it all like I’d never known it before. Roads and maps into the unknown… all in order to find your still point to write, it seemed to me. I, for one, know that you will find the way.

  44. Anne Marie Gazzolo on December 31, 2020 at 3:23 pm

    It *is* Resistance! Kick it to the curb and keep on writing! I am a pantser and I have basically no sense of direction so maps wouldn’t be helpful to me anyways. Yeah, you get lost a lot and have to retrace your steps and turn around from dead ends and find another route (Mapquest may work for the road but not for plot) but you just keep on keeping on and it will works out eventually! God bless, Steven, and thanks for being in the trenches with us. Onward ever, backward never! 🙂

  45. Andrew Hicks on December 31, 2020 at 4:10 pm

    It may be that this is an example of the push/pull between knowing when to hang on and when to let go. I just now reread those two chapters from “The Artist’s Journey,” and perhaps it might be a good subject for a Writing Wednesday. I’d love to see what you and this community think might be clues to help us know which way to go.

    I will certainly read the book when it is published, and my hunch is that you should press on. But I think that one of the hallmarks of the question is that you (and your Muse) are the only ones who can answer it.

  46. Bill on January 1, 2021 at 5:23 am

    Steven-

    I don’t know when your new book will be ready but I do know that I’ll eagerly read it when it is! Your writing is a gift to us all.

    Happy New Year!
    Bill

  47. Lisa Schwaller on January 1, 2021 at 10:03 am

    You’re a genius! Look at how many excited buyers you have already! All kidding aside, I love the reminder that Resistance doesn’t leave any of us alone no matter how practiced we are at fighting it.

    I mean, honestly…you wrote The Book(s) on beating Resistance. But here this post is, sharing your bad date with it.

    Happy New Year. Here’s wishing everyone here many bad dates with Resistance, and the interesting stories that come from your experiences.

  48. Colleen on January 1, 2021 at 1:09 pm

    Wow, look at all this love headed your way. If love conquers all Steven, you got this.

  49. Cecelia Fresh on January 1, 2021 at 8:52 pm

    This is incredible! I love how wonky and mystical this process is for you. Embrace it. All I could think of when you described the maps presenting as a day worth of writing is the fact that you had to study city maps to be a cab driver. Something is definitely happening in your sub-conscious. Go with it. Let it be messy. A plane has to zig and zag to get to its destination – so must we, as writer in the throws of our creative process. <3

    Curious…how did you land upon the title, Government Cheese? It's a great one!!

  50. Jean -Yves Rheault on January 3, 2021 at 9:08 am

    Hi Steve. ,
    I am writting to you in english even though french is my mother tongue , i am doing this for you and your supporters because you are an inspiration as a creative writer. I have learned from your work.Thank you and keep following your dream and sharing with us all.

  51. Jurgen+Strack on January 5, 2021 at 11:15 am

    Keep the faith!!! x

  52. York on January 7, 2021 at 4:31 pm

    Started reading the post last week. I put it off for a bit because of work, personal projects, errands, Resistance.

    But I finished it a while ago. One thought that remains from last week into this week is the very nature of how you’re writing right now and expressing the fear, the vulnerability and the exasperation definitely should (needs to) find its way into the book. The candid nature resonates with people. Especially failure or the mundane. It gives people hope for their own artist’s journey.

    People want to hear that story and will eat it up.

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