The Universe is Self-ordering

Imagine yourself back at the beginning of time. The universe is raw energy, blasting faster than the speed of light in all directions.

What happens? As time passes—maybe only nanoseconds—electrons coalesce around nuclei. Molten matter cools; stars and planets form themselves into spheres; celestial objects find paths and settle into orbits. Order emerges.

The Horsehead Nebula in the constellation Orion

            Gravity exerts itself. On planets with hydrogen and oxygen, water appears. Rivers form and run downhill. Seas arise. Atmospheres stabilize. Before we know it, we’re seeing adventurous fish crawling up onto dry land, hominids beating each other’s brains out with sticks and clubs, and geeks with pocket protectors doing IPOs for social networking startups.

            What about your novel? 

            Books wanna be what they wanna be. So do albums, entrepreneurial ventures, and statues of David. The process unfolds infallibly. Our symphony-in-the-works evolves into four movements, our screenplay organizes itself into three acts. 

            If we just keep plugging away at our vision, the Law of Self-Ordering comes to our aid. Work—day-in, day-out exertion and passion and concentration—produces progress and order. That’s a law of the universe.

            Keep working.


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.

do the work book banner 1


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.



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.



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?"



  1. Nursing Essay on March 2, 2022 at 2:40 am

    A review of all the known laws of nature discovered to date shows unambiguously that the universe is self-ordering and spontaneous, not chaotic. Each law produces a net balance between order and disorder, resulting in a cosmos that is capable of endless creative emergence.

    • Aman on March 2, 2022 at 8:08 am

      wonderfully written, thank you!

    • Juan Armin Contreras Arias. on March 2, 2022 at 5:56 pm

      Hace ya varios años que he sostenido que el universo es autónomo y autosuficiencia,no necesita de ninguna ley o principio que hallamos supuesto al cual deba ceñirse.
      Además he supuesto que un universo único es insostenible e ilógico .El universo es algo y cómo algo debe pertenecer a ,”algo muchísimo mayor “.No se puede justificar que seamos único.

      • Juan Armin Contreras Arias. on March 2, 2022 at 6:03 pm

        Hay errores en lo escrito, me refiero a palabras que no he usado que tergiversan el sentido literal del comentario.

        • Kate Stanton on March 4, 2022 at 8:21 am

          Juan, tu viaje es único. Todos estamos conectados. We have free will. Our choices are like ripples in the water that affect us all. I don’t think spirituality is meant to make sense to our tiny human brains. What do I know, though? Your thoughtful comment made me think!! Thank you!

        • Skyman Magic on June 6, 2023 at 1:09 pm

          Thanks for the information contained in this

  2. Jim Hensel on March 2, 2022 at 2:42 am

    Needed to hear this truth this morning, keep coming forward.

  3. Kati Reijonen on March 2, 2022 at 2:44 am

    Thanks, Steve. Living here on the border of Russian I mostly just want to scream and bang my head on the wall….To channel this agony into writing would be good, no doubt, and I am writing. Yes. I am. But I am still in agony. I still scream. I still bang my head on the wall.

    But I am writing – now a book for the passengers of the Spaceship Earth, to motivate them to make good decisions. Because here we are, cruising in space with the speed of 1000 km/h, locked in this spaceship without no way to get out…

    And in case the madman nukes us: God bless you all <3

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on March 2, 2022 at 3:15 am

      Dear Kati, I am so sorry about all wars. I am so sorry about all fool people.

      Remember that even if the world ended tomorrow, if we tried hard to be true to our dreams for the world, we would be absolute winners. Winners in death -no one in this world will be able to defeat that!

      I remember Steve’s quote about the Spartans – as long as they did their work, they considered all enemies as nameless and faceless. It is truth.

      I feel the sun behind the clouds, it’s here. And it is even brighter after the storm <3

      • Jack Price on March 2, 2022 at 5:22 am

        Dear Kati, please have your books translated int o English… today if possible. ~Jack

    • Jackie on March 2, 2022 at 3:52 am

      Kati, as Steve said, “the Law of Self-Ordering comes to our aid.” I don’t doubt this in writing, in art, in life. Look how many mad men have come before. We are still here. Hang on. Work for good. Make good work. God bless.

    • Anonymous on March 2, 2022 at 7:47 am

      Keep the faith, Kati. You Finns and our brothers and sisters in Ukraine are inspiring us all.

    • Kate Stanton on March 2, 2022 at 9:31 am

      Kati, you are heard. You are seen. Prayers and positive thoughts are surrounding you and your loved ones!!!

    • Virlana Kardash on March 2, 2022 at 10:07 am

      Stay strong. The world stands with you!

    • Brian Nelson on March 2, 2022 at 11:23 am

      The reality of your situation puts everything into perspective. Be strong. The entire world is praying for you.

    • Rachel Furr on March 2, 2022 at 10:54 pm

      Indeed lol

    • Joe on March 4, 2022 at 4:38 am
  4. Tolis Alexopoulos on March 2, 2022 at 2:59 am

    You are so right dear Steve,

    Our books/creations are also new universes. Mine started as an independent, short text not more than half a page long, about an old man and a young boy in antiquity. I posted it on my community at about September 2017 just to give something beautiful to our members and behold -after 4 years it’s expanding endlessly and it has gone beyond the elder and the boy, beyond anything I could ever have imagined. Rhythms, myths, ages, dynamics, a kind of fooliness, details, relatives, mentors, friends, dreams, books, the truths of cosmos became powerful gravitational forces that still push and pull (and are thus pulled and pushed by) the “One Book” (stealing the One Ring quote) – just like gravity and electromagnetic fields that “create and destroy”.

    If life wasn’t created, we would never had known. But behold.

    So many million moments of clashes in an infinite universe to create something long. Are we heroes?

    I wish a good week to all our friends!

    Thanks again Steve.

  5. Michelle Macwhirter on March 2, 2022 at 3:14 am

    Amazing post! Thank you so much for sharing this.

  6. Marcelo Lopez on March 2, 2022 at 3:14 am

    “Work—day-in, day-out exertion and passion and concentration” What a great reminder!

    Thank you.

  7. BarbaraNH on March 2, 2022 at 3:39 am

    I am at it. Thanks so much.

  8. Nick on March 2, 2022 at 5:37 am

    Great to hear. Thank you. Onward.

  9. Bing on March 2, 2022 at 6:06 am

    I am an artist who also likes to write, for over 25 yrs I have been saying to myself I like my art but it is weird, it is different. I did Julian Cameron’s Artist Way writing three pages a day for months. I have begged God, what do I do with this stuff? Last week I sent some iPhone photo’s to a friend and asked him what he thought. He said my art was mind boggling, that it looked like a lot of hard work. I asked him if he would hang any on it on his wall. After a long pause, he said NO. Bingo, I knew I had something special. My art is meditative art, that is another conversation. My art belongs in a book, I have over 150 images to use. Finally I get it. Do the book. I can smell it being completed.

    • Kate Stanton on March 2, 2022 at 7:26 am

      Bing, your comment is inspiring because you are doing art that is 100% YOU. Keep following your bliss and vision…

      • Bing on March 2, 2022 at 1:59 pm

        Thank you Kate for your inspiring remark.

    • Anonymous on March 2, 2022 at 7:49 am

      The universe has found you, Bing!

      • Bing on March 2, 2022 at 2:01 pm

        Thank You

  10. Sam Luna on March 2, 2022 at 6:38 am

    Thanks for this Coach. I’m working on something now that’s still in the “raw energy, blasting faster than the speed of light in all directions” phase. You would think it gets easier with each completed project but the opposite is true. You have to constantly remind yourself that it’s a first draft, and that you’re merely producing pages (“molten lava”) to eventually order into a cohesive narrative, but you don’t know exactly when that’s going to be. Living with uncertaintly while creating a new universe and accepting only time will answer all your questions.

  11. Brian Nelson on March 2, 2022 at 6:54 am

    I got Steve’s email last night, and was immediately reoriented by the title of the blog. Despite all the evidence, I choose to believe that Steve’s correct. For me, I think it is a matter of where I choose to place my attention. Doom scrolling and/or listening to current events podcasts paint another picture atrophy, disorder, and destruction.

    Steve writes in “War of Art”–could be “Turning Pro”, about how Nixon resigned and he didn’t even know it because he was so busy writing to complete his first book. It probably felt like the entire world was in disarray back then as well. It probably always feels like we’re nearing the Apocalypse if we ‘look for it’ by the choice of where we put our attention.

    Much better for me to focus on my own art and ignore (mostly) the distracting counter-factual evidence. Off to focus on my own plank, my own work. Pay homage to the self-ordering that happens. Get in my own boat and row.

  12. Kate Stanton on March 2, 2022 at 7:15 am

    I think a healthy combination of stress and too much coffee caused me to laugh way too hard at this:
    “Before we know it, we’re seeing adventurous fish crawling up onto dry land, hominids beating each other’s brains out with sticks and clubs, and geeks with pocket protectors doing IPOs for social networking startups.” The visual in my head was just too fun. THANK YOU STEVE.
    May we all be what we wanna be–may our work do what it’s gonna do–no arguing with the Universe!!

    • Maureen Anderson on March 2, 2022 at 9:00 am

      I’m not sure which I enjoyed more, Kate — Steve’s great line, or your reaction to it!

      • Kate Stanton on March 2, 2022 at 9:32 am

        Sometimes one must laugh to keep from crying! Do you feel me, Maureen? 🙂

        • Maureen Anderson on March 2, 2022 at 10:15 am

          I feel it accidentally, if that makes sense. A burst of laughter when I think I might die of grief reassures me I probably won’t always hurt.

  13. kevin on March 2, 2022 at 7:37 am

    Thanks Steve! Love the little nudge to shift toward a healthy perspective these provide. Please don’t stop.

    Agree with comments about Katie. I’m captivated. Please don’t keep that bird caged. You’re story is screaming to be set free!

  14. Adam Schwartz on March 2, 2022 at 8:39 am

    To find the order of your piece, listen to your instinct. Your instinct speaks to you in whispers. Just do what it tells you and the work will unfold as it needs to.

  15. Nickolas Sherman on March 2, 2022 at 9:47 am

    We might ask ourselves the question. WHY…is the university self ordering?

    • Riva on March 2, 2022 at 10:13 am

      So that we could ask, ‘why’?

  16. Waqar Ahmed on March 3, 2022 at 4:12 am

    Thank you for writing such an inspiring post. Feeling myself filled with the energy!

  17. Dea on March 3, 2022 at 8:59 am

    In these crazy times – grateful to have this productive reminder. Yes we’ve a madman who could launch even worse and unfathomable destruction and a world war underway already with Ukrainians and Russian people taking the brunt; keeping abreast of the news. My mother’s failing mind requires vigilant participation in being around her so as not to provoke, ah! Planing a year sabbatical – -> many inner / outer changes underway. The Odyssey arriving soon for a re-read. And? My hours for writing are scheduled and they comfort even when nothing promising comes out. Somehow the promise simply in the -act of- creating….lures me on.
    And this from the news today:
    “You have to act as if it were possible to radically transform the world. And you have to do it all the time.”
    US political activist, author and academic, Angela Davis
    Cheers and good will to all!

  18. kamal deep` on March 3, 2022 at 4:01 pm

    Thank You Steve

  19. Joe on March 5, 2022 at 5:57 am

    I came across a video profile of a visual artist named Rachel Rose: “A Space Travel into Mortality” — It feels like there’s a bit of connectivity with Steve’s post this week.

    Rachel is talking about one of her video pieces, “Everything and More,” that started with her responses to seeing the films “Gravity” and “Interstellar.” A lot of “Everything and More” focuses on the experiences of astronaut David Wolf (an Indiana native), and how traveling to space is something of a near-death experience (“someone who’s gone to space and back has experienced the brink of nothingness”).

    A couple of her comments that maybe apply this week:

    “Each work I make is a process of uncovering something that starts out very small and everyday and subtle inside of me. . . unease or fear or something sublime. Trying to understand that feeling and connect it to places and times outside of myself, to deepen its spectrum of what it is. I try to use myself a bit like a tiny sensor and then quickly move outside myself to the place that it spots.”

    “I don’t think about mixing techniques, I more think about what the work needs and what it’s asking and how I can deliver that or work towards that.”

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  24. Ricky on April 27, 2022 at 9:45 pm

    I like this blogspot and i hope u always make good article from : Ricky

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  26. edi consultants on August 5, 2022 at 3:07 am

    The most inspiring post i have ever read. Thanks for sharing this. Keep up the good work.

  27. ujuy on March 12, 2023 at 9:44 pm

    Thanks for sharing this amazing article.

    Thank you, Steven.

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