Continuing our series on “Put your ass where your heart wants to be” …

Emma Stone and Ryan Gosling in Damien Chazelle’s “La La Land”

There’s a great sequence in the movie La La Land, written and directed by Damien Chazelle. The heroine Mia, played by Emma Stone, is shattered by the catastrophic failure of her one-woman show. 


I’m going home.


I’ll drive you.


No. Home. 

Mia abandons her Hollywood dream and returns to her parents’ house in Boulder City, Nevada. But Seb (Ryan Gosling) loves her and believes in her. When a possible break for Mia materializes, Seb drives to Boulder City, finds Mia’s house (she had only told him it was “across from the library”) and retrieves her by main force. 

In the wonderful climax to this sequence, Seb pulls up in front of Mia’s parents’ house in his ’73 Chevelle convertible, super-early to get a head start on the drive back to LA. But Mia is not there. The house is dark. Seb has told Mia he will stop out front and if she’s not waiting, he’ll leave without her. He puts the Chevy into gear. In the audience, our hearts are sinking… 

Suddenly Mia appears, hurrying, on foot, on the sidewalk. She carries a couple of take-out cups.


I just went to get us some coffees.

Sometimes it takes another person to believe in us. For Mia, it’s Seb. In tick, tick…BOOM!, that person for (the real life) composer Jonathan Larson is Stephen Sondheim.

The point is: That person seized our ass and dragged it back to where our heart wanted to be.


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. Tolis Alexopoulos on April 27, 2022 at 2:56 am

    Thank you so much dear Steve, I feel so happy for those people out there who drag others to a better future!

    In my personal life there are no such people concerning keeping me on the path of writing the book. And if i would allow my people, they would all have stopped me from pursuing the dream. Most consider it as 4000 lost hours up to now. Some actually try to stop me almost every day and with very derogatory (for them, in the end) ways. I feel more like Rocky than like a romantic La la land! soul, but thankfully I “did my work” on personal development for years, and (1) I have strong self defense, and (2) I get even harder from those obstacle-people. But it’s just that, even so, they steal So much time and energy and concentration from my agon.

    I give glory to all the people who act as positive and powerful catalysts for all the people around them, and you are one of them too. I bow before them.

    And I finish with this phrase I got years ago from another important man, a successful businessman:

    In this life you must fight with all you ‘ve got to get what you dream. And if you cannot find it, then YOU MAKE IT.

    • Peter Brockwell on April 27, 2022 at 3:03 am

      It’s encouraging to hear that you soldier on despite the nay-sayers. We have to self-validate, and Steve has many excellent posts and book content on that.

      And I always remind myself: if I don’t write, then what else is there? Sure I have hobbies, but a day where I’ve worked hard on a hobby but have not done at least some deep work on my book is an unsatisfying day…


      • Tolis on April 27, 2022 at 4:04 pm

        Thank you very much Peter,
        even an old and important priest underestimated my agon for writing that book a few hours ago! Although I told him how hard I try, he considered it as a hobby and smth to express your heart, not a work with future income. Wish you were all here so we could laugh and drink wine and respect each other.

    • Jackie on April 27, 2022 at 4:21 am

      It can be fortunate or unfortunate that you have no support from those close to you. Depends on your view. Unsupportive people can force you to work harder towards a goal. Not so much to prove them wrong do you keep going, but to be true to your heart. It may seem lonely going it by yourself. But you forget Tolis, we are here. Though strangers, we know the path. We champion each other. KEEP WRITING! The world needs your voice. There is only one YOU!
      Thanks, Steve, for community, comradery, mentoring, and guiding us, the sometimes-lost souls.

      • Tolis on April 27, 2022 at 4:12 pm

        Thank you Jackie! You must be very accurate. Although they bring chaos and strong, negative energies, the ‘most important’ unsupportive people are the cause for something inside me to emerge. It is like power, that stone-like determination. I can’t say if it’s Whole until I finish the book, but it has come to the surface, I can almost see it as an aggressive flowing energy.

    • Kate Stanton on April 27, 2022 at 8:51 am

      Dear Tolis,
      Imagine we are all at the top of the Philadelphia Museum of Art staircase right now–doing the boxer’s skip–right along with you! F*CK you, Resistance (which includes all naysayers). Let’s put Rocky’s theme on blast!

      • Tolis on April 27, 2022 at 4:21 pm

        Hahah put your red boxing gloves on Kate, and let us transform together our phantasmagoric dream into sweat and blood. The dream seems unreachable but the sweat, I tell you, is right here right now and it is ALL ours <3

    • Brenda Hopkins on May 13, 2022 at 9:34 am

      So glad to read your comment, Tolis. Now I don’t feel left out by the Universe for not supplying me that super wonderful person who believes in me so strongly that I can’t help but be lifted to my super secret desire for successful fulfillment.
      I usually am the one who is doing the believing strongly for others and have helped many go forward to their successes. And here I am, asking myself – why can’t I do that for myself?!?!
      Yes, now I am bit by bit, am able to move forward as I go deeper and deeper into myself.

  2. Peter Brockwell on April 27, 2022 at 2:56 am

    I love it. Again this ass-heart-seat coordination problem. It’s almost completely true that we are nothing without our community. We’re embedded gregarious organisms, even we who are introverts (it’s my birthday today and I’m spending the day alone in the V&A Museum in London :-). ). So why wouldn’t we need others close to us to cleave the ass to the heart, or the heart to the seat.

    Gotta say, I was so compelled by Steve’s relating of this story that it was only at the end of his post that I remembered I was reading a WW.


    • Don Bonin on April 27, 2022 at 7:44 am

      Happy Birthday, Peter! Enjoy the museum!

    • Kate Stanton on April 27, 2022 at 8:17 am

      Happy birthday, Peter!!! To Steve and all here–bless you for your ongoing support and encouraging words to one another. It’s inspiring to come here each Wednesday.

      This post hurt my heart in the good way! Coffee cheers! To Mia & Seb!

    • Maureen Anderson on April 27, 2022 at 12:35 pm

      To underscore what others are saying about the community here, I’m still thinking of Sam’s reply to my comment a couple of weeks ago. I wondered if I was missing the point of my life by trying to figure it out, and I was fairly sure I was unique in that respect. Sam wrote, “I think every human on earth wonders this every day, Maureen, myself included!” Boom. Less alone. Back to work.

      Happy Birthday, Peter!

    • Jackie on April 27, 2022 at 1:47 pm

      Happy Birthday Peter!

    • Tobie Hewitt on April 28, 2022 at 2:03 am

      Happy Birthday! I hope your year is filled with bliss, blessings, light, and love! ❤️🙏🏻❤️

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on April 29, 2022 at 2:22 am

      Happy birthday dear Peter, it was a great day when you were born.

  3. Brad Graft on April 27, 2022 at 7:40 am

    Line of the Day by Jackie : “But you forget Tolis, we are here. Though strangers, we know the path. We champion each other.”

    That pegs one of the beauties of this blog.

    And Happy B-Day, Peter.

    • Peter Brockwell on April 27, 2022 at 12:54 pm

      Agreed! A beautiful writing sentence from Jackie.

      And thanks guys. 🙂

    • Peter Brockwell on April 27, 2022 at 12:55 pm

      Damn, and auto-completion typo. I mean that to read: A beautiful stirring statement from Jackie.

    • Peter Brockwell on April 27, 2022 at 1:18 pm

      And I would dispute Jackie’s statement that we are strangers. Of course we might be ‘strange’ 🙂
      But we have all gravitated independently to Steve’s corner of the noosphere because we all probably have a creative passion/compulsion/obsession, and a similar way of thinking about it.

      No comment from Joe this week? Or at least not yet. Hope alls okay with him.

      • Maureen Anderson on April 27, 2022 at 2:19 pm

        I corresponded with him only last evening, Peter. 🙂

  4. david jay mcgee on April 27, 2022 at 7:46 am

    Ahh, the pain of jealousy, to know that others have another, that can do that deed, to drag them back to where their ass should be to create, to breathe that deep long pull of air and exhale genius.

    unconditional love and acceptance to all

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on April 29, 2022 at 2:33 am

      Love and acceptance for you too, David, ahh, jealousy… so powerful, so corrupting… and it all begins from lack of knowledge… we can be so many things, choose so many beautiful lives… damn.
      Thank you very much for your comment.

  5. Bing on April 27, 2022 at 8:41 am

    Thank you Tolis

  6. Maura Montgomery on April 27, 2022 at 8:55 am

    This is really wonderful. I enjoy the post and the comments. I find it extremely helpful. I copied and pasted this quote from Tolis. In this life you must fight with all you ‘ve got to get what you dream. And if you cannot find it, then YOU MAKE IT. What a great quote.

    Happy Birthday Peter.

    Yes I agree people don’t always want you to succeed. If we spent as much time building each other up as tearing each other down we would be in a better place.

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on April 29, 2022 at 2:36 am

      Thank you so much Maura! May your way be always great and full of light.

  7. Lin Keeling on April 27, 2022 at 2:44 pm

    Thanks to Steve and all of you today. You are not alone. Tolis. And, coming here every Wednesday reminds me I’m not alone either.
    Have a great week everyone!

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on April 29, 2022 at 2:38 am

      Thank you so much Lin! Your comment reminded me of one of Steve’s quotes, that once you step out of the comfort zone and go to chase the dream, you may seem to be alone, but you are not. The Muse (or whatever force of nature) is with you, and other symbolic forces, that guide you to find even better people than ever before….

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    Sometimes that person can also be you.

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