When I reached the depths of my own journey, living in an abandoned cinder-block house with no doors or windows, no electricity, no bathroom, and no running water, I found that my requirements for reading material had altered dramatically.

I couldn’t read even good books from outstanding authors—books I had read and loved in the past. They didn’t work for me anymore. They felt shallow. They didn’t give me what I needed.

The only things I could read were Homer, Shakespeare, and the King James Bible.

I loved these. I would crack the Old or New Testaments at random, not for anything “religious,” just for the poetry.  Within three verses, I’d be weeping.

And Ruth said to Naomi, Entreat me not to leave thee, or to refrain from following after thee. 

For whither thou goest, I will go; where thou lodgest, I will lodge; thy people shall be my people, and thy God my God. Where thou diest, I will die, and there shall I be buried.

The Lord do all this to me and more, if aught but death part thee and me.

That was when I became a believer in art. I was deep in my own myth. I needed help. Only real myth could sustain me. But once I found it, I recognized it—and it did sustain me when nothing else could.

It was clear to me, then, that my heart and my journey were no different from those of every soul throughout history, male and female, who had made the passage before me.

A few of these artists, inspired by who knows what, had managed to leave a sign for us who followed, a blaze on a tree, three stones piled up beside the trail. God bless them. They saved my life.

No one can ever tell me that art is trivial, or mere diversion, or entertainment. The real stuff is mother’s milk. We can’t live without it. It guides us and sustains us.

It’s my religion.


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. Arno on October 4, 2023 at 1:36 am


  2. Bruce MacNaughton on October 4, 2023 at 1:47 am


  3. Jackie on October 4, 2023 at 1:53 am


  4. Christopher Kosel on October 4, 2023 at 2:03 am

    Your work continues to be a source of inspiration Steven. Thank you for being a mentor and guide to so many.

  5. Tolis on October 4, 2023 at 2:30 am

    Thank you so much dear Steve.
    Yesterday night I would go run for a few miles in a state of “I have nothing left” and I listened to the war of art audio. So much beautiful again were the words to my ears, although they had left me for a long time after hearing it 2-3 years ago a hundred times or more.
    I guess that must be true even with Gods. Sometimes they are present, other times they are not.
    Religion seems to be a so interspersed world.
    I feel that philosophy is somewhat like religion, although far from the conventional one.
    It’s also as if art is a world that may or may not include religion -only at it’s truest form, as you state.
    What do we perceive as religion? I guess the meaning of life and the world.
    We look for it at the darkest places or when we are creative.
    MS-Dos when our Windows crash in total.
    So strange, all the beautiful world of the computers is based upon that MS Dos: only an innumerable array of dictations.

    Let’s go <3

  6. Kate Stanton on October 4, 2023 at 3:13 am

    I love how the first three comments are on word, as I also felt speechless with this one. My eyes watered while reading this passage:
    “It was clear to me, then, that my heart and my journey were no different from those of every soul throughout history, male and female, who had made the passage before me.”

    We are all connected. Resistance sure likes to tell me I’m the only one when I struggle with loneliness, but every one of us creating something new experiences it. I needed this reminder today as I tap (my latest thing) “I deserve to do music”…art is religion without the guilt!! Let’s all give ourselves permission to spend time on ourselves and our craft today.

    Thank you, Mr. Pressfield!

    • Joe on October 4, 2023 at 4:01 am

      That line touched me, too, Kate. Made me think of what Ram Dass said: “We’re all just walking each other home.” And echoed by Michael McDonald in his lyrics to “East of Eden” (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4_WIUEtoh40):

      Does he see us here?
      Are we precious in his sight?
      Or are we merely dust on this tiny ball?
      He hurled out into the night

      Maybe we exist to wander through this world
      Just to lead each other home

      • Kate Stanton on October 4, 2023 at 5:07 am

        You know Joe, I come here to read your comments just as much. Your recommendations are always so insightful. A truly perceptive friend you are! Going to check your link out now…

      • Karen Blumenthal on October 4, 2023 at 9:01 am

        This is lovely. Thank you for this post.

    • Tolis on October 4, 2023 at 8:06 am

      Art is Religion without a guilt.. what a beautiful line, thank you Kate

      We are never alone. We are everywhere and everyone. The endless conciousness of the world, living again and again and again and together.

      We as Tolis, Kate, Joe, Jackie and all friends are so lucky to be able to create! We are the luckiest creatures of the whole world! So blessed.

      Create greatly <3

  7. Jeff Lubin on October 4, 2023 at 3:15 am

    For every Pressfield, there are tens of thousands of artists who poured their souls out for their creations for a lifetime but their works were like leaves that start green and fall unnoticed when the season’s change. Those who follow to the end buoyed by their heart and passions alone with scant recognition are my true hero’s. Nature only endows a few with the rewards of recognition for their sacrifices. The rest are laid to rest, content they fought the good fight.

    • Jackie on October 4, 2023 at 7:15 am

      Well said Jeff. True contentment is found not in rewards, but in following through with your creations, no matter what.

      • Joan Di Stefano on October 4, 2023 at 7:48 am

        The Buddha said “i am awake”
        Seems fitting for this Writing Wednesday.

  8. Fanny Diaz on October 4, 2023 at 3:50 am

    Thank you again and again, Steven Pressfield! Today I was doubting if I had chosen the right path–maybe art is of no value in this world anymore. Maybe I just have to open myself to other possibilities. Then I received this “message in a bottle” and, although I am an observant Jew, I know my true religion is my call: writing. No matter the struggles! Thanks again 🙏🏽💌

  9. Kabamba on October 4, 2023 at 4:12 am

    Thank you Steve.

  10. grace on October 4, 2023 at 4:13 am

    Amen, amen, amen.

  11. Joe Badalamente on October 4, 2023 at 4:20 am

    Thank you. Music, film, literature, theater, standup, painting and sculpture….Vedder, Scorsese, Carlin and Prior, Denzel and Deniro, Pissarro, Delillo and Cormac… these people and more have motivated and sustained me throughout my life…and of course, you Mr. P, playing conductor for me!

  12. Daniel Stutzman on October 4, 2023 at 4:30 am

    Great stuff. It supports a fine passage I read once:

    It starts with this: put your desk in the corner, and every time you sit down there to write, remind yourself why it isn’t in the middle of the room. Life isn’t a support-system for art. It’s the other way around.

    King, Stephen. On Writing: A Memoir Of The Craft (A Memoir of the Craft (Reissue)) (p. 102). Scribner. Kindle Edition.

  13. Janus Adams on October 4, 2023 at 5:09 am

    Thank you!

  14. Jocelyn on October 4, 2023 at 5:12 am


  15. Gabriel Sheridan on October 4, 2023 at 6:08 am

    You have articulated my soul in a few brief paragraphs. God bless you brother!!! I hope that the sign posts I leave help a few out as well. Beautiful. You have captured the very essence of meaning in my life!

  16. Craig Lueck on October 4, 2023 at 7:01 am

    And like you, Winslow Homer said the same: “The life that I have chosen gives me my full hours of enjoyment for the balance of my life. The Sun will not rise, or set, without my notice and thanks.”

  17. Anonymous on October 4, 2023 at 7:10 am

    nothing could be more shallow than thinking that homer, Shakespeare and the Bible comprise “real art.” Stephen, I love a lot of what you do but your narrow perspective and fixation on european norms only hurts one person. You.

    • Kathy on October 4, 2023 at 11:23 am

      Have you ever looked underneath a rock? A rock that’s been left to take on fallen leaves and seasons of time? Find one. There’s a whole life underneath that might have passed by you. The rock is not the point though, it’s what lives underneath it, that causes the continuance of life. Mycelium is something that does not come to mind, unless you understand its motivation.

      • Kathy on October 4, 2023 at 12:45 pm

        I must add, a genuine thankfulness, to you Steven. Thank you for your prompting to get “Awake in the Cosmic Dream”, of Paramahansa Yogananda speaking. I did in fact find it through, the Self-Realization Fellowship Mother Center. My husband and I drove by that place so many times, always wanting to go in. They have a bookstore, as you said. Because of what you shared on your YouTube channel, about that recording and the Yoganandra, I felt prompted to watch, “Awake, The Life of Yoganandra”. That’s where I came across the song I refer to below, “Mere Gurudev”, by Khrishna Das.

    • Richard Hooker on October 7, 2023 at 4:31 am

      “European norms” – oh the shallowness of them! 🙄

      Do, you think, Anonymous, that you could possibly drip with any more arrogance?

  18. messi 9q on October 4, 2023 at 7:42 am

    You have articulated my soul in a few brief paragraphs. God bless you brother!!! I hope that the sign posts I leave help a few out as well. Beautiful. You have captured the very essence of meaning in my life!

  19. Michael Esser on October 4, 2023 at 7:58 am

    Thank you Steven,
    I came to this country some ten years ago. If I were to describe the journey, I would say, it stripped me down to my bare bones, it left nothing standing, devoid me of all my believes and certainties. I have yet to experience living in a windowless shack, but the important thing is that, while it would have been unthinkable when I arrived here, I now can entertain this thought without too much preoccupation.

  20. Marla Mitchnick on October 4, 2023 at 8:13 am

    Steve, you always break through the bullshit with the bright clarity and solid grace of truth – thank you. And thanks for quoting the Book of Ruth, I want to go back and read it through now – so beautiful!

    And curious: did that house really have absolutely no windows?

    In Gratitude,


    • Steven Pressfield on October 4, 2023 at 11:15 am

      It had spaces for windows, Marla, but no glass and no window frames, just the bare cinder blocks.

  21. Paul Bailey on October 4, 2023 at 8:23 am


    You write Truths, sometimes as Myth, out of your own time in the Fire. All of your stuff, but for me, especially

    Gates of Fire, a True Myth.

    The Lions Gate, Truth, no Myth

    And a great wellspring, which Lincoln also used

    The Bible, Truth.

    Lincoln also loved Shakespeare.

    Good company.

    Rock on!

  22. Cathy obrien on October 4, 2023 at 8:26 am

    It’s like a warm bath

  23. Rebecca T. on October 4, 2023 at 8:50 am

    Dear Steve,
    Have you heard of the book “The Truth and Beauty: How the Lives and Works of England’s Greatest Poets Point the Way to a Deeper Understanding of the Words of Jesus” by Andrew Klavan? I just started reading it. Your post reminds me of the connections made in the book (although from another perspective). It was recommended to the Episcopal Bishop of Florida who then shared it in one of his weekly messages.

    Thank you for sharing your insights. I always enjoy reading them and have learned a great deal.

  24. Lin Keeling on October 4, 2023 at 9:36 am

    “No one can ever tell me that art is trivial, or mere diversion, or entertainment. The real stuff is mother’s milk. We can’t live without it. It guides us and sustains us. It’s my religion.”
    Thank you for this one, Steven. I am giving several talks this week about my work, about how and why I do it. It is very scary talking about this with others–especially on Zoom where you can’t see their faces! I have found the courage and the connection to do the work but talking about is so scary because this IS my religion, my faith, the way I connect with the Universe. I am learning to write about and now I’m learning to talk about it. Your blog and this community have helped me do it. Thanks for giving me a boost today.

    • Jackie on October 4, 2023 at 1:46 pm

      Lin, you have my admiration. What you chose to do isn’t easy or always understood. Congrats on facing down a dragon.

      • Lin Keeling on October 4, 2023 at 4:20 pm

        Thanks Jackie. Sometimes that dragon is very, very big!!

  25. Kent Faver on October 4, 2023 at 9:45 am

    Yesterday was one of those days – a very bad day. So, I zoomed back across this e-mail just now, a day plus later, and almost hit delete – too many urgent things to read Steve’s weekly blog post. Thank God (or religion or both) I didn’t delete this masterpiece. Good grief – this post is beyond words.

  26. Kathy on October 4, 2023 at 10:28 am

    Thank you Steven. Thank you, Mahalo nui.

    It’s been so hard to continue on, since my Denny left, on to his lighter body.

    It’s not about not knowing my purpose, I know my purpose to be art. It’s the reason for my purpose, without my precious Denny, that causes me to stumble over endless tears. And yet, I promised I’d try.

    I am not a Hindu, nor Buddhist, not Islamic, nor Christian, nor any religion, yet, I am the breath of it all.

    I play over and over,

    “Mere Gurudev”, by Krishna Das:


    This song to me…. To Denny, my guru… Denny, my guru…

    This is my offering to the Universe, the stars and dust, the intelligence, from which Denny and I came. “I Am” grateful. I will go to Orions Nebula and the Cosmos, one day, to find him. I will not give up. Light, open the vastness of the Universe, for LOVE between these two… Denny and I.

    Libra in the sky, I have no constellation I call my own. Denny, my guru, my lover, my confidant, my friend, I am the claws of the Scorpion, of you. One single voice and force. I will fight for you. I will create what I can, left here, in my hands and the intellect of our hearts. I will breathe for you… as I can, as I can.

    Love is eternal.

    Thank you, Universe, for giving us our breath, our existence, bursting with the force of Love.

    And I will love you forever my precious Denny, my guru.

    I will find you.

    Wait for me.

  27. Kathy on October 4, 2023 at 10:38 am

    🍃🌸🍃 And Flowers. Denny loved flowers. 🍃🌸🍃

  28. Brian Nelson on October 4, 2023 at 10:47 am

    There is an interesting survey called “Values in Action Strength Survey” (this takes about 20 minutes to complete–super interesting, and I believe helpful) https://www.viacharacter.org

    This survey highlighted the limitation of definitions of ‘art and beauty’ to me years ago. This survey has 24 values. The questions are designed ‘lot like me, not like me’ to indicate the 3-7 top values/signature strengths. One of the values is ‘appreciation of art & beauty’–and all the questions are about museums, masterpieces, paintings, sculpture…shit that I have never been exposed to, nor had much interest in pursuing.

    I need to broaden the aperture on the definition of art a bit for anyone like me who is a late-bloomer to the Humanities (could find zero value in art from 12-25…pre-frontal cortex limitations?) but have always, always, always been moved by extraordinary feats and/or efforts of athleticism.

    2010 NCAA tourney when Butler beat Michigan State–I wept during the final 3 minutes of that game. Butler played with a fearless ferocity rarely witnessed in life. (I’m sure Joe Jansen knows the game I’m talking about…)

    Three weeks ago, there was a cross country meet at the park that also holds our best off-leash park. The park is beautiful: Athletic fields, a lake, single track for mountain biking, trails, off-leash dog park, kids toys…something for everyone. I live .71 (according to Apple Watch) miles from the park and run there almost daily.

    I’m walking my dogs when I hear the crack of a starting gun, and them 150-200 young men/boys (HS I think) took off. It was this swarm of young men pushing each other, struggling against themselves and their competitors, running as hard as they could.

    Against my own will and almost instantly my eyes were filled with tears.

    My responses may be a greater indicator of my own emotional fragility/sensitivity pointing to decades of therapy–but, also–I think the art that I’m most familiar with, that I understand, that I can relate to, that I can appreciate–is the art of what man can do physically. It is not just the finger-tip catch, or 3 hit from way down town–it is the courage to try and the effort required that inspires tearful responses.

    I was completely elevated for a couple of days after witnessing this cross-country meet–only a glimpse–but it was enough.

    Back to VIA: my appreciation of art and beauty includes the beauty of man demonstrating courage to push back against the world, to push back against his/her limitations, to throw themselves into the smelting furnace of competition.

    My appreciation for the humanities has grown over the years, but for my truly visceral responses–the art is likely physically produced: athletics, music, dance.

    • Lin Keeling on October 4, 2023 at 11:20 am

      Hi Brian,
      Like so many other things in our culture, art has a very narrow definition when the term ‘art’ can be applied to almost anything. Art is an experience; a practice; a process, not an object. Art is where you find it.

      • Brian Nelson on October 4, 2023 at 7:27 pm

        I am always buoyed by your genuine optimism. Thank you. Good luck with your talks! Super exciting.

    • Maureen Anderson on October 5, 2023 at 11:21 am

      It isn’t just Joe, Brian! I remember those Butler days vividly!!

  29. Judy Ridgley on October 4, 2023 at 11:42 am

    No one understands creation better than God. After all , look what he created. He loves his artists and loves helping them with their craft. I find it exciting to work with Him.

  30. Audrey on October 4, 2023 at 11:48 am


  31. 117God on October 4, 2023 at 1:07 pm


  32. Helen Norton on October 4, 2023 at 1:27 pm


  33. Curtiss Ann Matlock on October 4, 2023 at 2:02 pm

    Yes. Art is life. For over 30 years as an author with traditional publishing, I had such conflict. I approached my writing as art, but my publishing house and many writers around me saw it as product/work/commodity. I just didn’t fit. I kept wondering what was wrong with me. Only in the past few years, as I’ve come back from laying aside writing, have I seen that writing is art for me. Art saves and brings life. Thank you, Steve.

  34. Julie on October 4, 2023 at 4:21 pm

    I love it!

  35. Free on October 4, 2023 at 10:03 pm

    As I get older, I find religious content more and more fulfilling. And realize that many things I enjoyed in the past, used the Bible as a reference or were inspired by it.

  36. Tony W on October 4, 2023 at 11:21 pm

    “At first, art imitates life. Then life will imitate art. Then life will find its very existence from the arts.” – Fyodor Dostoevsky

  37. ThePokies on October 5, 2023 at 4:39 am

    I think the idea of training = self-training is very interesting. It has the potential to significantly improve the performance of machine learning models, especially in cases where labeled data is scarce.
    In traditional machine learning, models are trained on a dataset of labeled data. This data is used to teach the model the relationship between the input and output variables. However, in many cases, labeled data is difficult or expensive to obtain. This can limit the performance of machine learning models.v

  38. Denise LaFountaine on October 5, 2023 at 7:34 am

    So beautiful and so true. Phew!

  39. jodypaynesays on October 5, 2023 at 7:56 am

    Thank you. No other words, only thank you. So needed.

  40. Nancy on October 5, 2023 at 9:55 am

    In the depths where I live – in the shadows – your Writing Wednesdays call out to me.
    I’m getting closer each week to writing what I feel I need to write. Thank you.

  41. Wanda Bowring on October 5, 2023 at 10:12 am

    The myth of trauma and grief are powerful spellcasters and I translate what you are saying to the ability to recognize truth when you read/see/hear it. When you’re at the bottom of the well sucking dirt the truth is the only thing that can save you. Your post speaks to the depth that can be found in your book, The War of Art. I recognized you there.

  42. Terry on October 5, 2023 at 12:58 pm

    So good!

  43. Susan Kasper on October 5, 2023 at 3:06 pm

    Hello dear Steven,
    I don’t always read your posts, but was drawn to a few of them lately. This one had the tears swell, at least up into my throat. I’m a fairly new writer of fiction, and as so many, wake some mornings, and say to myself, why bother with this.
    This reminds me that, in my way, I will leave behind a deeper reflection of what I know as true. Thank you.

  44. York on October 5, 2023 at 4:38 pm

    Yes Steve!!


  45. Arthur Drake on October 5, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Started reading the Bible for much the same reason.

  46. Marlene on October 6, 2023 at 2:31 pm

    Living words. Thank you!!

  47. 메이저사이트 on October 6, 2023 at 5:59 pm

    You know there’s a lot of noise in the world about this topic these days. That’s also why I came here. You know so much its almost hard to argue with you (not that I really would want to…HaHa). You definitely put a new spin on a topic that has been discussed for a long time. It’s really great, it’s really great! 메이저사이트

  48. Debra Tufts on October 8, 2023 at 5:41 pm

    This message was different from your recent posts, and profound. And reading the comments, I could feel the passion. So palpable. We ebb and flow. Sometimes we feed, other times we are fed. Thank you for my meal today.

  49. Doug on October 16, 2023 at 1:43 pm

    Amen to the love of art.
    Few people pay hard earned cash to listen to a academic lecture.
    We all remember and get inspired by stories, legends and art.

    Keep writing.

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