“Do you work over the Holidays?”

I don’t. It’s a “lane thing” for me. On a normal working week (or working day), I definitely psych myself  into a working lane, by which I mean a narrowly-focused channel that excludes all serious distraction.

Right now I’ve dropped out of that lane. I’m hanging with the fam 500 miles from my work desk. Both banks of the lane are open.

This is not necessarily easy for me. I like being in the lane. But every now and then it’s good to drop the intense and narrow focus and just be a regular person.

That’s my wish for you and every one of us soldiers in the trenches during this Holiday Season. A few extra hours in the sack and a few superfluous calories won’t kill us. I give myself and I give all of us permission to chill with the people we love and get fat for a few days.

Have a great Holiday Season, whatever your persuasion. We’ll get back into the trenches in the New Year!

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.

do the work book banner 1

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.

noboybookcover

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

40 Comments

  1. Elaine on December 27, 2023 at 2:03 am

    Happy Holidays! Enjoy your time. It’s a great time to recharge and reflect.

  2. Philip Ebuluofor on December 27, 2023 at 2:13 am

    Definitely educative and insightful nonetheless. Wishing you the best of the festive mood.

  3. Elizabeth on December 27, 2023 at 3:04 am

    Happy New Year, Steven and the Pressfield clan.

    Your email is the One I read, regardless of the season.

    I’m very grateful for your writing.

    May we have countless more reasons to celebrate the New Year!

    Happy New Year, 2024!.

    Elizabeth

  4. Don Bonin on December 27, 2023 at 3:10 am

    Ciao, from Florence! No lanes for us here, but there is a road back to Rome, as they say!
    Happy holidays, one and all.
    Grateful.

  5. Jackie on December 27, 2023 at 3:49 am

    Happy holidays and a rest. May 2024 see the realization of our hard work and dreams. Best to you Steve and to the community. I’m grateful for Writing Wednesdays.

    • Tolis on December 27, 2023 at 9:49 am

      You too, Jackie!

      • Jackie on December 27, 2023 at 10:00 am

        Thank you, Tolis.

  6. Cassandra on December 27, 2023 at 3:53 am

    Thank you Steve,
    I really needed to read that. I am new at this writing routine and my RESISTANCE is a big ugly hairball (that likes to eat during the holiday). Looking forward to more of your insight and wisdom. Happy New Year.
    All my Best
    Cassandra

    PS. I am enjoying The Dailey Pressfielld, it was one of my Xmas gifts.

  7. Peter Brockwell on December 27, 2023 at 4:16 am

    Merry Xmas and Happy New Year everyone. I think I’d already dropped out of the lane, I’m embarrassed to say, but thank Steve, it’s good to hear that you’ve eased your foot off the pedal too.

    Very best wishes everyone!
    Peter

  8. Heather C on December 27, 2023 at 4:49 am

    I needed to read that today, thanks for the permission 🙂

  9. Jeff Lubin on December 27, 2023 at 5:22 am

    Great! Enjoy the holiday. Being at home, there are lags…people watching football, on there phone, etc. Of course I slip away to my computer and continue working on my latest project. Is it work, yes. Does it bring me joy? If you enjoy falling back into my world, it’s like food to me. Picture Dorothy coming out of the cellar of black and white to color in The Wizard of Oz…thats what achieving even a paragraph does for me. Leaving the world of blah..after an
    hour or two, I’ll ramble back downstairs, grab a bite of last dinners pie and join the crew…until tomorrow.

  10. Kathy on December 27, 2023 at 5:41 am

    Happy Holidays to all. ☮️

  11. Dennis Schug on December 27, 2023 at 6:36 am

    Appreciate your example, both in writing and in rest. Happy holidays to you and yours, Steven Pressfield. Thank you for doing what you do – it’s helped me unlock what’s next for me.

    Dennis

  12. Ed Lovern on December 27, 2023 at 6:38 am

    Amen. And thanks again, Steven. I hope you can stay on target with your blog and your writing for many many years!

  13. Ed Hinman on December 27, 2023 at 6:52 am

    Well said, Steve. Keep taking it easy until Jan 2nd! Enjoy your well earned time off.

  14. Joseph Badal on December 27, 2023 at 6:57 am

    Love your “lane” comment. It’s nice that you are able to segment your life that way. I, however, am so deep into a manuscript, and am so excited about the story, I couldn’t pull away for more than a few hours. Ah well, writing is a gift and a curse.
    Happy Holidays. I look forward to your next book.
    Joe

    • Joe Badalamente on December 27, 2023 at 10:15 am

      I find it difficult to step away as well, but do see the value.

  15. Mellie Smith on December 27, 2023 at 7:13 am

    I have found that if I SNEAK away from my work the break doesn’t provide a significant benefit. But if I deliberately pronounce “NO work” for x length of time, I return to it with renewed vigor. I think the opportunity to look longingly toward my desk rather than longingly AWAY from it is the difference. 🙂 Enjoy your opportunity to desire your work, Steven, and thanks for all you do.

  16. DeWayne on December 27, 2023 at 7:15 am

    Thanks for writing that! I already feel better about my efforts to balance my obsession to polish my book and get it off to an agent or many agents, perhaps. It’s good to know that someone of your ilk has another lane!

    Have a great holiday.

  17. Brian Nelson on December 27, 2023 at 7:38 am

    Years ago I was in an Army leadership course in Ft Huachuca, Arizona. Half of the course if the same for all jobs (MOSs, military occupational specialty) and half is specific to one’s particular job. I worked in Signals Intelligence (think Snowden & NSA), but this was 95 before the ubiquity of mobile phones and email. It was the birth of the digital age, and the Army remains firmly entrenched in training the previous war’s TTP (tactics, techniques, procedures).

    The most difficult block of instruction (how the Army defines a ‘class’ or ‘subject’) was cryptography. We had to break messages that were in different languages, using all types of pre-computer crypto. We learned 1-1, 1-2, 1-3 (one letter is 1, 2, or 3 letters/numbers), letter frequency distributions in numerous languages (ETNORIAS is the frequency distribution for English in order, most easily remembered by SENORITA). SUCK ON THAT PAT SAJAK!!!

    So this block of instruction is about 3-4 weeks. All the students have black rings under their eyes. It is truly a BRUTE cognitive effort. You are looking for one break, one toe-hold to begin to break it wide open. Sometimes that one break could take you a day or two.

    Often, I’d be so entrenched into a problem, that I’d take a drink of coffee and it was ice cold. I hadn’t moved in hours. Intense focus and concentration. Super hard, but at the same time–super enthralling as well.

    It is Wednesday before Thanksgiving. My brother (a student at UT in Austin) and I’m going to hang with him. In fact, we have tickets to see Dallas play Kansas City on Thanksgiving. I hadn’t seen Alan in 3+ years while I was overseas. I was so excited for this Thanksgiving Day, more than I looked forward to any holiday since I believed in Santa Claus.

    Around 1500 Wednesday afternoon, I found my break. It was the hardest problem we’d had at that point. I looked like I had been in a starvation camp. Pasty white (all intelligence is done in basements or windowless (and soulless of course) buildings), rings under my eyes, had the lovely ‘math teacher’ breath of stale coffee & tobacco–and I found it! I was so excited. The one break I needed and the instructor then says, “Alright. Pack it up. Everything in the safe. We are leaving early for the holiday. Happy Thanksgiving!”

    I looked up and thought, “NOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!!!! NOOOOOOOOOO!!! We cannot leave now!!”

    My visage could have been used as Halloween decorations. I knew I would NEVER remember how I got to where I was 4 days from now. I was totally panicked.

    Long set up to say, sometimes it is more comfortable to stay in the lane. That guy, that unhinged person who would have sacrificed seeing family to finish a task, needs to get out of the lane more than anyone.

    Merry Christmas. Happy Holidays. Happy New Year.
    bsn

    • Tolis on December 27, 2023 at 9:48 am

      Happy Holidays Brian! I wish the best for you. Thank you for the comment.

  18. Jim Sapara on December 27, 2023 at 8:02 am

    Same.
    Top of the season to everyone!
    Till next year.

  19. Connie on December 27, 2023 at 9:07 am

    Delighted to report that I spent time with loved ones, slept in and got a little fat…the last one is because I have cut back on eating and the shrinkage in the tum seems to be permanent. Beautiful Christmas. Looking forward to New Year celebration! Wising all the very best of an upcoming 2024!!!!

  20. Tolis on December 27, 2023 at 9:22 am

    Happy holiday dear Steve, happy holiday to all people, and the biggest wish of all is Peace. The day it will prevail is inevitable, I can feel it in science.

    I can’t stop 🙁 The urge is strong and the hours I can put in are only a few –I try to find that hour or so every day these demanding (holi)days. I work in my car for a few months now –inexpensive, quiet, warm, and a place to get to immediately, not searching for libraries and losing even the shortest amount of time. I actually work for about 3 or 4 hours every day, it’s just that I must also do the “job” and the other important things so I can’t give all that time to the epic. Especially now, at the middle of the year. But there, even one hour is good. When you are at the level of a crawler you must not stop entirely, I can feel that now.

    Paraphrasing Hector of Troy, “one sign is unrivaled, to fight for the greater good of world”

  21. Maureen Anderson on December 27, 2023 at 9:30 am

    I’m with Heather. And I bet there are more of us who take this as permission to do what we were going to do anyway! 🙂

    Looking forward to another year of Writing Wednesdays.

    • Tolis on December 27, 2023 at 10:30 am

      Merry Christmas Maureen! May the new year bring you great wisdom and impressive excellent experiences.

  22. Joe on December 27, 2023 at 9:52 am

    Happy holidays and family time, Steve, Diana, and all a y’all!

    • Tolis on December 27, 2023 at 10:29 am

      Thank you so much Joe! Happy travelling, too.

  23. Callie B. Elwayns on December 27, 2023 at 10:10 am

    Thank you, I needed this! Callie

  24. Joe Badalamente on December 27, 2023 at 10:16 am

    Good for you, Mr. P! Happiest New Year to you and everyone on here! Be safe!

  25. Paullette MacDougal on December 27, 2023 at 3:05 pm

    Thanks for the permission to do. what I have already done, Steve.

    Yesterday, when I was inspired to come back to my project, a historical libretto for an opera, a true story about a woman who saves a Jewish man bound for Auschwitz during World War II, it flowed like Niagra.

    May the New Year bring much joy and continued success to you and yours.

    (Phyllis) Paullette

  26. Sam Luna on December 27, 2023 at 6:07 pm

    I’m so out of the lane I forgot what day it is! Happy holidays Coach to you and all the WW gang. Thanks for the gift of the Daily Pressfield, it’s an amazing piece of work.

  27. Bonnie Lacy on December 27, 2023 at 6:57 pm

    Happyhappyhappy holidays to all and a blessed new year!

  28. Joan Di Stefano on December 27, 2023 at 9:30 pm

    Happy Nrw Year to everyone ! Eat drink and be grateful !

  29. Giuseppe Bifulco on December 28, 2023 at 2:58 pm

    I think this time of the years is really,really prolific for creativity,I dont know exactly why,but there is a certain magic that is particular to this time of the year.Of course we can balance the time we use,but I really think and experience this time of the year as a rare occasion to better tuning into “other” frequencies.Pure magic.Let’s create 🙂

    Blessing to everyone,Thank you Steven
    Happy new Year 🙂

  30. Rich on December 29, 2023 at 3:04 pm

    A question for the group: Do you write when you’re sick?

  31. Maxwell on December 29, 2023 at 11:45 pm

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  32. iq test on January 29, 2024 at 12:55 am

    Happy holidays and family time

  33. Advoice Inc. on February 6, 2024 at 9:40 pm

    This blog is a timely exploration of the often overlooked topic of working over the holidays. The author delves into the complexities of balancing professional commitments and personal festivities, providing valuable insights and relatable anecdotes. It’s a comforting read for those navigating the challenges of holiday work, offering a thoughtful perspective on finding a harmonious blend between career and celebration. As we approach the festive season, this blog serves as a reminder that it’s okay to set boundaries and prioritize self-care. Well-written and resonant—thank you for addressing a topic that many can relate to!

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