I was watching the Cowboys-Lions game on TV the other night, when one of the commentators, Troy Aikman—himself a Hall of Fame Cowboys quarterback from the 90s—made an observation in praise of the current Dallas QB, Dak Prescott. “He’s seeing the field really well right now,” Troy said.

Meanwhile, over the holidays, I was visiting my family. Watching my two-year-old nephew Logan (actually my great-nephew) bounce around from Christmas gifts to playing with his cousins to trying to negotiate a steep flight of stairs, I realized his whole world is about seeing the field.

Life is the field for him.

At one point, he was struggling to get the wrapping paper off a gift. His grandmother reached in. “Do you want some help, Logan?” Logan immediately and forcefully pushed her hand away. He was not only impelled to make sense of the field … it was fun for him. You couldn’t have stopped him if you tried.

You and I as artists and entrepreneurs live to see the field. It’s our job. Our calling. But what field(s)? The field of the material world, of course. But then fields beyond that. The field of the future, of potentiality, of time forward and back …

We struggle to see the inner fields as well. The field of our calling, of our dreams, of our imagination. What is our art? How do we reach the level beyond this one … and levels beyond that? What is being? What is honor? What is death? What is the soul? 

We live in the field of our imagination. But what is that? How many limiting beliefs are we carrying that are preventing us from seeing what’s right in front of us? How would our lives be different if we could see those fields? If we could operate within them? 

I thought, watching Logan under the Christmas tree, that of all the fields that I should or could be seeing, I’m probably not even aware of .0001 of them.

I’m like my little nephew, struggling with my baby fingers just to get the wrapping off the package. 

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.

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

55 Comments

  1. Wade on January 3, 2024 at 1:49 am

    I wish I could see the field more often, but sometimes I just get tired.

  2. Philip Ebuluofor on January 3, 2024 at 2:32 am

    It came to you watching Logan struggle. For donkey years, it never crossed your mind in this way at least. It helps to watch, read, and observe from others to see what had been there but we overlooked the struggle to manufacture Mars on Earth.

    I have ideas already. Great one to start the year.

    • Mellie Smith on January 3, 2024 at 10:45 am

      Twenty years ago, I was in an accident that broke quite a number of bones and joints. I recovered remarkably well and continued to have a full and active life. Then, apparently, my warranty expired when I turned 66 last May.

      Since then my physical field has constricted as arthritis swarmed me and put me under house arrest. But my life has taught me that a cause for tears now will be a cause for gratitude later, and I’m already seeing the truth of that – which today’s post has made even clearer.

      The sudden “rusting” of my joints freed me from a lot of activity that I now realise was just mindless busyness – in a few narrow fields, too. Sitting in my wheelchair, my mind can venture out much farther, no longer restricted by the obligations of routine or by time or energy or resources. And by the grace of God, my hands are not much affected so I’m able to paint and write and type.

      Once I quit whinging about what I COULDN’T do (which I still fall into, I’m sad to admit), I’ve begun to realise just how restricted my thinking and awareness had become. I wasn’t looking OUT much at all. This post, Steve, was very timely. It validates what I’ve been recognizing, and also tells me to stretch my gaze out even further. I think I’ll get ahead of the inevitable and just be grateful NOW for this present trial! 🙂

      • Brian Nelson on January 3, 2024 at 12:14 pm

        Beautiful.
        bsn

      • Joe Jansen on January 4, 2024 at 7:06 am

        Thanks for sharing this, Mellie.

      • Nom de Plume on January 4, 2024 at 5:04 pm

        Once I quit whinging about what I COULDN’T do (which I still fall into, I’m sad to admit)

        Don’t be sad to admit it, Mellie — you’re human! Whinging about our limitations is our default state. Being able to overcome it at all is a major achievement!

  3. Elaine on January 3, 2024 at 2:56 am

    We are shaped by the limits society puts on us. The wonder and amazement of a child who has not yet been molded by teachers and assessed by what is imposed by the external world. The baby is guided by love and protected through the stages of early life. The simplicity of taking baby steps and navigating each one. Nothing is taken for granted. Each moment is full of excitement. We lose that. What a treat to see Christmas through the eyes of a child. A reminder to stop and savor the moment. .

    • Tolis on January 3, 2024 at 3:59 am

      thank you for the beautiful energies Elaine

      • Elaine on January 3, 2024 at 6:29 pm

        I appreciate your kind words

  4. Julz on January 3, 2024 at 3:01 am

    So many fields, what fun to play there. One that comes readily to mind, is the one that Rumi speaks about. On the rare occasion that I get there, if in fact I actually do, the stay is but fleeting. I so love this poem, however, I’m not versed with “quoting procedure” to share it… 🙂

  5. Claire T on January 3, 2024 at 3:11 am

    Thanks Steve, a lovely reminder to keep looking and seeing and being present. I read a similar note from Pam Grout this morning – she refers to it as deciding to tune into the premium channel. So much we don’t see – my lesson for today. Happy new year!

  6. Shannon on January 3, 2024 at 3:52 am

    Oh, the field. What a great post. I immediately thought of The Field of Stars that I walked across in Spain. Also known as the Camino de Santiago, I was blissfully and at times painfully aware of how ill prepared I was to make that 500 mile trek across Spain solo, but that particular field got me into a wonderful rhythm of walking and writing every single day. Thank you for this post and the reminder today to walk and write. What a great field indeed!

    • Tolis on January 3, 2024 at 4:02 am

      Thank you very much Shannon, if you could share more about the 500 mile trek and how it is connected to you writing I would be all ears. Happy new year.

    • Joe Jansen on January 4, 2024 at 7:28 am

      WANT to walk that route. Ever since I saw the Emilio Estevez/Martin Sheen movie, “The Way.”

  7. Thea O'Brien on January 3, 2024 at 3:54 am

    Great insight! I interpet that as the player is not only aware of what he is able to contribute to the game, but has expanded his awareness to cover the field, reading other’s play patterns and like a good chessplayer, understanding the possible imminent play patterns. Artists do that too, although they are inclined to only pick one or two threads of play and explore the consequences of those in depth.
    And when you sit down to write are you not like a child, tearing off the wrapping of a theme to explore the contents, with a “go away, leave me alone attitude, I must see, touch, hear, feel this experiace, to know what it is and discover what I can do with it?” You are just a bigger kid with a different frame of reference!

  8. Eric Biehl on January 3, 2024 at 4:02 am

    It can be overwhelming at times. The “pace” at which the “field” changes is a big challenge.

  9. Tolis on January 3, 2024 at 4:25 am

    Thank you very much dear Steve.

    Infinite fields for us. We only see a few with clouds and storms bluring and altering them before we ever become one with any.

    To be one with the most beautiful fields.

    Like a field in Studio Ghibli where we wouldn’t be searching for meaning because we would be living where the meaning is. But there, the law of causality forbids that –it’s the prospective Elysian Fields of (wo)man.

    No set meaning in this world, this world is neutral. So the meaning is what we set it to be.

    Against the wars and against every wasted moment of our lives, let us hope that one day we lay alive on that beautiful green and brown and blue field with warm winds and infinite symbols in material form to explore. Meaning is all that is not darkness, and darkness is the bringing of every meaning back to the horrible neutrality.

    • Tolis on January 3, 2024 at 4:45 am

      P.s. I think it was Joe who said he admires coincidences. Let me describe one: a week ago I was bored and sick, sitting on my chair in front ot the desk. It was night time. I grabbed one random book from the many I have from an enterpreneur who was the first to inspire me through one ohter book in 2005 and made me start the journey of wisdom.

      I randomly opened a page (wouldn’t read it, just wanted to read something beautiful that moment) and it referred to three types of “assets”: individual assets, team assets and spiritual assets. The last intrigued me so I kept reading the next page. And voila –guess whom he was mentioning? You, your book The War of Art. He even gave names to his Resistances like “the fat boy” who tempt him. I never could have guessed my first mentor would be fond of my present mentor and I never would have found that, if not randomly opening that big, forgotten book on that specific page by chance.

      He also mentioned another book that he believed that together with yours gives an exceptional guide to the workings of man, although it refairs to organizations, but it’s writer Collins declares that it’s about individuals too. It is the “Good to Great” by James Collins and it starts with this phrase: “Good is the enemy of great. And that is one of the key reasons why we have so little that becomes great.” Check it out if you haven’t already.

      Now back to work! Even that one hour is impossible to do these days.

      • Joe on January 4, 2024 at 7:30 am

        Calling Resistance by the name “Fat Boy.” I like! Take a little of its power.

        • Tolis on January 5, 2024 at 1:13 pm

          Thank you Joe! It may bring some clarity. He also named other aspects of his Resistance with names that they should have.

    • Maggie on January 3, 2024 at 3:01 pm

      Beautiful and emotional. Thank you for being you.

      • Tolis on January 4, 2024 at 2:51 am

        Thank you Maggie. Your thanks is the most beautiful I’ve seen.

  10. Eliza G on January 3, 2024 at 4:58 am

    Profound and beautiful post. Thank you!

  11. Ed lovern I on January 3, 2024 at 5:45 am

    Thanks for taking me back to bagger Vance! Your book is excellent, and I can never resist washing your movie. It’s all true! And they believe it! And you.

  12. Jackie on January 3, 2024 at 6:33 am

    Another thought provoking post and the reason I love Wednesdays here. While watching the local news yesterday a bit came on about wrestling. My husband commented that he never saw the point to wrestling. My visiting daughter shot back, “Dad, what’s really the point to any sport? Tennis, for me, was never about winning. I liked to lob the ball back and forth. It was fun.” She also enjoyed the camaraderie of friends. Although the young women worked hard, their tennis team was mostly awful with the exception of two standout players. If the team won, it was a happy accident, but not the point for the majority of players on the team.

    A bit of background: From birth, my daughter had extreme limits to the use of her right hand and fingers. To even play tennis, she developed a way of serving one handed. She held her racket and ball in her left hand, tossed the ball into the air, swung, and served in a way this two handed person couldn’t fathom. Nor could any of her teammates duplicate the process. She is also a Type I diabetic since twelve years of age. She had to be mindful of her blood sugars under heavy exercise. Her field was way different than most in anything she attempted. She made the choice to participate, regardless.

    We then discussed golf. I love the sport not for the playing field and competition in front of me, but the playing field inside. Do you take the safe shot to get to the green or do you choose the bolder action? When? Why? How do you deal with the results? My husband laughs that I can not remember my stokes without a counter. There are too many other things demanding the attention besides the number of times it takes to land the ball in the hole.

    We make or break our own limits. As we await the arrival of our first grandchild, I can hardly wait to see the field through his brand new eyes. Hopefully the boy will take a little from his mom and see that what good is the end result if we haven’t enjoyed the journey and all the wonders it offers if we but choose to see beyond what’s before our eyes.

    • Tolis on January 3, 2024 at 7:44 am

      Thank you so much Jackie. I’m Type 1 since 9 too, so there we go together. Every moment is all there is, and it is filled wih the most wonderful, exciting, impossible adventures. To not live one means one didn’t find them yet, that’s all.

      • Jackie on January 3, 2024 at 9:27 am

        Well said, Tolis. Each moment is all, you get it. What an adventure!

    • Brian Nelson on January 3, 2024 at 11:35 am

      Jackie,
      What a beautiful story! Thank you so much. ‘we make or break our own limits’–reminds me of a Richard Bach quote in ‘Illusions: Adventures of a Reluctant Messiah’ I must have read a dozen times in my teens/early 20s.

      ‘Argue for your limitations and they’re yours.’

      Your post and your brave daughter reminded me of Jim Abbott (actually just learned his name by searching ‘1 armed baseball pitcher) and found this: https://www.sportscasting.com/whatever-happened-to-mlbs-one-handed-pitcher-jim-abbott/

      The number of people your daughter inspired was likely in the hundreds if not thousands. So cool.
      bsn

      • Jackie on January 3, 2024 at 11:42 am

        Thanks Brian, but you know the coolest thing is my daughter just lives every day as the regular person she is. She lights up my world and those around her by being herself.

    • Joe on January 4, 2024 at 7:36 am

      I’ve worked 20+ years for a company that has a big focus on diabetes medicines, so I’m feeling privileged to know that some of you are living with this condition. Makes me feel connected, like I’m doing this little bit to help make life better for people, some of whom I now feel more connected to (you), even if we never meet in person.

  13. Rodney on January 3, 2024 at 7:05 am

    A powerful metaphor and illustration. “Eyes to see.”

  14. Sally Jupe on January 3, 2024 at 8:21 am

    Thank you so much for this ‘thought provoking’ email today. I purposelessly left it on my big screen all day as it had such an impact on me and as I walked in and out of my office doing some other work I wanted to ruminate on the thoughts that it provoked. Logan was such a perfect example to use
    So many synchronicities have been happening this last few weeks for me with the nudges and pushes I am getting to stop and REALLY pay attention and this email came in right after listening to Grandmaster Wolf https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8gKyBQSHoyg&ab_channel=GrandmasterWolf who basically was talking about the very, very, very little we humans see, or hear, or feel, due to our human programming and conditioning from childhood as we now go about our average daily lives. And if I do anything in 2024 is to make this change to finally become an all seeing, feeling being at 65 years of age and make my own field of new dreams.

  15. Sam Luna on January 3, 2024 at 8:30 am

    I was having a busy morning right before Christmas and my sister texted that my 11 year old niece wanted to FaceTime and show me (her Tio) and my wife (her Tia) something. I replied “sure, I can grab a few minutes.”

    When my niece popped up on the screen it turned out she had transformed my sister’s apartment into a TV studio for an elaborate Christmas special. There were sets, costumes, and about a dozen songs she mostly improvised. There was a trip to the moon, a voyage to an island populated by dinosaurs, and the whole thing took about a half hour.

    When the grand finale was over I told her (and meant it) “that’s the best Christmas special I will see this year.”

    I’m still thinking about it. She just ran around the rooms: “now this happens, now that happens” totally out of her head and flying in the seat of pure imagination. That’s what we all try to do when we write, to get to that place, as if we were 11 again performing for an aunt or grandpa.

    I saw a documentary once where a rock producer said his biggest challenge was getting aging bands “to be 17 in their heads again and kick out the jams one more time.” Now I think about being 11 in my head again and sitting down to write … :”now this happens! Now that happens!”

    • Jackie on January 3, 2024 at 9:29 am

      Cool story, Sam. Thanks for sharing.

      • Sam Luna on January 3, 2024 at 12:45 pm

        Wishing you all the best creatively in the New Year Jackie!

        • Jackie on January 3, 2024 at 4:55 pm

          Thanks Sam and to you also!

    • Brian Nelson on January 3, 2024 at 11:29 am

      Sam,
      What a treat! I pictured this all super clearly in my mind. I watched “A Man Named Otto” over the weekend, and I pictured your niece like Otto’s young neighbor’s girls. Warmed me from head to toe. Thank you.
      bsn

      • Sam Luna on January 3, 2024 at 12:46 pm

        Thanks Brian! Always look forward to your comments on WW’s.

    • Joe on January 4, 2024 at 7:39 am

      Love it. Getting in the flow and stringing one thing to another, letting the pieces tell you want comes next, what’s connected to what.

  16. Suzanne in Ottawa on January 3, 2024 at 8:44 am

    How wonderful Logan’s Grandmother asked if he would like some help, before imposing her capable hands. And equally fortunate is your sensibility Steven to share the field, with Logan and now us. Sharing the field: may we dance, may we rise, translucent in 2024. Thank you sharing.

  17. Wanda Bowring on January 3, 2024 at 8:44 am

    And your baby fingers are working well, if your book, The War of Art is anything to go by. It has numinous quality written all over it. You’re mining the depths well. Happy New Year.

  18. Chuck Root on January 3, 2024 at 9:42 am

    Steve
    Great write up. I work with the Stock Market, and have a coach to help me see the market better. As a chartist, we look at the results of past price changes. This gives us a basic idea of what to expect for the future.
    I really like the term “see the field.” Its a broad brush take on a specific idea.
    BE Well my friend and Happy New Year
    Chuck Root

  19. Bruce Devlin on January 3, 2024 at 10:23 am

    Just a New Year wish for you Steven, I hope you have a wonderful 2024.

    Bruce

  20. Steve Koehler on January 3, 2024 at 10:53 am

    Wanna see an NFL QB who really “sees the field “?
    Brock Purdy if the 49ers. You may or may not not know that he was supposed to be a big fat NOBODY. Last, as in LAST player picked in the draft 2 years ago. Became starter by a fluke. Just set the 9ers single season yardage passing record. (Bested two hall-of-famers). 9ers star linebacker Dre Greenlaw said he never talked to the guy, because he was ALWAYS studying . An example that the “experts” often don’t know s**t. It’s Purdy’s ability to “see the field” that may make him the Super Bowl MVP. So Steve—I think your idea of “see the field” is an example of seeing the field.

  21. Brian Nelson on January 3, 2024 at 11:27 am

    Steve comes out of the gate swinging hard. I think ‘seeing the field’ was also what Bagger Vance asked Juna to do.

    Today’s blog hit me in so many different places, I could use it as a jumping off point for 4-5 different trains of thought.

    Sports were a big deal to us growing up. My brother and I were teammates for any neighborhood games played in the street or at the community pool block (2 on 2 football, 2 on 2 basketball, Wiffle Ball), and we competed for number of trophies on our dressers (individual & team sport trophies).

    I’d be curious to see ‘measurable difference in competitiveness’ of men with brothers (within 1-3 years) and those without. My experience, everyone who had brothers were better athletes-or at least were more competitive.

    I was always fast. Fastest kid in school (measured by the Presidential Physical Fitness test we took annually back in the 70s/80s.). Alan was not, but he’s way way way more cerebral than me.

    His competitive advantage in all sports became is vision of the field, his understanding of the game. A natural problem solver, genius IQ (he got a 790 math SAT score), and deep competitiveness with older brother (me) had him truly ‘study’ the games.

    I, on the other hand, relied too much on God-given talents, and never learned to be as astute on the field. My vision was much more narrow.

    In the end, Alan became a much better teammate–even if he might not have had the same degree of speed, or initial comfort with a sport.

    So many good questions, but “How many limiting beliefs are we carrying that are preventing us from seeing what’s right in front of us?” is one I have recently pondered as well. Below is a link to a short article I posted on LinkedIn a few weeks ago about a similar thought.

    https://www.linkedin.com/pulse/soap-my-eyes-brian-nelson-zrxyc%3FtrackingId=sBEMpjrUxqOwfqbPSBoM%252BA%253D%253D/?trackingId=sBEMpjrUxqOwfqbPSBoM%2BA%3D%3D

    Happy New Year!
    bsn

  22. Maureen Anderson on January 3, 2024 at 2:50 pm

    So many great stories and comments today!

    And only three days into a new year, I now have a new question to pose the heavens every night before I let myself fall asleep: “What am I missing?”

    • Tolis on January 4, 2024 at 2:52 am

      Clever question, Maureen. Thanks.

  23. Rich on January 3, 2024 at 3:36 pm

    Thank you for sharing, Steve.

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  25. Joe Jansen on January 4, 2024 at 10:31 am

    When I thing about “seeing the whole field,” I want to expand that to “being aware of the space.” Thinking about what Sam Harris says about meditation and not as much “being aware OF consciousness,” but rather “being aware AS consciousness.” Everything of which we’re aware is a change in the state of that consciousness.

    That is, it’s not there is a subject “observed” and we’re on some periphery, as an object viewing the observed from the other side of a boundary. Rather, it’s all one thing: consciousness and its contents. So… expanding the idea of “seeing the whole field” to “being aware of yourself and the field being contiguous.”

    Or something like that. I can also tell a good fart joke.

    • Joe on January 6, 2024 at 9:24 am

      ^^ When I THINK about… ^^

  26. Tom wood on January 5, 2024 at 2:20 am

    Seeing the field is one thing. Being on the field and playing the game is another. It’s always better for me to be a player than a spectator, whether it’s quarterbacking or tearing open Christmas presents. Thanks for the reminder Steve.

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    As we age, our value doesn’t diminish; it only grows stronger with the depth of our life experiences. Reliable Home Care Best Companion Care

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