I subscribed to Seth Godin’s The Domino Project back in March, which offered a free download of Steven Pressfield’s “Do The Work – Overcome Resistance and get out of your own way”. It was offered as an advance sale item for free as a download on Amazon’s Kindle – I don’t have a Kindle so I used the Mac Desktop Version which worked like a charm.
I like Seth Godin’s blog and I have read it pretty much since I discovered blogging. So I figured that if he was recommending Pressfield’s writing this highly, it would be something worth reading.
When I started reading “Do The Work”, I was immediately struck by the conversational tone of the book and how quickly I was moving through it. Actually I finished the book in just under two hours and found it to be insightful. It also did something that I really didn’t like at times, “Do The Work” made me stop and reflect on things that I have done and what I did recently that self-sabotaged my efforts towards being more successful as a blogger. More about that later.
The book itself doesn’t pull any punches and can be rather blunt. Pressfield says this about Resistance: “Resistance is always lying and always full of shit.” (Kindle Location 114). The language can be colorful or offensive once in a while, dependent upon your views of that kind of language. Personally, being an old sailor, I just found the language colorful and in my opinion when it was used, it was to emphasize a point, not gratuitously.
Pressfield stated “Get your idea down on paper. You can always tweak it later.” (Kindle Location 276) This is so very true I can think of how many times I have dithered and procrastinated getting started on something, instead of just sitting down and doing it and then going back to fix what I get done.
In Kindle Location 356 he states “Research can be fun. It can be seductive. That’s its danger. We need it, we love it. But we must never forget that research can become Resistance.” Sometime or should I say often, this is a problem that I can have, I get so caught up looking for stuff to write about, that I don’t write about anything. The seductive call of the Internet and finding just too damn many “rabbit holes” to crawl around in, stops me from getting things done far too often.
One of the bigger things that I got out of reading this book is this quote: “In writing “action” means putting words on paper. “Reflection” means evaluating what we have on paper.” Another problem that I have when I write is that I am always seem to be evaluating what I am writing as I write instead of just going with the flow and not worrying about spelling, grammar, formatting and all that other stuff that the English teacher in me wants to look at, but interrupts what I am writing about. When I go to correct something, I lose track of what I was going to write. This is something that I need to work on, but it is very hard for me to do.
I liked the way he explained his Six Principles of Resistance and his two test questions:
Test Number One – “How bad do you want it?
Test Number Two – “Why do you want it?
Then when I came on this at (Kindle Location 677)
“Our greatest fear is fear of success. When we are succeeding – that is, when we have begun to overcome our self-doubt and self-sabotage, when we are advancing in our craft and evolving to a higher level – that when panic strikes.”
The combination of those two parts of the book really stopped and made me think about how I have let Resistance defeat me in some of my past projects and almost defeated me with respect to One Foot In Reality. I had reached a point earlier this month, where I was going to give up writing on One Foot In Reality, just when it was starting to be somewhat successful. This section of the book made me stop and reflect about what I was actually doing with my blog and why I was abandoning it.
“Do The Work” made me stop and think about what I need to do and do differently as a writer, because I am becoming one – slowly – but surely. I have to figure out “How bad do I want it and why do I want it?” Also I am going to add one more “What am I willing to do to be more successful?” Those are questions I have to answer.
I am glad that I took the time to read “Do the Work” by Steven Pressfield, at times it seemed as though he was writing directly for me and my needs to improve as a writer. His book made me stop and think about what I was doing with my own blog “One Foot In Reality”. I finally had a name for what I was unconsciously doing, I was letting Resistance take control of the path that I was choosing. You know the easy one, where you stop and just start over again with a different blog or don’t complete a project you have undertaken – as I have done in the past with my other blogs. Instead of staying in there and working hard to make a success of something that I had created or started. This time I am going stay in there and keep trying to make my blog more successful and get out of my own way.
If you are a writer, an artist or just someone who needs is having a difficult time finishing a project or are giving in to Resistance, “Do The Work” is a book well worth reading and will make you think about what you are actually doing.
4 out of 5 stars.
What have you done to make a difference today?