Do The Work. Or It’ll Do You

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More than a decade ago, author Steve Pressfield released a little book called The War of Art that went on to sell a zillion copies.

But more importanty, it gave a name to what so many writers and creators of all ilk feel—Resistance—when striving to birth something worthy of a pulse. That nagging, at times snarling internal push back against the work. And he shared an approach to harnessing Resistance that resonated with me and so many others.

In fact, it was part of the inspiration for my next book. And it led me to reach out to Steve last year as I dove deeper into my own process. Over organic pancakes in a little cafe on the north side of Santa Monica, Steve and I talked about all things Resistance, about his life, where he came from, where he’s going and what his more recent thoughts are on the topic.

Which is why I was so excited to see his new collaboration with Seth Godin’s crew over at The Domino ProjectDo The Work.

What is it? As Seth shares:

“It’s a prequel, sequel and manifesto-companion to one of the best books I have ever read, The War of Art. This new one is the one you can hand out to your co-workers and your students and even your boss.”

It’s short, it’s punchy, it’s raw, it’s real and it brings new ideas and discoveries into the conversation. Things like a deeper exploration of the opposite of Resistance (you’ll have to read it to learn the name). And how to frame an entire endeavor on a single sheet of foolscap. New examples and a broader perspective that expand and speak not just to writers, but to creators of any and everything also help frame the conversation.

Do The Work is a wider open window into one of the truest, and most giving creative minds of our time. It’s a book that wraps around The War of Art.

Interesting, too, while Steve and I are very likeminded about what we experience as creators, we come at understanding, sourcing and treating the challenge from very different places. Which I love.

I look for the science behind the internal creative push back, on a quest to reveal, befriend, embrace and harness the wizard behind the curtain. To me, I’m striving for a more a methodical deconstruction and reconstruction. Steve works straight from the heart and the gut. He gives a name to the monster in your head and shares a set of tools to bring into battle.

Sometimes I agree, sometimes not. And other times I agree on the tool, but have a different perspective on why it works or how to use it differently. Doesn’t matter in the end. Steve’s perspective inspires me go deeper into my own exploration, and there’s immense value in re-opening that conversation.

Grab a copy of Do The Work. Follow Steve on twitter. And go read his blog, where and his team take you behind their creative process and reveal the nitty-gritty fueling his next big fiction launch—The Profession. If you happen to be a fiction author wondering how to leverage a blog or twitter to help build your tribe, pay close attention to how Steve does it. Pure genius.

And if you ever have a chance to do organic blueberry pancakes with him…run, don’t walk (though never with scissors).



[FTC Disclosure – Steve is a friend. My recollection is that when we had breakfast, he paid. Breakfast was yummy. Really yummy. You all know I can be bought with good food and great company, so you should weight that heavily in anything I say. You should also always assume that pretty much every link on this blog is an affiliate link and that if you click it, find something you like and buy it, I’m gonna make some serious money. Now, understand this, I’m not talking chump change, I’m talking huge windfall in commissions, bling up the wazoo and all sorts of other free stuff. I may even be given a mansion and a yacht, though honestly I’d settle most of the time for some organic dark chocolate and clean socks. Oh, and if I mention a book or some other product, just assume I got a review copy of it gratis and that me getting it has completely biased everything I say. Because, books are like a drug to me, put one in my hand and you own me. Ethics be damned! K, you’ve been warned. Huggies and butterflies. ]

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16 responses

16 responses to “Do The Work. Or It’ll Do You”

  1. I really love the War of Art so I’ll be putting this new one on my Kindle too.

    As I’ve had a lot of issues with resistance writing this latest book, I’ll definitely be paying attention to what he has to say!

  2. Too bad I’m not a Kindle person – it’s free – but the print versions are OTW. Of course, their arrival will be perfectly timed as I move forward with my ever evolving plans to blast reticence into oblivion.
    Thanks for helping!

  3. dave r. says:

    thank you for the info..i sincerely appreciate it and will use it.

  4. gerry suchy says:

    If resistance can be thought of as a disease, then “Do the Work” is most certainly the literary equivalent of a pharmaceutical breakthrough in it’s treatment and cure. Thank you so much Jonathan for bringing this to my attention.


  5. Sean Cook says:

    Thanks for sharing. Sounds like an awesome book.


  6. I was reading this in bed last night – snagged a free copy for my Kindle when Steve and Seth made the offer to the Domino tribe. So glad I did … it’s something every creative person should read. And then read again. And again. And maybe once more for good measure. Resistance doesn’t ever give up, neither can we. This little book is the perfect sustenance to keep us going for the long haul.

  7. Sharyn says:

    To Kathy Van Kleeck,
    If you have an email address and any one of 7 kinds of electronic devices, then you are a Kindle person. You can order a Kindle ebook and read it on any of those 7 devices — say your PC, your MAC, your iPhone, your iPad.
    You’ll have to download the app (free from Amazon) for Kindle on your device. Check it out at Amazon.
    The Kindle world is a big one — and no better way to get to know it than with Do the Work.
    Have a good time — sharyn

  8. Kristi Hines says:

    I just read another review about this book about how the strategies can be applied to blogging.

    Between that and your review, I’m sold on it as I have the occasional writers blockage myself. Huggies and butterflies to you for sharing your thoughts, even if breakfast bribery was involved. 🙂

  9. Jonathan, it’s funny how just reading the words “internal Resistance” reminds me to remain consciously aware that I experience said Resistance — and that I need to fight it! I definitely relate to the idea of giving the monster a name and then picking up weapons to ward it off and drive it back.

    But sometimes, I forget that the monster is there. I lay my weapons down, forgetting that I’m in danger. And we all know what happens next.

    So thanks for that reminder, as well as the reminder about The War of Art itself. I haven’t read it, but a friend recommended it to me. Guess I need to pay attention and grab a copy. 🙂

  10. Marie davis says:

    Somehow, I’m feeling lucky. I don’t usually have resistance from projects. Maybe, I don’t clearly understand? In 25 years working as a professional artist I do have some slag I’ve developed for the difficult times. Sometimes I say, stop awfulizing, or get the start going, or finishing is its own art form. You can imagine when wrinkles come and these come in handy.

  11. […] But it’s really about Steven Pressfield’s new release from Domino Project, Do the Work. Some of you may know Pressfield as the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, but since you’re reading this blog, you probably more likely to know him as the author of The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles. To learn more about this his new release, check in with Jonathan Fields who believes that you have to Do The Work. Or It’ll Do You. […]

  12. Thanks for the recommendation – must check it out!

  13. Ivy says:

    That FTC disclosure made me laugh so hard…

  14. John says:

    Seth Godin has done a lot for those of us who are building a business, and I have not yet read “The War of Art” but am reading “Do The Work” and enjoying it. Should have it done by the end of the weekend.

  15. Jonathan,

    This book is something that I am interested in reading. We all have inner resistance to life and circumstances and it would be awesome to find ways to overcome it.

  16. Mark Kelly says:

    I may have to check that book out to learn some new tips for overcoming resistance. Sort of sounds like overcoming gravity when I put it like that but we know others are doing it so it is possible.