“Creative work is…a gift to the world and every being in it. Don’t cheat us of your contribution. Give us what you’ve got.” – Steven Pressfield
How does bestselling author Steven Pressfield defeat Resistance, master his craft, and produce creative works of art on a regular basis?
He puts in his time and hits it with all he’s got on a daily basis.
That’s a much different story than waiting for inspiration or creative genius to strike.
He doesn’t focus on page count or quality. Instead, he focuses on giving his best where he’s got his best to give during the core hours of his day that he calls work.
In The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles, Steven Pressfield walks through what a typical day of writing is like, how he finds inspiration, and how he defeats Resistance. Let’s take a look at “a day in the life” of Steven Pressfield…
The Morning Preparation
We all have our morning routines. Here’s how Steven Pressfield prepares for the day ahead…
“I get up, take a shower, have breakfast. I read the paper, brush my teeth. If I have phone calls to make, I make them.
I‘ve got my coffee now. I put on my lucky work boots and stich up the lucky laces that my niece Meredith gave me.
I head back to my office, crank up the computer.
My lucky charm I got from the gypsy in Saintes-Maries-d-la-Mer for only eight bucks in francs, and my lucky LARGO nametag that came from a dream I once had.
I put it on. “
The passage describes Steven Pressfield’s morning routine and preparation for the day ahead. He starts by going through his regular morning activities like taking a shower, having breakfast, reading the paper, and making phone calls if needed.
Then, he puts on his “lucky” work boots and laces that were given to him by his niece.
He heads back to his office, turns on his computer, and wears his lucky charm, which he acquired from a gypsy, along with his lucky nametag that came from a dream he had.
These items serve as personal symbols or reminders that hold meaning for Pressfield and help set the tone for his work.
I Start My Day
Pressfield starts his day by firing inspiration into himself from his lucky cannon.
“On my thesaurus is my lucky cannon that my friend Bob Versandi gave me from Morro Castle, Cuba. I point it toward my chair so it can fire inspiration into me.
I say my prayer, which is the Invocation of the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey, translation by T.E. Lawrence, Lawrence of Arabia, which my dear mate Paul Rink gave me and which sits near my shelf with the cuff links that belonged to my father and my lucky acorn from the battlefield at Thermopylae.
It’s about ten-thirty now.”
The passage describes how Steven Pressfield starts his day by invoking inspiration and connecting with meaningful objects.
He positions his lucky cannon, a gift from his friend, in a way that symbolizes firing inspiration into himself.
He recites a prayer called the Invocation of the Muse from Homer’s Odyssey, which was given to him by his friend Paul Rink.
Nearby, he keeps his father’s cuff links and a lucky acorn from the battlefield at Thermopylae, all of which hold personal significance to him.
These rituals and objects create a sacred space for Pressfield to connect with inspiration, history, and personal memories before diving into his work.
I End My Day
He writes until he hits the point of diminishing returns.
“I sit down and plunge in. When I start making typos, I know I’m getting tired. That’s four hours or so.
I’ve hit the point of diminishing returns. I wrap for the day.
Copy whatever I’ve done to disk and stash the disk in the glove compartment of my truck in case there’s a fire and I have to run for it. I power down. It’s three-thirty.
The office is closed. “
The passage describes how Steven Pressfield ends his day of work. He immerses himself in his writing, pushing through until he reaches a point where he starts making typos, indicating fatigue.
This typically takes around four hours of focused work.
Pressfield recognizes this as the point of diminishing returns, acknowledging that continuing beyond this point would be less productive. He concludes his work for the day, making a backup copy of his progress on a disk and storing it in his truck for safekeeping.
He shuts down his computer and acknowledges that the office is now closed, signifying the end of his workday.
I’ve Put in My Time and Hit it With All I’ve Got
The pages and quality will take care of themselves. What’s important is that he’s defeat Resistance for the day.
”How many pages have I produced? I don’t care. Are they any good? I don’t even think about it.
All that matters is I’ve put in my time and hit it with all I’ve got.
All that counts is that, for this day, for this session I have overcome Resistance.”
In this passage, Steven Pressfield emphasizes the importance of showing up and putting in the effort rather than fixating on the outcome or the quality of the work produced.
He doesn’t concern himself with the number of pages or whether they are good. What truly matters to him is that he has dedicated his time and given his best effort.
The primary focus is on overcoming Resistance, the inner force that seeks to hinder creative endeavors.
By committing to the process and giving it his all, Pressfield finds satisfaction in knowing that he has triumphed over Resistance for that day and session.
Schedule Your Inspiration
What’s the moral of the story?
Don’t wait for inspiration. Schedule it.
And hit your day with all you’ve got.
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