By Steven Pressfield | Published: August 18, 2010
I’m going to try something different this week. Instead of one full-length post that stays up for seven days, I’m gonna do short, one-a-day “journal entries.” A new one will go up Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, all week. The reason I’m trying this this week is that, in my real writing life, I’m just now plunging in on the last ten or twelve pages of the novel I’ve been working on for the past three years. I’m thinking that a real-time, “under the helmet” look at one writer’s process might be of interest.
To implement this, I’m going to borrow the concept from John Steinbeck’s Journal of a Novel (an early-AM diary he kept while writing East of Eden) and do these short posts as warmups each morning. When I’m ready to work, I’ll stop the post and sign off till tomorrow.
Okay. Here’s what’s going on inside me right now re finishing this book:
Resistance is monumental; I feel it like a massive brick of fear. But I have three things, at least, working in my favor.
1) I know from experience that Resistance always puts on a full-court press when the finish line heaves into view. So I’m ready for it. I’m not surprised. I know that those voices in my head that say, “What if you screw this up … what if you can’t pull off this climax, etc.” are pure Resistance. They are not thoughts, they are “thoughts.”
I dismiss them. They are lies and bullshit.
2) I also know from experience that the alternative to doing my work is a hundred times worse than the pain or fear of doing it. I remember vividly the seven years when I did yield to fear and Resistance—and the hell it was for me and for people I loved. I can hear the whip crack. The fear of not doing it is stronger than the fear of doing it.
It’s kind of like finding yourself a thousand feet below the summit of Everest, with a 26,000-foot sheer drop-off beneath you. There’s no real option. It’s climb or die.
3) I’m a professional who has faced this stuff down a thousand times. I will plunge in and give it my all.
That’s the warmup for today. See you tomorrow.