20110420

Book Review: Do The Work, by Steven Pressfield


St. George and the Dragon,
Cassell's Mag. of Art Ill. 1878,
link: fromoldbooks.org

You are the knight. Resistance is the Dragon

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I have just finished reading Do the Work, by Steven Pressfield. Just in under one hour I went from start to finish, with a sense of non-rushing: it is a short book. A long manifesto, somehow. But it will kick your ass. I had been waiting for it since Steven told me about it in one of our email exchanges for Focused Interview with Steven Pressfield... An interview I wanted to do since writing my review of The War of Art. Got up, had breakfast, synced my Kindle and reading time ahead. Go download it for your device, it is free!

When I read The War of Art I had the same feeling, but being a longer book somehow it diluted across the days. Now I feel like a working high, I have to do something, and do it now. Well, later, first this review.

The book starts with some excerpts from The War of Art, aimed at identifying who is this mighty opponent: Resistance. Yes, with capital R. If you have read it already, these will be quick: you already have named your enemy and are ready to fight. Then the real deal begins: What is the best time to start?

The first mind-shattering question in this book has an interesting answer: Start before you're ready. Quoting from the book:
Good things happen when we start before we're ready. For one thing, we show huevos. Our blood heats up. Courage begets more courage.
The War of Art was written for writers and novelists, although it can be read by anyone in a creative endeavour, the style was aimed at them. Do the Work is slightly different: it approaches writers but encompasses almost everything (businessperson, entrepreneur, writer, researcher?). And tells you how to split your big ode to the world into something as simple as writing in a small piece of paper the three acts of your work. You can read this in Steven's blog here, he posted it as an article last Wednesday. Then you have to finish this 3 act structure... Begin with the end, fill the gaps and ship it. Sounds easy? No way!

First you'll have to learn to silence the inner critic, letting your creativity flow. If you've read The New Drawing on the Right Side of the Brain you know what I'm talking about here, if not... Why don't you pick up drawing in your free time? Now, your creativity may flow for a while, you're humming and singing and doing and then... You'll hit a wall. It's like a law of the universe. Solve it and finish. And finishing will get as hard as it gets: our greatest fear is fear of success.

All in all, a very good booklet and with a price tag of 0 it is far, far better. I highly recommend it, but if you have not read The War of Art, it is very well worth the money, at least from my point of view. If you are interested but not convinced, you can read my review of The War of Art.

I hope you enjoyed this quick review, and more so the book. If you did, please spread the word!
Written by Ruben Berenguel