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Creative work is not a selfish act or a bid for attention on the part of the actor. It’s 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, The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield is an incredible read for overcoming resistance to tackling creative projects. It’s an earlier, extended version of his incisive Do the Work. I used it the last year to help me establish a rhythm for a new project I’m was launching.

I’m always amazed just how many distractions my mind will conjure up to avoid working on a project I care about, especially in the early stages. At first, these distractions make sense. They are, after all, things that need to be done … eventually. And didn’t Thomas Jefferson have Personal Rule #1:

Never put off till tomorrow what you can do to-day.

So it makes total sense that today will be the day that I sort my emails, organize my photos, and check my credit card statement for fraud.

Then a week goes by with nothing to show for it.

The project’s at a standstill. Dark clouds start forming over my head.

Whenever I get one solid week like this, I know it; I feel it. Suddenly, all kinds of guilty pleasures creep in — junk food, sugar, that cup of coffee after lunch. Life itself starts to feel imbalanced; the wheels are coming off the cart. My day job suffers. My sleep gets restless. I’ve had this feeling so many times in my life that I now have the name for it, thanks to Mr. Pressfield:


And when I know I’m battling Resistance, it’s game time. It’s time to lace up my shoes, pull myself up off the floor and get started. Even if it I only sit down for 5 minutes to write. Even if I just design one section of a web page. I win. Resistance loses. Half the battle is showing up.

Just like exercise, if you can run for 5 minutes, you’ll probably run for a half-hour. If you start lifting weights with one set, you’ll eventually finish all your sets.

It only takes one step: The first one.