It’s Fan Friday again and instead of recommending one single book or one single website, I want to rave about one single person.
This person wrote the book The Legend of Baggar Vance. He’s also written 11 other books and 34 screenplays. This man is prolific. And insightful. And brutally honest.
This man is Steven Pressfield and you can find him writing online here. If you like what you read, I recommend you subscribe to his blog. In addition to being a writer, he’s also an expert on military history and ancient Greece. Some of his books are taught at West Point, Annapolis, Quantico, and the Naval War College.
Steven writes about the parallels between the life of the warrior and the life of the artist. One my favorite quotes of his is this one:
“It is one thing to study war, and another to live the warrior’s life.”
Three of his books are about the creative process:
- The War of Art
- Do the Work
- Turning Pro
I’ve read each of these books more than once, because I want/need to take his advice to heart. Steven is an expert about the creative process, and about the Resistance that gets in our way. He understands that creativity is at its heart about the war – yes war – between self-expression and fear. That fear is what he calls Resistance. That Resistance can show up in our lives in many forms, but all of it simply distracts us and prevents us from expressing our truest self.
And creativity isn’t just about traditional art like writing or painting or photography. Creativity can also be about leadership or entrepreneurship or athleticism.
Creativity is about living our truest possible life. To live a creative life means to embark on the hero’s journey. It means you must leave home, you must wander, struggle, suffer, and then finally return home a changed person.
Steven Pressfield believes we are all heroes and we are all artists.
And through his writing he seeks to inspire more people to “do the work” they were meant to do.
I love Steven Pressfield because he is brutally honest about the struggle of the creative life. He shares his own challenges and his own lessons and doesn’t pull any punches. It took him 17 years to finish his first novel. He worked minimum wage jobs for years and got divorced and was homeless.
But he came through on the other side of all that and he committed himself to becoming a writer. He made the mental shift from being an amateur to being a professional. Being a professional wasn’t ever about making money from publishing. Being a professional meant taking himself and his writing seriously, once and for all.
And I believe the world is better off because of his writing. I believe the world is always better off whenever anyone stays committed to their dream.
As Steven writes in Do The Work:
“I stand in awe of anyone who hatches a dream and who shows the guts to hang tough, all alone, and see it through to reality.”
It makes me happy that Steven Pressfield followed through on his dreams.
Today, on this Fan Friday, I hope you follow through on your dreams, no matter what tries to get in the way. I hope you find yourself inspired to do your work.