Derek Sivers
from the book “Hell Yeah or No”:

Saying no to everything else


Steven Pressfield called himself an author for years, but he’d never actually finished a book. Eventually, the psychological pain of not finishing kept building until he couldn’t stand it anymore. He decided to finally beat the devil he calls “The Resistance”.

He created a situation with no escape. He rented a cabin, brought his typewriter, and shut off all other options.

He said,

“I didn’t talk to anybody during that year… I didn’t hang out. I just worked. I had a book in mind and I had decided I would finish it or kill myself. I could not run away again, or let people down again, or let myself down again. This was it, do or die.”

After a difficult year of wrestling with those inner demons and avoiding all temptations, he did it. He finished his first book. It wasn’t a success, but it didn’t matter. He had finally beat The Resistance. He went on to write many successful novels.

He told this story in the great book Turning Pro, the third in his series of little books about the creative struggle, including The War of Art and Do the Work. Read all three.

Hell yeah or no” is a filter you can use to decide what’s worth doing. But this is simpler and more serious. This is a decision to stop deciding. It’s one decision, in advance, that the answer to all future distractions is “no” until you finish what you started. It’s saying yes to one thing, and no to absolutely everything else.