“You have to write the book that wants to be written. And if the book will be too difficult for grown-ups, then you write it for children.”
~Madeleine L’Engle

Cat Talk with Steven Pressfield, Author of “Do The Work”

Steven Pressfield, a dear friend, wrote a short manifesto, Do The Work.  The title of the book actually answers so many questions. It is Do The Work, not Read About The Work, or Tell Your Cat About The Work, or Think About The Work. 

Cat Talk with Steven Pressfield

Do The Work, is written as though Steven Pressfield is your personal coach. Mr.Pressfield, or Mr. Steve, will help you from your beginning idea to the end of your project, when you finally ship. And this book is not just for humans and cats who are writers. Do The Work is for anyone who wants to fight resistance: to lose weight, start a business, dance ballet, or write a story.

I asked Mr. Steve only three questions, following the example of my typist who has interviewed Steven Pressfield before about his books, The War of Art, and Turning Pro. Both excellent books.

It would be foolish to ask Mr. Steve questions that the book answers, and it would also be foolish to ask him the same questions that Ishita Gupta did in her excellent interview for The Domino Project, when the book, Do The Work was first released.
Cat Talk with Steven Pressfield

Three questions I Didn’t ask Steven Pressfield

Asking Mr. Steve questions that I already know the answers to from reading his book and reading other interviews, would be like asking a genie for three bags of cat litter.

Why would I waste a question asking, “Mr. Steve, when is the best time to start?” When he says on page eighteen of Do The Work, “Start before you are ready.”

If I asked Mr. Steve if I should dawdle and take my time writing my manuscript, he could just tell me to read page thirty-seven of Do The Work. “One rule for first full working drafts: get them done ASAP. Don’t worry about quality. Act, don’t reflect. Momentum is everything.”

And if I asked him, “What is the most critical part of a project.” Mr. Steve could point me to page eighty-six. “Why does Seth Godin place so much emphasis on shipping? Because finishing is the critical part of any project. If we can’t finish all our work is for nothing.”
Cat Talk With Steven Pressfield

Three questions I really want to ask Steven Pressfield.


Do you have a set time each day when you write Mr. Steve? The reason I ask, Is it easier to fight resistance when you have a set schedule for writing, so the making of a habit makes fighting resistance easier?


Yes. I have a time and I stick to it religiously for exactly the reason you cite: because “habit is a mighty ally” (see Twyla Tharp’s wonderful book, “The Creative Habit”) and treating writing just like a job helps to overcome Resistance. I go to the gym early each morning (another activity that elicits high levels of Resistance) and I notice that the same people are there every day at the exact same time. You can set your watch by them (and by me, because I’m the same.) They are enlisting habit to help them overcome Resistance. it works.


If you could tell a beginning writer, human or cat, one thing to encourage them. What would it be?


It took me about seven years of running away from writing before I realized what Resistance was and how it had ruined my life. During that seven years, I had a divorce, I went totally broke (blah blah etc.) In other words, the ALTERNATIVE to Doing The Work is, for me, total unhappiness and personal dissolution. Kinda like a recovering alcoholic, I know that I can’t take even one drink, i.e. sloughing off and not doing my work.

It’s kind of a negative way of looking at it, but that’s the truth for me.

A shorter way of saying it: Pooh, if you are a real writer you have no choice. You have to confront your talent or die.


On Amazon Do The Work has 512 reviews, of these, 332 are five-star reviews and 29 are one star reviews. How do you fight the fear of shipping when not every one gets your message? I would rather cough up a hairball than get a negative review.


A professional writer (or actor or director or athlete) does not read reviews. I don’t give a damn what anybody thinks of me. Hemingway himself once said you can’t read reviews because “if you believe them when they tell you you’re great, you have to believe them when they tell you you’re a bum.”

More important: those people who gave the one-star reviews are WITHOUT DOUBT failed writers or artists themselves. They are giving that low-ball review out of pure jealousy and envy, because they have NOT done their own work. How do I know that? Because “Do The Work” may not be the greatest book in the world but for sure it is not a “one star” book. If you’ll forgive my language, Pooh, when someone posts a one-star review, they are saying “F*%k you” to the writer. Why would anyone do that? Only out of jealousy and (unconscious) self-hatred. If they were truly rating the book objectively, they might give it three stars or two, but not one.

Hope that helps. My best to Ms. Pamela.

Keep on writing, Pooh!


Cat Talk With Steven Pressfield


Now, Go Do the Work

Steven Pressfield is a warrior.  In his book Do The Work, Mr. Steve gives us the weapons we need to fight and slay our own dragons. Create, Finish, and Ship.

If I lived closer to Mr. Steve I would bring him a mouse.

I know Mr. Pressfield doesn’t read reviews. But, please let me tell you, my dear friends. I  give this book a five mouse rating. If you want to finish what you started, read Do The Work, and then, do the work. 

Cat Talk With Steven Pressfield


For practice today please continue writing on a project you are having trouble finishing. If I could, I would come over and help you fight resistance. But, this is one battle you have to fight on your own. I will cheer you on! You can do it! Keep working on it, don’t give up!

Write for fifteen minutes then share your story here in the comments section.

Please be kind and read someone else’s story and make a comment. Let us encourage each another to do the work.

All my best,
Love Pooh

About Pooh Hodges

Pooh Hodges is the cat who writes. He is an author, an entrepreneur and a visionary. He dictates to his typist every morning before he takes a nap in a sunbeam. He is currently writing his memoir, a tragic tale of loss and redemption. Pooh would love to be your friend and he would love to connect with you on his blog, thecatwhowrites.com

  • Loved your interview – here’s a piece I’m refining from my memoir – I started with background and realized it was boring, so went right to the action – With a group of friends from Church of All Worlds (CAW) a neo-pagan group, we visited a witchcraft coven in Chicago called the Temple of the Pagan Way – I was married, considering leaving husband, a witch doctor named John Hansen suggested I visit this coven (this is all spelled out in previous chapter) – hope this works.

    I pull a string of cheese from the corner of my mouth and take another bite of pepperoni pizza. Could I fit in here? Herman Enderle, Ginny Bruebaker, and Donna Cole look so
    self-assured. Can I find a job and live on my own if I leave Tiny? So many questions, too few answers.

    I catch the end of something Ginny says, “…ten week course to prospective
    members. If they pass, we initiate them into our coven and real training

    What if I fail?

    “What kinds of classes?” Julie asks.

    “Basic circle casting,” Ginny pushes a strand of hair behind her ear, “invocations,
    history of the order, making and charging magical tools. Stuff like that.”

    Oh Goddess, I’ve got to move here no matter what it takes. Will Tiny let me do it? Will he pay my way? Our relationship’s disintegrating. We’re more like roommates instead of a married couple. He’d be happier with his new heartthrob, Brenda. Why didn’t I listen to Doctor … ”

    Julie pokes me, “Earth to Heather.”

    I pull my mind back to the present.

    Julie stands and holds out her hand to help me up. “We’re getting a tour of Herman’s
    private Temple. Want to come?”

    “Is the Pope Catholic? Does a bear shit in the woods?” I follow my fellow CAW members, Tim, Julie, Tiny, Caroline, and Solon down the hallway of Herman’s apartment.

    Herman opens a door. The aroma of rose incense saturates the hallway. I also detect
    frankincense and a scent I can’t identify. A tall red votive candle burns on the lavishly decorated altar. Besides the usual ritual tools, natural items like animal skulls, pinecones, and feathers are scattered on its surface. On the floor before the altar, huge vases draped with colorful beads sit on flat stones. Ashtrays with cigars, bottles of rum, seashells, and bowls of candy are set near the vases.

    I point to the vases. “What are those?”

    “The Orishas, or Santeria gods, Herman says. “I was initiated and keep my gods here.
    They guard my temple. Heaven help any unauthorized visitors.”

    To the right and left of the altar stand six-foot pillars, one painted white and the other black. Shelves with labeled jars of incense and herbs line the far wall. In front of the Orishas sits a pot of a grungy looking liquid with twiggy herbs floating on the surface.

    Herman ladles some of the dun colored water into a bowl and hands it to us. “I’ll put
    this in the bathroom for you to use in your purification shower before the ceremony begins. Take a bit and sprinkle it over your body. Shower without soap, and let your body air dry.”

    “Smells like swamp water,” Tiny says.

    Herman laughs. “May smell bad, but it’s a potent cleansing water used for ritual baths
    and purification.”

    Robes of every color in the rainbow hang in a closet across from the altar. I’m wowed
    by the shelves and shelves of occult books. Some look ancient.

    “I want a library like that,” I tell Herman.

    “I’ve been building my collection for years. Some of these books have been passed
    down for many generations in the order I belong to.”

    “I’d give anything to thumb through those books.”

    “In time,” Herman says, “after you move here.”

    Does he know something I don’t? Did John Hansen talk to him?

  • Christine

    Loved this post and yes it helps me to fight my resistance. I don’t even know why I am resisting. I love writing. I have four books that need editing and polishing and two more in limbo. UGH…just do it.

  • I love this post, in part because of Pooh of course, but also I just read The War of Art and found it to be so inspiring.

  • Gary G Little

    Ok, I wrote for 15 minutes and I wrote about something that I know, so folks, here it is. Pardon the formatting but a brief computer subroutine follows and typical editors are lousy when it comes to writing software.

    Everyone says write what you know about. Ok … for 40 years I wrote software. Do I write about boolean logic? That’s just 1 and 0, like a light switch. It’s either on or off. Let me see, I just finished reading the biography of Allen Turing, and I continually had eureka moments as I was able to relate what I was doing in my early career to what Turing was creating in the late 30’s. One thing I remembered was how to perform binary multiplication using the following pseudo code:

    int multiplicand = 11, multiplier = 3, accumulator=0;

    for (accumulator=0; (multiplicand != 0); multiplier = multiplier <> 1;
    Console.WriteLine (accumulator);

    Ok, so that is not pseudo code; that is live code, but if you load it into a C# development system and then run it through a debugger you can indeed see how it works. Simply stated, if you take the multiplicand and shift it right, any time the number becomes odd you add the multiplier back to itself and then always shift the multiplier right. Once there ain’t no more bits in the multiplicand, your done!!

    Oh wait, you have no idea what a bit is. So look at your left hand. Count each finger as a bit. Close your fist and no bits are on. Open a finger and that bit is on. If the little finger is always 1, the next finger two, the next four and the index finger 8, then if all bits are on, all fingers extended, you add 1 and 2 and 4 and 8, totaling 15. Three would then be one and two, the pinkie and the next finger. So eleven would be 8 and 2 and 1, and since 1 is on its an odd number. Shift things right, and away goes 1, 8 becomes 4 and 2 becomes 1 again so you have 5, which is odd. Hey, I only had 15 minutes to describe all this so what do you want?

  • Pooh, thank you for talking with Mr. Steve. I’ve read all of his writing books. I’ve found them immensely helpful. Even when I disagree with him, as I sometimes do, that disagreement makes me think through what I really think and believe. And as far as starting before you’re ready and having a routine, I couldn’t agree more. I’m also a huge admirer of Ms. Tharp’s The Creative Habit. Maybe you could ask her three questions sometime? Now I’m off to do the practice. Thanks, Pooh. Where did you buy your tie? I have a cat who would look great in one just like it.

  • Hey Pooh,

    I ADORE Steven Pressfield and was thrilled to your interview here. I’m especially grateful that you asked him about review (both five-star and one-star) and his response was BRILLIANT!

    Really, a great post. TY.