Don’t Think. Act.

June 10, 2011by

There are many remarkable statements in Steven Pressfield’s Do the Work, a handbook of sage advice and encouragement for any creative project.

One in particular stood out to me, though, and not just for the value of its message. This statement had a poetic quality to it, and so I decided to lay it out in the form of a found poem.

A child has no trouble believing
the unbelievable,
nor does the genius
the madman.

It’s only you and I,
with our big brains
and tiny hearts
who doubt
and overthink and

Don’t think. Act.

The literary design of poetry changes the way we perceive a piece of text, using line breaks and punctuation to slow the reader down, get them to pay closer attention to the words, and help them see a statement from various angles. It’s a way of letting the meaning of a profound statement like this one from Pressfield sink in more deeply.

After organizing the lines poetically, it occurred to me some visual elements might be helpful here as well. Without over thinking all the possibilities, I got to work on the first thing that came to mind:

  • For the canvass, a desktop wallpaper – a good place for an inspiring word to provide some creative re-orientation on occasion.
  • For the background, and earthy gradient to align with the brilliant Van Gough painting adorning the cover of Do the Work
  • Use the book itself for imagery – a good contemplative object, necessary for anything worthy of desktop status.
  • Typography to match the spirit of Pressfield’s message throughout the book – here I used a rugged typewriter font for the bulk of the poem (Traveling Typewriter by Carl Krull), then one resembling old typewriter keys for the ‘key’ message of the quote(Type Keys by Ronna Penner).

And here’s the final product. Click the image to enlarge, and feel free to right click and “Save image as…” if you’d like to use it for your own desktop. Also, drop me a line at if you’d like a different resolution.


If you haven’t read Do the Work, it’s an incredible manual to help guide you through any kind of creative project, anything from constructing a painting to starting a business. You can find more of my thoughts on it here.