Month: May 2011

The Pain of Being Human

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

The Gnostics believed that exile was the psychological condition of the human being. It certainly feels that way to me. We’ve been talking about artists and addicts for the past couple of weeks. Not every artist is an addict, and certainly not every addict is an artist. But it seems to me that both share an acute, even excruciating sensitivity to the pain of being human—and both actively seek ways to overcome it, transcend it, or at least make it go away. What is the pain of being human? To me, it’s the condition of being suspended between two worlds…

Read More

“The Sea! The Sea!”

By Steven Pressfield | 18 Comments

Xenophon was an Athenian nobleman, warrior and writer from the fourth century B.C. Here’s a story: When Xenophon was a young man, he chanced to enter a narrow lane from one end at the same time that Socrates was entering from the other. It was just the two of them walking toward each other. Though Athens was a big city, its citizens interacted constantly in the Assembly and the agora; it’s a safe bet that the philosopher (who was probably about sixty at the time) recognized the young aristocrat by sight, even if the two had never been formally introduced.…

Read More

The Art of An Auction

By Shawn Coyne | 10 Comments

Our agent has called her client and informed her that she has a substantial pre-empt offer for her narrative nonfiction proposal. Should they take the deal on the table or roll the dice and wait for the results of the auction the agent has scheduled the next day? There are seven houses that have intimated that they are going to bid. The clock is ticking. The agent has to get back to the pre-empt offering publisher before 5:00 or the dinero falls off the table.  It’s 4:47 PM on a Tuesday.

Read More

The Artist and the Addict

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

The artist and the addict are not very far apart, are they? Often they’re one and the same. A blues musician or a painter can be an addict one minute and an artist the next. He can be an artist and an addict at the same time. On Tuesday you’re rocking the casbah; on Wednesday you’re checking in to Betty Ford. Why is that? “It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” If Bob Dylan is right in Gotta Serve Somebody (and I think he is), we all do have to…

Read More

This Week and Next

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

Thus endeth our series, The Warrior Ethos. To read the full book for free, click here. A “lightbox” will open. For those (like me) who are not 100% hip to lightboxes, they’re like e-books except you don’t need a Kindle or an iPad; you can read them on your regular laptop or desktop. Once you’re in the lightbox, open the window wide till you see PREVIOUS | NEXT in the lower left hand corner; then just “turn the pages.” Clicking on a page also turns it. There’s a CLOSE button in the lower right when you want to quit. The…

Read More

The Saturation Point

By Shawn Coyne | 4 Comments

To recap our hypothetical auction from last week, our agent has guided her client to create the best possible narrative nonfiction proposal she can. Putting her years of experience in book publishing to work, the agent has submitted the work to publishers and there is enough interest in the project that she’s set a closing (auction) date and time. Just when she and her client hunker down and wait it out until a mid-week day at high noon, an editor calls offering a “pre-empt.” What now? To best answer this question it’s best to take a step back and reconsider…

Read More

Resistance and Addiction

By Steven Pressfield | 39 Comments

Have you ever noticed that addicts are often extremely interesting people? Addiction itself is excruciatingly boring, in that it’s so predictable. The lies, the evasions, the transparent self-justification and self-exoneration. But the addict himself is often a colorful and compelling person. His story reads like a novel, packed with drama, intrigue, conflict and heartbreak. If the addict’s drug of choice is alcohol, the narrative is frequently one of job loss, domestic abuse, divorce, abandonment of children, bankruptcy. If Class One narcotics are the culprit, the tale often includes crime, the law, violence, even death. Of course we fallible mortals can…

Read More

“Take Me To the Wizard Files!”

By Steven Pressfield | 3 Comments

Below are some of the dusty tomes I studied in writing The Warrior Ethos. Does the word “arcane” ring a bell? Reading these is like getting beaten up with a bag of ball bearings. Trust me, if the library at Quantanamo Bay contained nothing but these books, there would be no need for “enhanced interrogation techniques.” The prisoners would sing like birds. “Please! No more! I’ll tell you anything you want!” I’m the opposite. I love this stuff.  Unearthing Frontinus’ The Strategemata deep in the library stacks, I was as psyched as Quentin Tarantino when he first got his hands…

Read More

Undulating Curves of Shifting Expectations

By Shawn Coyne | 27 Comments

Steve Pressfield and I have worked together in one form or another for almost fifteen years. I’ve been his editor, his publisher, his manager/agent, and his business partner. In that time he’s written ten books—seven novels and three works of nonfiction.  In all of those years, he’s been in the dark about exactly how an agent sells a book to a publisher. I learned this the other day when we were kibitzing on the phone. Since he started in this racket, he’s put his trust in the professionals he chose to work with and let them do their jobs without…

Read More

Seth Godin on the Domino Project

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

The Domino Project is a partnership between Seth Godin and amazon.com, in which together they find, commission, edit, design, print, advertise, market and distribute a specific type of book/audio/eBook that Seth calls a “manifesto.” The first such piece, published two months ago, was Seth’s Poke the Box; the second, two weeks ago, was my Do the Work. In last week’s post, I offered my own befogged take on what the Domino Project is, what it represents, and what were some of the possible implications of this model for all of us artists and entrepreneurs going into the future. Continuing that…

Read More

FREE MINI COURSE

Start with this War of Art [27-minute] mini-course. It's free. The course's five audio lessons will ground you in the principles and characteristics of the artist's inner battle.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.