Month: July 2011

The Change Up #1 Revisited

By Callie Oettinger | 5 Comments

Thank you for all the comments and e-mails that followed last week’s What It Takes post. I’ve spent the past week thinking about what I wrote, why I wrote it, and how I feel about the responses. Seth Godin mentioned that Steve’s books are gifts. I agree. Change up the old Hair Club for Men line, to: I don’t just work with Steve, but I’m a fan, too.

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Worthy Thoughts and Unworthy Thoughts

By Steven Pressfield | 38 Comments

I’ve been on the road for the past three weeks. That’s never good for me. Though I’ve seen a bunch of friends I wanted to see and done a lot of stuff that needed to be done, I find myself (right now in the United lounge at JFK) flagging and faltering. I can’t work when I’m traveling. The toll it takes is on my spirit. Unworthy thoughts pile up, unalleviated by worthy ones. I don’t know about you but when I wake up in the morning, all kinds of incendiary crap is rolling around in my head. Grievances, complaints, bitching…

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“With The Old Breed”

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

E.B. Sledge was a Marine mortarman on Peleliu and Okinawa in WWII. His first-person memoir, With The Old Breed (that he reconstructed from notes scribbled in a New Testament he carried with him throughout the fighting), stands with the very best combat narratives not just from World War II, but from any war in history. Ken Burns (who drew extensively from Sledge’s text for his celebrated PBS documentary, The War) wrote, ” … in all the literature of the Second World War, there is not a more honest, realistic or moving memoir. This is the real deal, the real war;…

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The Change Up #1: Six Months and Three Books

By Callie Oettinger | 13 Comments

Steve finished The Profession. Seth Godin contacted Steve about the The Domino Project.

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Hemingway on Fiction, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

Again with thanks to Jonathan Fields, here’s the continuation of George Plimpton’s famous interview of Ernest Hemingway from the Paris Review, Summer 1958. (To read Part One, click here. And here for the full interview). INTERVIEWER Would you admit to there being symbolism in your novels? HEMINGWAY I suppose there are symbols since critics keep finding them. If you do not mind I dislike talking about them and being questioned about them. It is hard enough to write books and stories without being asked to explain them as well. Also it deprives the explainers of work. If five or six…

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The Gulag Archipelago

By Steven Pressfield | 5 Comments

Special thanks to Tina McCann for sending in this piece on the great Russian writer, Alexandr Solzhenitsyn, author of One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, The Gulag Archipelago, Cancer Ward and The First Circle. The post is in two sections. The first (short) one is from Solzhenitsyn’s autobiographical The Oak and The Calf. In it, he “recalls how he ‘wrote’ in the camps, where writing was forbidden—and how vulnerable his work was.” The second section is from Solzhenitsyn’s Nobel Prize lecture. Here is an artist—and a man—who towers over just about everybody: From The Oak and the Calf:…

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Hemingway on the Art of Fiction

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

Many thanks to Jonathan Fields for forwarding this interview from the Paris Review, Spring 1958 issue, between Ernest Hemingway and (referring to himself only as “Interviewer”) George Plimpton, the magazine’s founder and editor. This is quite a famous conversation; I’ve read it myself a number of times over the years. If you haven’t been exposed to it, it’s definitely worth your time. Here’s the link to the full interview. If I don’t get any cease-and-desist notes from the Paris Review (it’s still alive and well—click the link in the first sentence), we’ll post the continuation in this space next week. INTERVIEWER…

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The War I Always Wanted

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

Of all the excellent non-fiction accounts written by participants in America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, one of the most underappreciated is Brandon Friedman’s The War I Always Wanted. That’s a great title, isn’t it? I suspect that was part of the problem. Mr. Friedman, an infantry lieutenant in the 101st Airborne, takes a point of view that is decidedly non-hero-centric, if there is such a word. His account is war as he actually found it and not as he had secretly always wished it would be. I’m a big fan of The War I Always Wanted. I’d love to…

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Wintertime in Nashville

By Shawn Coyne | 4 Comments

After a compelling prologue, the next section of the narrative nonfiction proposal that I recommend is an overview.  While the prologue is the SHOW—a representation of how the final manuscript will read—the overview is the TELL. This is the section in which the writer explains to the readers of the proposal (an editor, a marketing director, a publicity director and a publisher) why this particular story is: a unique addition to the subject arena, appealing to a critical mass of targeted readers, promotable for multiple media outlets, and commercially viable with major upside potential. Rather than throw out a bunch…

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A Tale from the Trenches

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

Todd Henry is a friend. He started in the creative/entrepreneurial field in 1995 with a tour of duty in the music biz, working as a marketer, writer and creative director. By 2005 he had launched his own company, Accidental Creative, working independently with creative people and teams. By then he had evolved his own unique philosophy (several of whose precepts I borrowed and use myself), which he pulled together last year into his first book, The Accidental Creative: How To Be Brilliant At a Moment’s Notice, which is terrific and which will be published tomorrow.  Todd and I sat down a…

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