Month: July 2012

It’s All About The Cookies

By Callie Oettinger | 5 Comments

I used to hang out with Customer Service’s evil twin Customer Hell. You might know him. He deflects problems like Roger Federer does tennis balls—he sends them in directions you aren’t expecting, until  you waste hours of time, scrambling to sort things out. After years of being around him—whether at the phone company, the TV company, with home contractors (he gets around)—I picked up a few fleas. When things didn’t go right, I raised my voice, gave curt, sarcastic answers, belittled.  It was the only way I knew how to deal with Customer Hell. And then I screwed up and…

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Inside the All Is Lost Moment

By Steven Pressfield | 28 Comments

We were talking last week about an All Is Lost Moment coming immediately before a Turning Pro moment. We cited Rocky, The Hangover and Big Night as examples. Sounds arcane, I know. Hang in with me. In a movie, the All Is Lost moment is that crisis (usually two-thirds to four-fifths of the way through the story) where the hero hits the wall. He has failed in all his efforts to attain his objective; he’s completely stuck. There’s no way out and no way forward. In The Descendants, for example [screenplay by Alexander Payne and Nat Faxon & Jim Rash],…

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The Turning Pro Moment

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

Since the publication of Turning Pro a month ago, I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about certain concepts in the book. One that keeps sticking in my head—and demanding deeper inspection—is the moment of turning pro. I’m going to dedicate the next few weeks on Writing Wednesdays to further thoughts on this subject. I want to talk about its relationship to the All Is Lost moment, the two components of the All Is Lost moment (the second one of which I’m calling in my head the “breakthrough moment”)—and I want to talk about the “B” story and how that…

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Dropping a Bomb, Laying an Egg, and Doing the Work

By Callie Oettinger | 15 Comments

Are there any words of encouragement that you can give to a beginning comedien? Bob Hope: Yeah. Forget it. We’ve got enough. And stay out of our racquet. I can’t get enough of old classic radio—especially comedy. I laugh at Bob Hope’s jokes about as hard as his Pepsodent and Swann audiences did over 50 years ago. His material works just as well today as it did then. This is Bob “Washington, D.C.” Hope. I’ve been here two days and nearly starved to death. I went to a chicken dinner last night and didn’t even get a wing. I sat…

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How We Get Better, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 35 Comments

On the artist’s journey, we don’t get better by increments, we get better by fits and starts. The trajectory is not a smoothly-ascending curve, but a herky-jerky spasm-fest marked by seeming dead-ends, plateaus, dark nights of the soul, intervals of boredom and stasis, not to mention bouts of terror, despair and self-doubt, which are followed, if we’re lucky, by quantum leaps to the next level. In other words, we advance by breakthroughs. In last week’s post I talked about my friend Paul, who overnight leap-frogged two or three levels in his writing. What I didn’t say was that that leap…

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Blood on the Tracks

By Shawn Coyne | 3 Comments

Like you, I have no idea what Steve Pressfield is going to write in his “Writing Wednesdays” columns. We e-mail about twenty times a day and talk two or three times a week, and he’d tell me generally what he’s going to do for a particular week if I were to ask. But I don’t ask. Whatever it is he comes up with, I know no one else would write it the way he does. Anyone who has ever written a declarative sentence they intend to share publicly knows how hard it is to “pitch” their stuff. They know that…

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How We Get Better

By Steven Pressfield | 27 Comments

My friend Paul had a writing breakthrough last week. I mean a serious one, where his game elevated two or three levels in one shot. It’s tremendously encouraging to witness something like that because for most of us, most of the time, the experience of artistic enterprise is like toiling in the muck, slinging shovel after shovel of ooze and wondering if we’re advancing by so much as a centimeter, or—our direst fear—falling back. That’s where Paul has been for as long as I’ve known him. Now, all of a sudden, POW!  His breakthrough was like a touring golf pro…

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