Month: June 2013

The Itch

By Shawn Coyne | 14 Comments

You’ve been thinking about writing a long form Story (novel, narrative nonfiction, essay) for as long as you can remember. You have this very specific and fascinating lead character in mind and you’ve been spinning ideas about his story driving in your car, riding the subway, even while having your teeth cleaned.  One day (for some reason it’s usually a Saturday) you finally resolve to sit down and write your book.  You have a clear notion of what the beginning will be, so you plunge right in. The first day is amazing. The paragraphs fly by in the first couple…

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How Hard is it to Turn Pro?

By Steven Pressfield | 40 Comments

How hard is it to stop drinking? How hard is it to overcome an addiction? How hard is it to break free of a toxic relationship, a twisted family dynamic, a destructive marriage? How hard is it to make those changes permanent? When we talk about the switch from the mindset of the amateur to the mindset of the professional, we’re talking about a total, fundamental, life-overthrowing revolution. That’s why it’s so hard. The amateur is in the habit of yielding to Resistance, just as the alcoholic is in the habit of taking a drink. I can’t prove this, but…

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Sounding It Out

By Callie Oettinger | 6 Comments

Mickey listens to her father’s comments about the high school ball player, then goes to the fence for a closer look. She returns to tell Gus, her father, that he was right. The young player’s “hand’s drift.” “How did you know that if you can’t see him?” she asks Gus, whose failing vision is as clear as sludge. “Because I’ve been in this business too damn long, that’s why.” “No, it’s more than that. Tell me.” “It’s the sound you hear. It’s like a ball coming off the bat, or exploding into a glove. It’s a pure sound. You’ll know…

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Artistic Distance

By Steven Pressfield | 26 Comments

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about what makes a book publishable. A friend once described me, during my years in the wilderness, as “the man who has written more words for less money” than anybody he knew. I know I’m not the only one about whom such an observation has been made. Why was that early stuff so bad? How did it get better? What’s the difference between work that editors sling into the trash and work that they proudly put their names on? I can’t speak for anyone else, but there’s one factor that played a huge part…

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Narrative Drive

By Shawn Coyne | 15 Comments

Above all else, writers want to be read. Editors and publishers, and especially readers, require just one quality in a writer’s work to make this dream come true. When a work has Narrative Drive, clichés like “I couldn’t stop turning the pages” and “it reads like a bat out of Hell” come out of the mouths of even the most eloquent of speakers. Narrative drive is that quality that keeps readers riveted. It is the lightening in a bottle that creates great fortunes.  If your work has none…fuhgetaboutit. It’s an obvious quality too, easy to wrap your mind around.  So…

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Don’t Talk About It

By Steven Pressfield | 36 Comments

Are you writing a novel? Don’t talk about it. Are you recording a new album, planning a new product launch, gestating a new philanthropic venture? Keep your mouth shut. Talking too soon is bad luck. It’s bad karma. I go even farther. Here’s a short quote from an upcoming book called The Authentic Swing: I’m superstitious. I have habits. I always give a false name to the book I’m working on. I never use the real title when creating the working file. Why? Because the devil might see the real title. Then he would have power to jinx it. I…

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My Way

By Callie Oettinger | 7 Comments

I love the Frank Sinatra standard My Way (written by Paul Anka). It gives me goosebumps every time I hear it . . . And now, the end is here And so I face the final curtain My Friend, I’ll say it clear I’ll state my case, of which I’m certain I’ve lived a life that’s full I traveled each and ev’ry highway And more, much more than this, I did it my way A few weeks back I wrote a piece pulled from an interview Louis C.K. did with the New York Times. The entire interview’s a great read,…

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Resistance Comes Second

By Steven Pressfield | 22 Comments

A thought to remember when we wake up each morning and confront anew that dastardly dragon: Resistance comes second. The Dream comes first. The dream of whatever work or enterprise or endeavor you and I are called to. Resistance is the shadow cast by that dream. Resistance is the equal-and-opposite-reaction of nature to the New Thing that you and I are called to bring forth out of nothing. There would be no Resistance without the Dream. The Dream comes first. Resistance follows. The other thing to keep in mind is that Resistance’s strength is equal to the power of the…

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