Month: October 2013

Writing and Money, Part 3

By Steven Pressfield | 24 Comments

In last week’s post I made a case for writing out of love. This week lemme dig into that idea a little deeper. The profession of writer (or musician or filmmaker or athlete) is not really a “job” like other jobs. It’s not like working in a coal mine or toiling in a cubicle as a telemarketer. It’s not something we do purely to put food on the table. We write or paint or dance out of love. We would do it even if nobody paid us. In the fields of the arts and entertainment, the principles that apply to…

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Conventions and Obligatory Scenes

By Shawn Coyne | 12 Comments

Here’s some more from “The Story Grid.” If I hand you my novel and tell you it’s a murder mystery, what would you expect from the book before you even turned the title page? You’d expect that someone will be killed early in the telling, if not on the very first page. You’d expect that there will be an investigator called in to solve the crime. You’d expect certain stock characters to appear throughout the novel. The “Watson” to the novel’s Sherlock Holmes for example. You’d expect false clues in the plot otherwise known as “red herrings.” You’d expect an…

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Writing and Money, Part 2

By Steven Pressfield | 35 Comments

Today’s post is a follow-up to last week’s Is Money Necessary?, which was inspired by Charles Rosasco’s recent note to me: Jack Lemmon won an Oscar for his performance in “Save the Tiger,” written by Steve Shagan I’m really sick of hearing famous actors/writers/musicians talk about how unimportant money and success are (that it is “just the work” that fulfills them). How do we keep expecting to get paid/make a living? Again, what I have to say here is not intended as “wisdom” or as any definitive statement. It’s just my own take on the subject. To me, the most valuable…

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The Metrics of a Bestseller and the “Oprah Effect”

By Callie Oettinger | 21 Comments

New York Times “Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous” Bestseller list, October 20, 2013 What makes a bestseller? What is the “Oprah Effect” on books? I’ve thought about these two questions on repeat through the years—and finally have a set of answers. Let’s start with the bestseller question. What Makes a Bestseller? The War of Art will debut at lucky #13 on the October 20th New York Times bestseller list for Advice, How-To & Miscellaneous titles, showing that alternate routes can lead to the list, too. Backlist titles can make the list. The War of Art is over 12 years old. Titles…

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Is Money Necessary?

By Steven Pressfield | 40 Comments

I’m stealing the title of today’s post from Maureen Dowd’s terrific book, Are Men Necessary? What got me thinking about this subject (money, I mean) is a note I received from a writer named Charles Rosasco. Thanks, Charles, for letting me use your real name: No problem: it’s just brain surgery Could you comment on money and writing? I’m really sick of hearing famous actors/writers/musicians talk about how unimportant money and success are (that it is “just the work” that fulfills them). I know what they are saying but I hardly think famously successful people are in the position to…

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The Hierarchy of Needs

By Shawn Coyne | 24 Comments

I’ve been working on a doorstop of a book called The Story Grid. It’s about long form storytelling from the editor’s point of view. It’s my answer to “what do you do…literally…step-by-step…from the moment you’re handed a manuscript to the moment you hand it back to the writer to revise.” As I’m nearing the finish line, I thought I’d share some of it. Let me know if you’d like to see more. Why is understanding the concept of “need” such an important part of Storytelling? It is because the most meaningful stories operate on two levels, the external and the…

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You, as the Muse Sees You

By Steven Pressfield | 40 Comments

What follows is my own personal metaphysical model for how writing (and all art) works. You may think I’m crazy. I may indeed be crazy. Mt. Helikon in Greece, dwelling place of the nine Muses “The Muse,” as I imagine her, is the collective identity of the nine goddesses, sisters, daughters of Zeus and Mnemosyne (Memory), whose charge it is to inspire artists. Other names for this mysterious force might be the Unconscious, the Self, the Quantum Soup. Whatever it is, it represents the unseen dimension of Potentiality that is either within us or beyond us. It’s where ideas come…

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Post-Oprah Shock Waves

By Steven Pressfield | 60 Comments

My hour-long interview on Oprah Winfrey’s Super Soul Sunday aired four days ago. “And so we bid a fond farewell to beautiful Maui … “ I was wondering what the after-effects would be. Would there be a sudden surge in visibility for The War of Art? For this site? If so, would it change how I feel about what we’re trying to do here? The answers are yes, yes, and no (with an asterisk). The War of Art got a big bump. (Thank you, Oprah!) But it didn’t change the way I feel about this blog, except for evolutionary alterations…

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