Month: April 2014

What Paul Learned from his First Novel

By Steven Pressfield | 30 Comments

My friend Paul just finished his first novel. He has no publisher yet. He’s still got a long way to go. But he finished that sucker. He’s done. He did it. It’s been really interesting for me to watch Paul walk through the fire. Because it is true that, for a grizzled old vet like me, the ordeal of writing does get easier over time. You forget what hell it is in the beginning. Now here’s Paul struggling through sieges of despair and self-loathing; enduring bouts of mental and emotional paralysis; undergoing his seventeenth, eighteenth, and nineteenth nervous breakdowns, not…

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Tzuk Beach

By Steven Pressfield | 29 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] The Tzuk Beach Cafe is probably the hippest beach joint in Israel. I’m guessing of course; I’ve only been in the country for three days. But it’s hard to believe there could be any place cooler. The cafe is outdoors, under umbrellas, just a few feet above the strand, with sand on…

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Pre-’67 Borders

By Steven Pressfield | 12 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] I’m here. Israel. Starting research for The Lion’s Gate. Danny Grossman—Lou’s friend, a retired Israel Air Force lieutenant-colonel—has picked me up at Ben-Gurion Airport, gotten me checked in to my hotel. Danny’s going to be my guide and mentor. I’ve got my rental Toyota, had time to catch up on a little…

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Can Writing Be Taught?

By Steven Pressfield | 50 Comments

There was an article on this subject in the New York Times a few weeks back. The question posed was, as I understand it: If your son or daughter came to you and declared, “I want to be a writer,” what advice would you give him or her on how to pursue this dream? Would you suggest an academic program, the Times asked. An MFA in Creative Writing? Or would it be more productive for your aspiring artist to enroll in the College of Hard Knocks, out on the street, gaining experience in the real world? Questions like these make…

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The Zen Rabbi of San Francisco

By Steven Pressfield | 28 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] How does the idea for a book come to us? Is there a seed? A trigger event? Do we recognize the inspiration in the moment or does it need to gestate for a period before finally surfacing into consciousness? I had a classmate in high school named Alan Lew. Alan was a…

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Saving Tel Aviv

By Steven Pressfield | 17 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] Okay, here I am with the idea to do a book about the Six Day War of 1967. But that’s all I’ve got. What comes next? How does a writer start a project? The first thing I did was phone David Mamet. NOTE TO READERS: Don’t try this at home. I am…

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A Bad Jew

By Steven Pressfield | 32 Comments

[“The Book I’ve Been Avoiding Writing” (a.k.a. “Three Years of Writing and 40+ Years of Thinking About The Lion’s Gate“) is a mini-series about the writing of my new book, The Lion’s Gate. Thanks for tuning in as it runs Mondays and Fridays over the next few weeks.] I found out I was a Jew when I was thirteen. My Dad told me. I never knew until then. It was kind of a shock. Two thoughts struck me at once: 1. If my parents have been keeping this knowledge a secret from me and my younger brother all this time,…

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The Victim, the Perpetrator and the Rescuer

By Shawn Coyne | 13 Comments

As we all know, there is no story without conflict. There is no beat to a scene, no scene, no sequence, no act and no global story without a dump truck full of conflict. But diving into our vast personal experiences of conflict is not exactly the first pool of creative energy any of us wants to explore. It’s sludgy and unpretty. It gets our heart beating faster than we’d like and it makes us irritable. Even boxers don’t rush into a prizefight throwing one roundhouse after another. They need to get a feel for the opponent first. Test out…

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The Book I’ve Been Avoiding My Whole Life

By Steven Pressfield | 54 Comments

I never talk about a book while I’m working on it. It’s bad luck. The Muse doesn’t like it. That’s why, although I’ve been working for the past three years on a project that’s been all-consuming for me, I haven’t offered a peep on this blog. But now the book is done. It’s in production; the first finished copies are coming off the presses now. The Lion’s Gate: On the Front Lines of the Six Day War will be published by Penguin/Sentinel on May 6. Now that the book is finished, I’m gonna become a blabbermouth. I’m going to write…

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Did You Like It Or So Many Other Things’d It?

By Callie Oettinger | 11 Comments

I didn’t like Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them when I first read it, yet some five years later, his short stories still drift into my head. They arrive with Sadness and Inspiration and, in their wake, leave me struggling with the reality of the fiction. I didn’t like Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them when I first read it. Instead, I so many other things’d Uwem Akpan’s Say You’re One of Them when I first read it—and learned from it. In 2006 I helped share the documentary The War Tapes. After watching a screener I sent him,…

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