Month: September 2015

All Storytelling is About Metaphor

By Steven Pressfield | 16 Comments

A boxer takes a haymaker to the jaw. He falls. He struggles to one knee as the ref stands over him, counting, ” … two, three, four … ” Watch the faces in the arena. They have become that fighter. He is living their life, their struggle.

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Always Come Out of Another Hole

By Callie Oettinger | 11 Comments

[I forgot about this post from Aug. 30, 2013, until I ran into Kevin Spacey’s speech again. Take a look and scroll down for Sir David Lean, too. For as much as things change, they stay the same. — Callie] At about the 1:20 mark in Kevin Spacey’s MacTaggart Lecture, given during the Edinburgh International Television Festival, he looks straight into the audience and says, “It’s the Creatives, Stupid.” It’s a television festival, so he keeps on the “television” theme, but that deeper thread is about change and taking risks. When facing one of his first offers for a television…

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Giving Ourselves Some Props

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

I missed out on the self-esteem movement. My day was about twenty years too early. My generation was more like the Un-self-esteem movement. The Self-Disesteem Movement. We were constantly being told what bums and losers we were. Be a man! Suck it up! What’s wrong with you? Those were the child-rearing mantras that our parents, teachers, and coaches—the Greatest Generation—dished out to us. If you brought home a report card with straight A’s, the only question was, “Where are the A+s?” Personal validation became a big issue with my peers and me. I’m not sure where this topic sits with…

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The Write Stuff

By Shawn Coyne | 6 Comments

[To read more of Shawn’s stuff, subscribe to] Last week I read something very exciting. It was a review of a book that I hadn’t read, nor did I know the author in any real way. Here it is. What was exciting was in the way that the writer absolutely ripped the work to shreds. The review was funny, intelligent, and somehow apologetic in the way that the reviewer went about his surgical eviscerating. As if he didn’t really want to be doing what he was doing, but owed it to the public to reveal the fraudulent and shameful…

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Our Fractured Days

By Steven Pressfield | 30 Comments

Years ago I rented a little house in Northern California and went there to write. I left New York, resolved to finish a book or kill myself trying. (I wrote about this period in The War of Art.) The great part about that time—it lasted about eighteen months—was that I had nothing to do all day but write. True, the chore was Sisyphean. I was busting my butt trying to learn not just how to put words on paper but, far harder and more critical, how to finish something. How to wrap up. How to ship. Still, life during that…

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What Used The Darling Ones To Do?

By Callie Oettinger | 12 Comments

Back in 1964, when Charlie and the Chocolate Factory was published, Mike Teavee’s obsession with being on TV, led to him exiting the scene with this Oompa Loompa sung verse (add “adults” to the mix every time you see the word “children” and substitute “TV” with “social media”): “The most important thing we’ve learned, So far as children are concerned, Is never, NEVER, NEVER let Them near your television set– Or better still, just don’t install The idiotic thing at all. In almost every house we’ve been, We’ve watched them gaping at the screen. They loll and slop and lounge…

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Wordsmiths and Storysmiths

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

From time to time over the years I’ve worked with partners. The experience has taught me about the kind of writer I am, and the kind I’m not. Am I a wordsmith? Or am I a storysmith? A great partnership is a wordsmith and a storysmith. Even better is to be both yourself. What’s a wordsmith? (Another term I’d use for this is writer-writer.) A writer-writer was born with a verbal gift. She can talk. She can sling bullshit. She’s glib. She’s articulate. She can turn a phrase. If you’re a writer-writer, you’ve got an ear for dialogue. You can…

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Resistance and “Hooks”

By Steven Pressfield | 24 Comments

“Hook,” as I define it in this post, is probably not a legitimate psychological term. It’s more like hippie psychology. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) But it’s such a vivid term and so accurate in its depiction of how this phenomenon works that I’m gonna stick with it, even if it might not pass the DSM test. A “hook” is an action or statement designed to provoke a response. A hook is always hostile and always bears evil intent. (See this prior post, “The Principal and the Profile.”) If you’re a working artist, people are throwing hooks at…

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