Month: March 2017

What’s Your Culture?

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

  One of our earlier posts in this series on the Professional Mindset was called “You, Inc.” It observed that many Hollywood screenwriters (including me) find it useful to incorporate themselves. These writers don’t perform their labors as themselves but as “loan-outs” from their one-man or one-woman corporations. Their contracts are “f/s/o”—for services of—themselves. I’m a big fan of this way of operating. Not so much for the financial or legal benefits, which really aren’t particularly significant, but for the mindset this style of working promotes. If you and I are a corporation, we’ve gotta get our act together. Amateur…

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Genre and Nonfiction

By Shawn Coyne | 12 Comments

This is the second in my Storygridding Nonfiction series.  To read the first, click here. “The Story Grid is interesting and all for fiction,” many say to me, “but I’m a journalist and I deal with facts and interview transcripts, you know ‘the truth’ … so it’s not going to be helpful to me.” Au contraire, mes frères et soeurs. The Story Grid is a way to clarify your writing intentions, especially for nonfiction writers. Once you know what kind/s of story you want to write, it then provides prescriptive advice to best realize it. A pile of research with…

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Working on Two Tracks

By Steven Pressfield | 15 Comments

  When we finish any work of art or commerce and expose it to judgment in the real world, three things can happen: Everybody loves it. Everybody hates it. Nobody notices that it even exists. [Continuing our exploration of the Professional Mindset, let me repurpose this post that first ran about four years ago.] All three present you and me as writers and artists with major emotional challenges, and all three drive deep into the most profound questions of life and work. It will not surprise you, I suspect, if I say that all three responses are impostors. None of…

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The Bar, the Blonde, and You

By Callie Oettinger | 9 Comments

There’s a scene in the movie A Beautiful Mind, when the John Nash character explains the best way for he and his colleagues to get laid. A blonde walks into the bar with a group of brunette friends. Nash’s colleagues start ogling her and making stupid comments. HANSEN Have you remembered nothing? Recall the lessons of Adam Smith, father of modern economics. ALL In competition, individual ambition serves the common good. AINSLEY Every man for himself gentleman. BENDER Those who strike out are stuck with her friends.   Nash stares at the blonde and Hollywood jumps in with voiceovers and…

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427 Minus 1 = Zero

By Steven Pressfield | 20 Comments

  My first agent was a gentleman named Barthold Fles. He was seventy years old. When I fictionalized him in The Knowledge, I made him ninety-six. But he was really seventy. I was twenty-nine at the time, so Bart had me by forty-one years. He was Swiss. He had represented Bertolt Brecht and even Carl Jung. He had seen and done everything. One day Bart said to me, “How much is 427 minus one?” I gave the obvious answer: 426.   “No,” said Bart. “It’s zero.”   He was speaking about pages in a novel. If the full book is…

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Nonfiction Stories

By Shawn Coyne | 6 Comments

 My next series of posts will concern the relationship between storytelling and nonfiction. In order to boil down my nonfiction editorial philosophy into a digestible 10,000 word-ish series for the www.sp.com crowd, I’ll be adapting voluminous material that I’ve previously released at www.storygrid.com Bottom line is that you die-hard fans may discover material that I’ve written and published before. My intention is not to pass off old writing as original and new, rather to reuse sturdy prose that I stand by in my efforts to streamline my nonfiction editorial philosophy. So let’s get started. The title of this post is…

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“So long, David … “

By Steven Pressfield | 27 Comments

  We lost a valued member of our online community this past week—David Y.B. Kaufmann of New Orleans and Houston passed away after a two-year battle with cancer. If you’ve read the Comments section of this blog, you know David. His contributions were always keen and insightful, and pretty funny too. He was also a damn good writer. His series, The Scotch & Herring Mysteries, was original, smart, and one-of-a-kind. He leaves seven children, his wife Nechama, and a round of grandchildren on the way. We send our deepest condolences to all the Kaufmann family. We’re all one good guy…

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Be More Than A Milk Crate

By Callie Oettinger | 8 Comments

Last month I attended the man of the year ceremony hosted by the Optimist Club of Passaic, New Jersey. As the man of the year (also my husband’s cousin) stood up to speak, I was struck by the 400+ people in the room who’d shown up for the event. The cousin didn’t have a web site. He didn’t have a product to sell. He didn’t market himself via social media. Instead, he got out into the community and volunteered. He’s a teacher who has coached football, headed the school’s ski club, worked with special education kids, raised money for scholarships, opened…

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A Map of the Unknown World

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

  [Continuing our series on the Professional Mindset … ]   I’m reading a great book now (thanks, Bill Wickham, for turning me onto it) called Bugles and a Tiger, My Life in the Gurkhas by John Masters. This is the kind of book I absolutely devour—a straight-ahead memoir, no plot, no characters, just an absolutely true account of a fascinating life experience, in this case the tale of a young Brit who served in India in the 30s in a legendary Gurkha battalion. What exactly is a Gurkha? The Gurkhas are Nepalese peasantry. Modest of stature, often illiterate, incredibly…

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