Month: July 2017

The Hard Is What Makes It Great

By Callie Oettinger | 13 Comments

I’m a few years and thousands of pages into a project—and am starting over. I had an “all is lost moment.” It hit around the time Steve published his first “From the Trenches” article. I cried. I sulked. I said something shitty to my husband. I thought my world was falling apart—that everything that could go wrong had, or did, or soon would. I was wrong. I’m alive. I’m working. I’m healthy. Most important: My kids and husband are healthy and doing their amazing things. What helped me hurdle the moment? Steve #2. In his “Resistance at the Ph.D. Level” article,…

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Report from the Trenches, #4

By Steven Pressfield | 23 Comments

  What exactly am I doing as I reconceive/reconstruct/rewrite a project that I’m already eighteen months into, based on some pretty stark “do it over” notes from Shawn? I mean, what specifically? What’s the process? What am I actually doing? Answer: I’m doing what I should have done the first time. I’m doing what I’ve told myself to do a hundred times but somehow didn’t do. I failed to do these things because I was Lazy Scared Because I didn’t think hard enough and didn’t push myself deep enough. Is this sort of thing new to me? No. When I…

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Subjective Truth, Editors and Resistance, #2

By Shawn Coyne | 22 Comments

In my last post I wrote about how editors’ primary jobs are to deliver objective truth to their writers. If the writer hasn’t specifically outlined and delivered step-by-step instructions in his proposed How-To book, the editor tells the writer that their choice of Genre requires them to do so. The editor then proposes changes to the work that’s On The Page in order to best comply with the writer’s stated intentions that are again already On The Page. If it’s a How-To Take Charge of Your Finances kind of book, the editor suggests that the writer move one piece of…

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Report from the Trenches, #3

By Steven Pressfield | 22 Comments

  The last two weeks’ posts have gotten a lot of positive response, so apparently they have struck a nerve. I confess though, as I sit down to write today’s Report #3, that I’m not really sure exactly WHAT is proving so helpful. Obviously I want to stay in that vein. So, spitballing a bit, here goes … The specific question readers might be asking right about now is, What exactly did Shawn’s notes say? And, How exactly did you, Steve, respond? The bulk of Shawn’s problem with the manuscript I gave him was that I had violated conventions of…

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Every Battle Makes Me Stronger

By Callie Oettinger | 25 Comments

I have no tears left to cry nor emotions to feel. Instead of the heart keeping beat, the pounding in the gut plays metronome, a solid BOOM, BOOM, BOOM walloping the soul. It doesn’t hurt, but Pain has numbed me. I want to cry. I want to scream. I want to be back in my childhood room having a terrible two’s temper tantrum. I want to throw every stuffed animal, and book, and everything else I can get my hands on against the wall. But I can’t. I’m an adult. I have kids. I have a husband. I have work.…

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Resistance at the Ph.D. Level

By Steven Pressfield | 50 Comments

  Continuing our “reports from the trenches,” let me flash back briefly to last week’s post with the aim of setting today’s piece—Report #2—in a relatable time context. The plot so far: April 28, 2017. Shawn sends me his editorial notes on my new manuscript (my Draft #10.) Same day: I go into shock. Two weeks later: I summon the courage to read Shawn’s notes again. I succumb to shock a second time (though not quite as badly.) Three days later: I read ’em one more time. Shock is receding. Two days after that: I begin to actually grasp what…

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Editors and Resistance, #1

By Shawn Coyne | 14 Comments

I’m going to take a break from my wonky analysis of Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point and give you my take on Steve’s post from Wednesday, “Report from the Trenches, #1.” The central question I want to explore is “What form of Resistance do Editors face?” Well, like the hedgehog, Resistance knows one important thing about the editorial process… An Editor is a midwife. The only one who truly knows her value is the birther. The Big R lies in wait inside this truth.

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Report from the Trenches, #1

By Steven Pressfield | 157 Comments

  I’m gonna take a break in this series on Villains and instead open up my skull and share what’s going on in my own work right now. It ain’t pretty. I’m offering this post in the hope that an account of my specific struggles at this moment will be helpful to other writers and artists who are dealing with the same mishegoss, i.e. craziness, or have in the past, or will in the future. Here’s the story: Eighteen months ago I had an idea for a new fiction piece. I did what I always do at such moments: I…

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