Steven Soderbergh and the Artist’s Journey

In 2007, Steven Soderbergh won the Academy Award as Best Director for Traffic. I remember his acceptance speech almost word for word. Here’s the link to the video. (It’s better to watch it than to read it [even better to do both] because he delivered his message in such a humble and heartfelt manner):

Suddenly, going to work tomorrow doesn’t seem like such a good idea. My daughter Sarah’s asleep in London. She’s missing this, unfortunately. There are a lot of people to thank. Rather than thank some of them publicly, I think I’ll thank all of them privately. What I want to say is — I want to thank anyone who spends part of their day creating. I don’t care if it’s a book, a film, a painting, a dance, a piece of theater, a piece of music . . .  Anybody who spends part of their day sharing their experience with us. I think this world would be unlivable without art, and I thank you. That includes the Academy. That includes my fellow nominees here tonight. Thank you for inspiring me. Thank you for this.

Steven Soderbergh could have bounded onto that stage and offered any number of charming, funny, even egomaniacal pronouncements about himself, his movie, his hard times, everybody that helped him, his wife, his kids, his mom, his dad.

Instead he took those two minutes to speak to you and me.

The artist’s journey can be pursued on an hour a day. I can do it. You can do it. We don’t have to quit our day jobs. We don’t have to move to a fourth-floor walkup in Williamsburgh or a garret in Montmarte.

The journey is the journey.

If you’re on it, you’re an artist.

 

THE WAR OF ART

Read this one first.
It identifies the enemy—what I call Resistance with a capital “R,” i.e. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, all the forms of self-sabotage—that stop us from doing our work and realizing our dreams.
Start here.
Everything else proceeds from this.

The-War-of-Art

DO THE WORK

Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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THE AUTHENTIC SWING

A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

The-Authentic-Swing

NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.

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TURNING PRO

Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"

Turning-Pro

10 Comments

  1. Joel D Canfield on August 1, 2018 at 6:10 am

    I had not seen that speech. Thank you for sharing it. Impressive to me that, knowing this is a stranger in a place I’ll never be, one who doesn’t know me from a hole in the ground, I felt the personal touch of his gratitude; I know he meant me, too. (Two nominations the same night, amidst a strong field of contenders. Whew.)

    Now that I’m back in the battle after 3 years of hiding, I’m taking all the huzzahs offered. I’ll be watching that speech again.

  2. Ruth on August 1, 2018 at 7:00 am

    Thank you for this and for all of the inspiration, Steven.
    I read something a while back that suggested that artists should write our acceptance speeches.
    As a typical introvert, I scoffed.
    But then I wrote one. I still have it.
    Here is the end of it:
    We’ve all had our own private awards ceremonies for triumphs that might only be important to us.
    And we will not betray ourselves by thinking that awards are not important. Or that we do not want them.
    We want the awards. We love the awards.
    But neither will we betray ourselves by considering any award more important than the everyday personal victories that build a life of authentic fulfillment.

    • Sara on August 1, 2018 at 1:00 pm

      Love that Ruth! So true.

  3. Mary Doyle on August 1, 2018 at 7:14 am

    Beautiful – thanks Steven!

  4. Trey Shields on August 1, 2018 at 11:37 am

    Thanks Steve. I can’t begin to tell you how much your work has helped me in developing my craft. Thanks again.

  5. Mariana on August 1, 2018 at 1:47 pm

    True and so right. Thank you.

  6. Kelly Morgan on August 1, 2018 at 7:30 pm

    Yes. An hour a day. A wonderful speech. And it’s been wonderful watching Steve share his new book The Artist’s Journey on the blog … and now it’s published. Makes it all seem possible. Bought it on Amazon and am looking forward to reading it.

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  8. Robert on August 2, 2018 at 4:02 am

    Thanks for the inspiration. It’s a great speech. I’ll definitely watch it again.

    (BTW, Traffic won best picture in 2001.)

  9. Kyle Westerman on August 2, 2018 at 10:13 am

    You answered the question to my thoughts/fears this morning. I am going through some difficult growing pains spiritually and was wondering if an hour to two hours every morning would be enough to do what I want to do. I carved out the time now I just need to do the work. Anyway thanks for the encouragement.

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