[Quick update: next week, the Wednesday post will arrive in your inbox in a slightly different manner. I will say no more! Hope you like it. Lemme know in the Comments.]

Who are we? As our works pile up, we begin to see. The contours of our gift are becoming clearer to us. 

The Bluest Eye

Sula

Song of Solomon

Tar Baby

Recitatif

Beloved

Toni Morrison (1931-2019) was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1993

Jazz

Paradise

Memoirs

Love

A Mercy

Burn This Book

Home

God Help the Child

Race

The Source of Self-Regard

The Measure of Our Lives

 We realize we have a subject. 

We realize we have a theme. We have a point of view. We have an obsession. We have an artistic identity. 

The simple act of working over time, like Toni Morrison, has revealed that which we did not know when we first set out.

It has revealed who we are.

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
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"PUT YOUR ASS WHERE YOUR HEART WANTS TO BE"

Available for pre-order in paperback, ebook, and audiobook.

39 Comments

  1. Tolis on August 10, 2022 at 3:59 am

    Every step will show but also determine our direction. Let’s find the way so that every step we take directs us toward that destination. Every second being guided by that calling of our soul. We must find that, a trait of our energy perhaps that we can keep energized all day.

    Thank you so much, I send my love to all our friends.

    • Kate Stanton on August 10, 2022 at 1:39 pm

      And right back at you dear Tolis!! Have a beautiful week, my friend! Full of art, music, good books, and inspiration.

      • Tolis Alexopoulos on August 10, 2022 at 2:24 pm

        Thank you So much Kate!! We are together in this, and we will make it. None of us must ever stop, even if we are still here trying when we’re in our 90’s 😉 (we will have so much wisdom!)

        • Kelly on August 15, 2022 at 10:50 pm

          But we still be stupid.

    • Lin Keeling on August 11, 2022 at 10:49 am

      So well put, Tolis!

  2. Brian Nelson on August 10, 2022 at 7:06 am

    20-30 years ago I would have thought this pablum. The idea that I would have to work to uncover who I am would seem so foreign an idea that I would be unable to even consider any possible merit.

    I knew who I was, what I wanted, and what would make me happy and successful. Sadly, I admit those idols were money, comfort, life of ease after money, maybe toss in a bit of fame as well. I worked very hard for the shallowness of Instagram before Windows 98…

    Doesn’t take the gift of prophesy to see how that turned out. Fortunately I was able to return to the military when my generation was tested with combat. I am fortunate to have experienced a true rite of passage our comfort-laden culture dismisses and seems to abhor.

    Now I see the unfolding of oneself through one’s effort as sacred, beautiful, and intrinsically motivating. The labor(s) are the fruits.

    Since I can remember I had this reoccurring thought, “Once this is over…(midterms, finals, long day at work, undergrad, house purchase, promotion…) then life will be easy.” Ease was my aim. This underlying motivation or understanding of what I thought I wanted had persisted 35-40 years. It was an incredibly durable lie, false idol, misguided value. But boy did it stick.

    I now see that a life of ease, at least for me, is the first shovel-full of dirt in my own grave. I am a beast of burden, happiest when I hit the pillow a spent matchstick. Completely used up in the service of something demanding and outwardly focused.

    I am not presumptuous enough to think I’m certain of my theme, but I am beginning to see the outline however hazy. Layers and layers and layers of callous, denial, and falsehoods I’ve told myself for decades have been scraped away (painfully much of the time) to get closer to my own self.

    I have been doing one particular activity for the past 12 years, and it has only been in the last few months that I am beginning to understand what the fbomb I’ve been trying to do this entire time. It has softened my approach, given me different metrics with which to define success, and most importantly to me–has made every little action much more meaningful.

    What a blessing it is to be on a journey.
    bsn

    • Jackie on August 10, 2022 at 1:30 pm

      Brian,
      This made me smile. What a journey.

    • Kate Stanton on August 10, 2022 at 1:37 pm

      Another level another devil. Just when I think I have myself figured out, I am convicted deep down in my gut of something I did, didn’t do, said, or didn’t say–I feel regret then try not to overthink myself into a spiral! I try to reframe by saying to myself, “that is the only way I would’ve learned that lesson” and like a hopeless addict, I ask God for guidance. I may not do drugs or alcohol, but my toxic stinkin’ thinkin’ goes into hyper drive anytime something good happens to me. It’s a defense mechanism and it makes me sad that no matter how old I am, I am still struggling with the same childhood issues. I second your sentiment Brian–what a blessing it is to be on a journey. A journey that can take different shapes and turns at any moment. Inspiring stuff!! Gratitude!

      • Brian Nelson on August 10, 2022 at 5:15 pm

        Kate,
        Another level another Devil! I know that well myself. There is probably no there there, a continual scraping through until…we either expire or simply transcend all of this and explode!
        bsn

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on August 10, 2022 at 2:38 pm

      Thank you dear Brian, I think that one of the most beautiful phrases I read today was “The labors are the fruits”. And one really challenging was, “(being) completely used up in the service of something demanding and outwardly focused.” Damn, we must get rid of the “Ease” part. It’s a war, isn’t it? And in the end we will all be dead. And we feel alone in the field even with so many comrades around us. So no time to waste: conquer and persevere. When death takes us, let it feel awe for the time when we still had powers. It will be an honored passing.

      • Brian Nelson on August 10, 2022 at 5:17 pm

        Tolis,
        I’m beginning to see comfort as my enemy. I can only handle it in very small doses—or it turns me into a self-absorbed megalomaniac.
        It is war. For sure. And the only battle that truly matters.
        bsn

        • Tolis on August 12, 2022 at 11:02 pm

          “Comfort be my enemy”. You are so right. It’s not enough to hold on while working. We could also set it’s opposite not as neutral but as enemy. Phew! Hadn’t thought much of that.

    • Lin Keeling on August 11, 2022 at 10:23 am

      “Now I see the unfolding of oneself through one’s effort as sacred, beautiful, and intrinsically motivating. The labor(s) are the fruits.” Beautiful, Brian! It is a great journey, isn’t it? Don’t worry about seeing your theme yet. You’ll probably see it in hindsight. That happened to me about a week ago. All the different threads and paths I’ve taken suddenly coalesced and I knew what I had to write about–and that I am indeed a writer after fighting it for years. You’ll see yours too, probably when you least expect it.

  3. Joe on August 10, 2022 at 8:58 am

    Steve’s post today starts with the question: “Who are we?”

    That question resonates with today’s Daily Dose from meditation teacher Light Watkins. He titles his post “What you are”:

    “You must have a room, or a certain hour or so a day, where you don’t know what was in the newspapers that morning, you don’t know who your friends are, you don’t know what you owe anybody, you don’t know what anybody owes to you.

    “This is a place where you can simply experience and bring forth what you are and what you might be. This is the place of creative incubation. At first you may find that nothing happens there. But if you have a sacred place and use it, something eventually will happen.”

    — Joseph Campbell, The Power of Myth

    • Brian Nelson on August 10, 2022 at 2:38 pm

      Nice Joe. It has been some work for me to be able to sit. About 12 years ago—I set a timer on my watch for 5 min—and gutted through it NO MATTER WHAT. 5 grew to 6, 6 to 7…even did a full day retreat a few years ago.

      I now enjoy it—but unlike physical exercise, the payoffs/outcomes seemed to be noticed by others before I noticed anything.

      I don’t have a specific sacred space in my house—but plenty of sacred places outside—mostly enjoyed while walking dogs or running. I even consider the Bowl where we do our event is sacred to me. I’ve finally stopped beating myself up that I find renewal in places not mentioned in ancient/sacred texts or current guidance from books, apps, or podcasts.

      I think the practice of sitting for just 10 minutes, however, has given me the ability to open up to my own sacred places outside.
      bsn

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on August 10, 2022 at 2:44 pm

      Thank you Joe! We are all in this infinite place that I think you refer to. And although it may seem chaotic at first, it is also powerful: in the endless space of existence, we have infinite choices -and thus some excellent ones too- from which to choose to morph our “no-head” self. Let’s try to choose wisely.

  4. Kate Stanton on August 10, 2022 at 1:31 pm

    I love Toni Morrison. Who am I? This is an existential question. I am loved. I am alive and breathing. My given name is Kate and I work as a Foreign Language Coordinator to pay the bills, but that isn’t who I am. I am a singer-songwriter creating large amounts of work so I can become more and more into the artist I am meant to be. I am putting it out into the ether–I am a songwriter of sophisticated indie-pop with poetic lyrics and a love of collaborating with diverse influences. I am inspired by the mundane.

    Thanks for forcing me to define my work today, Steve. Resistance had me telling myself I am self-centered and narcissistic for doing so, but I DO THE WORK and that was the assignment.

    Hugs to all today!

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on August 10, 2022 at 2:45 pm

      Yes you are, Kate! Yes you are.

    • Brian Nelson on August 10, 2022 at 5:26 pm

      Kate!!!
      You inadvertently bumped into one of my serious geek spaces! I attended DLI back in 91/92–built a language immersion (12 hours a day for 2 weeks—savagely cramming 150 contact hours of language down my Soldiers’ throats) back in 04–then in 09 we built a website called “LingFit” mashing up CrossFit principles (short intense workouts—workouts of the day or WODS) to bridge the gap between immersions.

      I love the difficulty of foreign language study—it is a nut I’ve tried to crack for 20+ years. It still has its talons in me—I just proposed a program to bring civilians into this training and found a way to give college credit. Wanna give high school, college, 17-25 year old men and women, an opportunity to ‘test drive’ the military with no questions asked…and be able to award them credit at the same time.

      We did this with 3 college students in 2010–it was my own counter-insurgency against the haters in academia. Worked famously. Everyone won.

      I’d love to chat with you about this—even though this is not your art—it has been one of mine in the past. I realized I’m a creative without artistry…I like to build programs, events, solve crazy-ass big problems with innovative approaches.

      The connections here never end…
      bsn

      • Lin Keeling on August 11, 2022 at 10:10 am

        Brian, to be a creative means you possess artistry because you create with thought, purpose, commitment and intention–that’s all artistry really is. Doesn’t matter how you apply it, but when you do great things happen, don’t they?

    • Lin Keeling on August 11, 2022 at 10:15 am

      creating large amounts of work so I can become more and more into the artist I am meant to be”–I love that line! Finding your creative definition means a lot, Kate, and you are not self-centered or narcissistic, just focused and committed. I’m looking forward to listening to your music.

  5. Jackie on August 10, 2022 at 1:34 pm

    Joe, thanks for sharing this, so true.

  6. Jackie on August 10, 2022 at 1:46 pm

    I see them all hanging up before me, like clothes on a rack, all the jobs, tinker, tailor, soldier, and you have to pick one and then you have to pretend for the rest of your life that that’s what you are.-Graham Swift, Last Orders
    I just finished Last Orders and have an upcoming blog post addressing this quote. I agree with you Kate. I am not my day job even if I’ve given pieces of myself to it. We all must do the work to bring our unique self into the world. This work might not necessarily be our paying job. Have a productive week. Do your WORK.

    • Tolis Alexopoulos on August 10, 2022 at 2:49 pm

      You too Jackie! Go and meet yourself. It’s home, it’s the only place where you are real. Meet it with discipline and power, or else with patience and relentless desire for discipline and power.

    • Brian Nelson on August 10, 2022 at 5:28 pm

      Just got Last Orders. Nice suggestion. Now…BACK TO WORK!
      Have a great week Jackie!
      bsn

    • Lin Keeling on August 11, 2022 at 10:18 am

      Another great book for my to-be-read list. Thanks Jackie. Looking forward to that blog post.

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