I wrote for 17 years before I earned my first penny (a $3500 option on a screenplay that was never produced).

I wrote for 27 years before I got my first novel published (The Legend of Bagger Vance).

During that time I worked 21 different jobs in eleven states.

I taught school, I drove tractor-trailers, I worked in advertising and as a screenwriter in Hollywood, I worked on offshore oil rigs, I picked fruit as a migrant worker ...

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Can you find me in this photo?

For one season I lived in this house. It had no power, no water, no doors, no windows. Rent was $15 a month ...

All during this time I was writing.

Why do I tell you this?

Because this site is about you learning from my mistakes

It’s about you avoiding the dead ends I drove myself into before I found myself as a writer.

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Will Smith and Matt Damon in the Robert Redford film of The Legend of Bagger Vance.
The original “foolscap” from The Legend of Bagger Vance.
WHY AM I TELLING YOU THIS?

Because the “war of art” is not about genius, it’s about work.

We can’t control the level of talent we’ve been given. We have no control over the nature of our gift. What we can control is our self-motivation, our self-discipline, our self-validation, and our self-reinforcement.

We can control how hard and how smart we work.

Gates of Fire: 1M copies sold worldwide. Legend of Bagger Vance: 450K copies. Tides of War: 125K. The War of Art: 500K.

TWO MANTRAS FOR YOUNG WRITERS

From my (fictional) 96-year-old literary agent, Marty Fabrikant, as quoted in The Knowledge:

1. Talent is bullsh*t

"I’ve seen a million writers with talent. It means nothing. You need guts, you need stick-to-it-iveness. It's work, you gotta work, do the freakin' work. That's why you're gonna make it, son. You work. No one can take that away from you."

2. The work is everything

"And I'll tell you something else. Appreciate these days. These days when you're broke and struggling, they're the best days of your life. You're gonna break through, my boy, and when you do, you'll look back on this time and think this is when I was really an artist, when everything was pure and I had nothing but the dream and the work. Enjoy it now. Pay attention. These are the good days. Be grateful for them."

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Begin today

Start with this War of Art [27-minute] mini-course.

It's free.

The course's five audio lessons will ground you in the principles and characteristics of the artist's inner battle.

Continue each week (also free) with our "Writing Wednesdays" and "What It Takes" posts, each one like a new chapter in The War of Art. Plus continual videos, freebies, specials and new material throughout the year.

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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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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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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.

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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.

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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?"

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FOLLOW THE LINKS BELOW FOR MORE GOODIES

STEVE SPEAKS FIRST TIME EVER!

A one-day event with Steve talking about Resistance, inspiration, and how to win the War of Art.