Steven Pressfield

Churchill’s “K.B.O.” (Or something like that.)

By Steven Pressfield |

There’s a skill that you and I as long-form writers have had to develop that will serve us (and everyone else) very well in this “time of cholera.” I’m not sure this virtue even has a name.

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Kiwi Virtues in a Time of Trouble

By Steven Pressfield |

A few years ago when I was researching my WWII book Killing Rommel, I immersed myself in reading about a British commando unit called the Long Range Desert Group. Have you heard of these guys? They fought behind the lines against Rommel and the German Afrika Korps. Their vehicles were civilian Chevy “hundredweights,” i.e. ton-and-a-half pickups. Into these they packed fuel, water, weapons, navigation gear, and spare parts. Their theater of war was the North African desert. In patrols of six to eleven trucks they routinely ventured a thousand miles from the nearest aid to work “beat-ups” on Axis airfields…

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“Pandemic,” a Poem by Lynn Ungar

By Steven Pressfield |

With special thanks to our good friend Joe Jansen, who sent me this poem, and to the website Science and Nonduality where it appeared … here is “Pandemic” by San Francisco poet Lynn Ungar, www.lynnungar.com.   Pandemic   What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down.   And when your body has become still, reach…

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Between Books

By Steven Pressfield |

Writers sometimes ask me, “What should I do between books?” My answer: There should never be a “between books.” Don’t stop. Don’t blow your momentum. Myself, I want to be ninety pages into the next book before I finish the one I’m working on now. My aim is to move seamlessly from one to the other. If I knock off Book #13 on Tuesday, I’m deep into the trenches on #14 Wednesday. Why? Resistance. Resistance loves it when we stop working. I have a friend at the gym who used to hang out with Jack Lalanne. He said Jack had…

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Scuffling in Tinseltown

By Steven Pressfield |

When I came out to Hollywood from New York, one of my first paying gigs was working on a low-budget action script with the director Ernie Pintoff. Ernie had actually won an Oscar (you can look it up) for a short subject called “The Critic” with Mel Brooks. But mostly he made his living doing episodic television. Ernie and I would work at his house in Outpost Canyon. We sat side by side at a huge oak table in his kitchen. Sometimes we’d work for eight or ten hours at a crack. I’d drive home exhausted. Ernie never spoke to…

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The Non-Zero Sum Character

By Steven Pressfield |

We’ve been positing in our series on Villains in film and fiction that the Bad Guy as a general rule believes in a world of scarce resources, a cosmos in which all men and women are born selfish/evil … and that this condition—“the state of nature,” as Thomas Hobbes phrased it—produces inevitably a “war of all against all.” The villain in other words sees the universe as a zero-sum proposition, i.e. a world in which, if he is to gain, he must take away from you and me. In this post let’s examine the opposite proposition. Let’s consider the world…

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Kati’s Reply (and Mine)

By Steven Pressfield |

I wanted to post Kati’s letter as soon as it came in because I felt certain that there would be a strong and passionate response. But the outpouring of support, encouragement, tough love, not to mention some pretty deep wisdom overwhelmed me. I think it overwhelmed Kati too. My thanks to everyone who wrote in. The notes were so heartfelt and contained so much kindness and caring, it almost didn’t matter what specific “advice” or kicks-in-the-pants they contained. The gesture was everything. Kati responded right away, but because her reply appeared in the Comments section on the same day the…

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“Writing is a Bad Idea”

By Steven Pressfield |

I got this note a few days ago from a writer named Kati Reijonen. I have no prior acquaintance with Kati. In a raw and quite brave way, Kati’s letter expresses the “heart of darkness” that all of us as writers and artists carry around in our guts. With Kati’s permission I have reprinted the entire note below. If you like, please respond to Kati in the Comments section. I’d be very interested to hear what we all think. I’ll post the answer I sent to Kati next week.   Dear Pressfield and company, I am a Finnish writer, just…

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Resistance = Fear

By Steven Pressfield |

Artists and warriors live and die by one primal emotion.

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Our Michael Moment

By Steven Pressfield |

Every great second act has a midpoint. In this instant something happens that ratchets our entire story to a higher level. The stakes go up, way up. Characters whom we thought we understood must suddenly be viewed in an entirely different, and far more serious, manner. The story upshifts. Every relationship in the narrative alters. Until this moment, we had thought the drama was about “X.” At once we understand it’s about “X squared.” MICHAEL They want to have a meeting with me, right? It’ll be me, McCluskey and Sollozzo. Let’s set the meeting. Get our informers to find out where…

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