Steven Pressfield Blog

Art and Polarity

From the archives, via June 20, 2012. The other day I overhead this conversation: Man #1: “I ran into Frank Smith (not his real name) at the beach yesterday…” Man #2: “Isn’t that the guy who cheated on his wife, got a DWI, and said all of those nasty things about Jill’s daughter in law?”…

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Kurosawa on Villains

  We were talking last week about how the villain never changes. The hero does. But never the Bad Guy. Here’s Lawrence Kasdan (Body Heat, The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist, not to mention Raiders of the Lost Ark, Return of the Jedi, etc.) quoted in a 1991 article in the L.A. Times: “(Akira) Kurosawa,…

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Brian Wilson, Warren Buffett, Albert Einstein, and Ruth Stone

From the archives, via May 5, 2017. In the documentary Beach Boys: The Making of Pet Sounds, Al Jardine said Brian Wilson “sees things I don’t think the rest of us see and hears things, certainly, that we don’t hear. He has a special receiver going on in there, in his brain.” What is that special,…

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The Villain Doesn’t Change

  The craziest working arrangement I ever had in the screenwriting biz was when I worked for a producer I’ll call Joan Stark. Joan insisted that I write in her office. I had to come in every day. Joan gave me a little cubbyhole beside the photocopy machine. I’d work on pages all morning and…

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A Correction: Nothing Always Works With Everyone

Last Friday I wrote that the list of things below always work. Hard work has always worked. Being honest has always worked. Doing the right thing has always worked. Keeping promises has always worked. Being transparent has always worked. Creating something of value has always worked. Starting small has always worked. Communicating in more than…

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The “B” Story Rides to the Rescue of the “A” Story

We touched briefly in last week’s post upon the idea that the “B” story “rides to the rescue” of the “A” story, usually at the start of Act Three. Let’s examine this principle in more detail.

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The Road Not Taken

I can see Robert Frost’s yellow wood. In my mind, it’s always Fall and always the golden hour before sunset. A thick layer of leaves blankets the ground and yet every tree is full, as if not a leaf has fallen. This image has been bubbling up uninvited these past few months. One minute I’m…

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“A” Story and “B” Story

  In the movie biz there’s a terminology: “A” Story and “B” Story. (There’s also a “C,” “D,” and “E” story.) This is an interesting concept that has carry-overs for us in the fiction world. Nonfiction too. The “A” story is the main story, the story in the foreground. In Moby Dick the “A” story is…

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Do You Believe?

For the 14th year in a row, my kids and I drove to Pentagon City Mall for a picture with Santa. Now 15 and 11, they know the fat guy in the red suit is an echo of their childhood. Still there, and still nice, and still happiness-and-laughter inducing, but not the same as before…

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Our Characters and Ourselves

I’ve been thinking about an obscure point of storytelling, and I wonder if this isn’t something that a lot of us have been aware of but maybe haven’t thought about too deeply. (I’m gonna get a little writer-wonky in this post, so please bear with me.) We know as fiction writers that our story (Act…

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FREE MINI COURSE

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.

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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 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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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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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.