Steven Pressfield Blog

Pick the Idea That’s Craziest

  Sometimes you and I as writers will see a whole menu of ideas before us. One will seem surefire commercial. Another will seem risky but fun. A third might seem totally off the wall. Which one should we pick? Before I give you my own idiosyncratic answer (which you’ve probably guessed already), let me…

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Start Before You’re Ready

We feel a book inside us. It’s there. We see the characters, we feel the structure, we sense the contours. We just need another week/month/semester to get our heads in the right place to begin … Start before you’re ready. Forget that week. Strike that month. Start now. Don’t wait till your ducks are in…

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The First Page

There’s a terrific book that I often recommend to young writers—The First Five Pages by Noah Lukeman. Mr. Lukeman is a long-time agent, editor, and publisher. The thrust of his counsel is this: Most agents and editors make up their minds about submissions within the first five pages. If they spot a single amateur mistake…

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Write It Like a Movie

  The men were silent and they did not move often. And the women came out of the houses to stand beside the men—to feel whether this time the men would break … The children stood nearby, drawing figures in the dust with bare toes … Horses came to the watering troughs and nuzzled the…

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Little Joe

  [Resuming our deep dive into the structure, characters, and theme of the classic 1953 Western, Shane.]   The character of Little Joe or Joey (Brandon deWilde) is worth examining in some detail because he serves so many purposes in the story yet, if you think about it, the core of the drama doesn’t need…

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Villain = Resistance

  [St. Patrick’s is a special day here at Black Irish Books. So to celebrate, we’re giving special pricing on Black Irish JABS. From now through Sunday, you can get a book every month from me with a $50 discount. Click here to get going: https://blackirishbooks.com/jabs. [And now to today’s post … ]   Every villain…

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Unseen Forces

  The tragedies that have come down to us from the ancient Athenian stage often feature as prominent players gods and demi-gods … and such unseen forces as Fate and Destiny. Prophecies are a frequent device, as they are in the Bible. Even in real-life, oracles such as Apollo’s at Delphi made pronouncements that the…

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The Understory

  Editors call it “narrative drive.” Writers want it. Readers need it. How do you get it? One way is by skillful use of an Understory. One of my favorite scenes in movies of the past few years is the Frozen Park Bench scene in the first of the Jason Bourne movies—The Bourne Identity. To…

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Harvey Keitel’s Villain Speech in “Cop Land”

Have you seen the movie Cop Land? It’s a vastly underappreciated 1997 film written and directed by James Mangold, who also did Girl, Interrupted, Walk the Line, and 3:10 to Yuma. The script for Cop Land was good enough to attract Robert De Niro, Sylvester Stallone, Harvey Keitel, Ray Liotta, Anabella Sciorra. It even got…

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The Final Deadline

December 1, 2010, Steve introduced the “What It Takes” column with his introductory article of the same name, “What It Takes”. Shawn’s first article in the series, “Getting the Meeting”, went live December 3, 2010, with an introduction by Steve that stated:

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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?"

The-Authentic-Swing

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.

do the work book banner 1

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.