Steven Pressfield Blog

The Artist’s Journey, #6

Continuing our serialization of The Artist’s Journey … to refresh our memory, the primary thesis of this book is that our evolution as writers and artists hits an inflection point on that day when we realize that our Searching Years are over, our questing dues have been paid (in other words, our “hero’s journey” has reached its completion), and we must now advance into a second journey, in which for the first time we with full awareness and seriousness embrace our calling as artists. At that point, we “turn pro” and start asking the questions all artists must ask of…

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Getting in the Ring

[We’re bringing this post back from December 23, 2011. With the launch of Steve’s new site and the launch of The War of Art Mini-Course it seemed time to revisit The War of Art’s backstory, as well as how Steve and Shawn starting working together, and the projects that followed.] At the end of the year 2000, I had it all figured out. I left my job as senior editor at Doubleday to start up a new kind of publishing house called Rugged Land Books. Rugged Land would publish a very small list of titles, twelve original books a year (one…

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The Artist’s Journey, #5

As we continue this serialization, we’re hard at work on putting together the actual book—as an eBook, a physical paperback, and an audiobook. We’re in copy-editing and cover design right now. I’ll keep you apprised, for sure, as we progress … Now back to the book (we were in the section called “Characteristics of the Artist’s Journey”): 13. THE ARTIST’S JOURNEY IS MENTAL The sculptor may shape marble or manipulate bronze. The architect may work in steel and stone. But these materials are merely the physical embodiment of an image that the artist sees inside her mind. The artist’s medium…

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It’s a Kick in the Ass

I will write the Great American Novel by the time I’m 18. I will write the Great American Novel. I will write a novel. I will write. Between ages 14 and 40, my goals changed dramatically, from starting with the heavy weights to lifting manageable weights every day. I was reminded of this when I read Steve’s post “Thinking in Blocks of Time,” which is among the articles included as additional reading in part three of The War of Art Mini-Course. In the article, Steve talks about returning from a vacation and gearing up to get back to work. The…

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The Artist’s Journey, #4

We’re a week into the launch of the new site and The War of Art Mini-Course. The course is on the house, so check it out and let us know what you think. And now back to our regularly-scheduled programming . . .  Herewith, the ongoing serialization of The Artist’s Journey (if you missed any previous installments, scroll down through the previous posts immediately below):   7. A GIFT FOR THE PEOPLE In the mythology of the hero’s journey, the hero at the conclusion of her ordeal returns home safely from her wanderings. But she does not arrive empty-handed. She…

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Four Thousand Words for Seven Figures

As I continue my series from in which I storygrid The Tipping Point, I’m pleased to report that the man himself, Malcolm Gladwell, is teaching a course at Master Class.  I’ll definitely be checking it out to see how his process compares to The Story Grid methodology.  My choice from the start of this series was to demonstrate how one can learn from a master without having access to the master.  So here’s more of my take as an obsessive fan piecing together this masterwork from afar. The title of this post is the kind of industry news headline…

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The Artist’s Journey, Cont’d

Friends and members, welcome to our re-designed site! Explore a little and you’ll discover a free five-part War of Art mini-series. This is brand-new, read by me. Each section is about five minutes long. The audio is a sort of intro to the principles of Resistance and the idea of Turning Pro. Click here to sign up and we’ll shoot it straight to your Inbox. Don’t be scared of the new site. It’s made for ease of access to all the resources we’ve been putting in place over the past few years. And now … back to our ongoing serialization…

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Please Repeat Your Message

My husband and I walked in on a wedding. We wanted a drink and some downtime, but instead we got flower girls, sequins, stares—and a polite request to leave. It was a reminder that the obvious place for important messaging isn’t always the best place—and a lesson on how easy it is to miss the signs. Here’s how it played out. We were in the mountains visiting family. We got caught outside in freezing rain. The kids wanted showers and pajamas. My husband and I wanted a drink and a firepit. The kids stayed with the family and my husband…

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Untitled Book, Installment #2

THE HERO’S JOURNEY AND THE ARTIST’S JOURNEY {continuing from last week’s post}     I have a theory about the Hero’s Journey. We all have one. We have many, in fact. But our primary hero’s journey as artists is the passage we live out, in real life, before we find our calling. The hero’s journey is the search for that calling. It’s preparation. It’s initiation (or more precisely, self-initiation). On the hero’s journey, we see, we experience, we suffer. We learn. On our hero’s journey, we acquire a history that is ours alone. It’s a secret history, a private history,…

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Storygridding 4,000 words of Big Idea Nonfiction

For fun, over at a while back, I storygridded Malcolm Gladwell’s seminal article from the June 3, 1996 edition of The New Yorker.  I tracked the narrative altitude in the work that I described in my post from February 2, 2018. The vertical axis moves from the “street” level perspective at the lowest elevation through the “city” vantage point up to the “national” level and then all the way to the highest “universal” level. Four specific lenses that he uses to progressively build dramatic tension.

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