Steven Pressfield Blog

To the Villain, It’s a Zero-Sum Game

The definition of a zero-sum game is if one side wins, the other side loses. Whatever proportion of goodies Player A takes, by that exact amount is Player B’s stake diminished. In a zero-sum equation, if I take a slice of the pie, there’s that much less for you. This is the how the Villain…

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Pulp Heroes

I was watching the movie Logan on TV last night. Do you know it? It’s one of the X-Men flicks, starring Hugh Jackman as “the Wolverine,” though in this story he’s the more human-ish version of that character, called “Logan.” I’ve actually watched this movie about ten times. A lot of writers would turn up…

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The Blank Page is Not Neutral

It seems so harmless, doesn’t it? A simple sheet of 8 1/2-by-11 bond that you and I roll into our typewriter (or the equivalent empty screen on our laptop.) What could possibly go wrong? (Other than terminal procrastination, paralysis by perfectionism, self-doubt, self-loathing, self-recrimination, self-hatred, not to mention terminal existential dread, panic, hysteria, flatulence, bad…

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The Gods Rule by Acclaim

  Did you see Oliver Stone’s 2004 movie, Alexander, about Alexander the Great? Indeed it was not one of Mr. Stone’s best, as I suspect he himself would admit if we got him drunk enough. But the film did have a great one-sheet promo line: Fortune favors the bold. (The phrase comes from a Latin…

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“B” Speaks for “A”

Quick announcement… For years, people have asked me, “When are you going to do an in-person speaking gig about The War of Art, Resistance, etc.?” I’ve always said no. But a part of me never stopped thinking, “Well, maybe one day … “ Short version: That day has come. It’ll be an intimate event, informal,…

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The Villain Wants the McGuffin

“McGuffin” is a term primarily associated with movies (Alfred Hitchcock is usually credited with inventing—or naming—it), but the concept applies with equal effectiveness to prose fiction and even nonfiction. The McGuffin is what the villain wants. The granddaddy of McGuffins is the Holy Grail in Arthurian legend. Closer to home it’s the letters of transit…

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Write the Book You Can’t Write

I know (from letters and e-mails sent in) that many readers of this blog are published writers, even multiply-published writers, as well as successful artists and entrepreneurs of all kinds. If you’re one of them (and even if you aren’t), for sure you can look back on certain successes you’ve had and say to yourself,…

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Write What You Don’t Know, Part Two

One of my earliest mentors was a writer named Paul Rink. (He’s on pages 111 and 112 in The War of Art.) Before I knew him, Paul lived in Big Sur. This was during the time when Henry Miller was a major personality there. Their families lived on Partington Ridge. Every morning Paul used to…

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Write What You Don’t Know

  The classic axiom cited to young writers starting out is Write what you know. Makes sense, right? If you’ve just returned from sailing alone around the world, write that story. If you’re a surgeon, a single mom, an opioid survivor … write about that. Write what you know. My theory is a little different.…

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A “Save the Cat” Moment

  If you’ve read many of these posts, you know that I’m a big fan of screenwriting guru Blake Snyder and his book on the film writer’s craft, Save the Cat. Here is Blake defining this principle: Save the Cat is the screenwriting rule that says: “The hero has to do something when we meet…

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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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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.



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.



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.



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?"



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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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.


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