Steven Pressfield Blog

It Was Easier Fighting the Taliban

SP: You’ve been in Kabul the last couple of weeks, Chief Zazai. What were you doing there? Chief Zazai: I was meeting with British and American commanders, trying to get support for the Tribal Police Force program in my home valley.

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Gravitational Fields

How do you get a project started? Sometimes the thoughts in our head are so scattered, we don’t know where to begin. Here’s a trick that my friend Paul Abbott taught me: Just start.

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An Exchange Between Soldiers

Maj. Gant, First I want to say Thank you, Thank you and Thank you! I just finished your “One Tribe At A Time” strategy paper and I am speechless!! You have captured and eloquently explained everything we, those of us who were in Afghanistan in the early days, have been beating our heads against the wall about since late 2004, when it all began to spiral downward.

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The Full Document at last!

[Because of the extraordinary response to Maj. Jim Gant’s paper, One Tribe At A Time, I’ve decided to leave it up all week in the “Number One Slot.”  My ongoing interview with Chief Ajmal Khan Zazai will pick again next Friday; the Chief has been in Kabul all week, meeting with U.S. and British commanders, and we haven’t had time to speak. So all’s well that ends well!]

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Major Jim Gant

Because of the response to Monday’s posting of Major Jim Gant’s paper One Tribe At A Time, I’d like to keep the post “above the fold” all week, and run a shorter “Writing Wednesdays” post this week. The focus? Resistance and Major Gant.  

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Warlords and Taliban

[The blog is “on the road” this week.  Here is a re-run of the most clicked interview so far.  See you next week!] Welcome back, Chief Zazai, after last week’s break in our ongoing, multi-part interview. As you know, we took that space last week to post an open letter to Gens. Jones, Petraeus, McChrystal and Adm. Mullen, alerting them to your formation of a Tribal Police Force in the Zazi Valley and asking for help in aligning that force with the American troops (10th Mountain Division) whose Area of Operations (AO) includes your district. Respect for confidentiality prevents me…

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The Most Important Writing Lesson I Ever Learned

My first real job was in advertising. I worked as a copywriter for an agency called Benton & Bowles in New York City. An artist or entrepreneur’s first job inevitably bends the twig. It shapes who you’ll become. If your freshman outing is in journalism, your brain gets tattooed (in a good way) with who-what-where-when-why, fact-check-everything, never-bury-the-lead. If you start out as a photographer’s assistant, you learn other stuff. If you plunge into business on your own, the education is about self-discipline, self-motivation, self-validation. Advertising teaches its own lessons. For starters, everyone hates advertising. Advertising lies. Advertising misleads. It’s evil,…

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The “How” of Tribal Engagment

[The blog is “on the road” this week, so I’m going to re-run last week’s One Tribe At A Time post.  I actually wanted to do this anyway, just because it produced so many interesting comments and questions.  We’ll have the full free downloadable .pdf of Maj. Jim Gant’s One Tribe At A Time next Monday.  Thanks, friends, for your patience!  Now to business …]

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Self-Talk and Self-Sabotage

If you’ve read The War of Art, you know that the thematic core of the book is the concept of Resistance. Resistance with a capital R, which the book defines as “an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” Resistance is what keeps an entrepreneur from making the cold calls he knows he has to, to get his business rolling. It’s the force that keeps an aspiring painter away from her studio, or makes a writer back off from the…

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An Open Letter to Gen. James Jones, National Security Advisor

[This week has been a rough one for our troops in Afghanistan–and a contentions one among policymakers here in the States.  I’m going to interrupt our ongoing interview with tribal chief Ajmal Khan Zazai to post this open letter.  The same note was sent by e-mail two days ago to the parties below.]

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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.