Steven Pressfield Blog

The Amnesiac’s Story

Two of the most popular movies of the past few years are The Hangover and The Bourne Identity. What do they have in common? They’re both amnesia stories. I love amnesia stories. What could be more fun? Guy wakes up face-down on the floor of a villa in Vegas, or floating in a wetsuit off the coast of Marseilles. He remembers nothing. Who is he? How did he get there? And where the hell did that tiger in the bathroom come from?

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My Kind of Barbarian

Where do ideas come from? (I don’t mean the shower–or while we’re driving on the Taconic Parkway.) What is the source of creativity? Where did the iPad come from, or the Eiffel Tower, or Nude Descending A Staircase? Here’s Robert E. Howard, who created the Conan the Barbarian series:

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Having A Practice, Part Two

Over the past couple of weeks we’ve talked about Shame and Habit as allies in the struggle against Resistance. Shame motivates us to face our fears, and habit helps keep us in the groove once we’ve gotten started. Momentum is another powerful ally, along with ritual, love, enthusiasm, aspiration, patience, selflessness and greed (the good kind.) Put ’em all together and we can really get some mojo going. We can be working hard, having fun, contributing to the planet and actually getting somewhere. Which brings us to what, to me, is the highest plane of creative endeavor–doing it as a…

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Habit

Konrad Lorenz, the Nobel Prize-winning zoologist, had a pet goose that he allowed the run of the house. The first day when the goose waddled in the door, there happened to be a mirror near floor height; the goose mistook his own reflection for some rival bird and flew into attack mode.

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Specking It

[The blog is on the road this week.  Herewith: a re-run of one of the best-received posts, “Specking It.”  Back next week!] I moved from New York to Hollywood in the mid-eighties. This was the era of the “spec script”–a concept that has been of great use to me on many fronts beyond screenwriting. It might help you too.

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The Uses of Shame

Shame is good. Shame is a tremendous weapon against Resistance. Along with habit, momentum, aspiration, anger, eros and joy, shame can be a mighty ally in the never-ending guerrilla campaign against self-sabotage.

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Downrange: An Informal Report of a trip to Afghanistan with Marine Gen. James N. Mattis

[Part Four of Four] COIN doctrine, counter-insurgency theory, says “protect the people” comes before “kill the enemy.” In meeting after meeting we heard all the right things from officers and civilian leaders who were earnest, brave, well-intentioned, smart, sincere, hard-working and absolutely decent and ethical.  We heard about construction projects and rules of engagement and mitigating civilian casualties, about liaising with tribal elders and managing escalation of force and irrigation and extracting resources and using local people, defeating the corruption of the Karzai regime, delivering good governance, etc.  But I didn’t see any Afghans in the rooms.  I didn’t see…

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Downrange: An Informal Report on a trip to Afghanistan with Marine General James N. Mattis

[Part Three of Four] It’s more than a little weird, participating in one of these PR walkarounds. Self-congratulation is the inevitable theme. The bubble can get pretty thick. For me, at least, it’s almost impossible to grok the street reality. Are things going great or are we all lining up to drink our own Kool-Aid?  For all I can tell, the sullen, hood-eyed bandits eyeballing our procession have been cutting loose AK rounds at Marines twenty-four hours earlier—and may be doing it again three days from now. Not that that means anything. Earlier in the trip, Gen. Mattis, speaking of…

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Downrange: An Informal Report on a trip to Afghanistan with Marine Gen. James N. Mattis

[Part Two of Four] 6. Kabul is a Third World city, squalid as mud and dirty as hell. Every building that’s above the level of the people is built like a fortress; compounds with high walls topped with razor wire, AK-toting guards out front and security cameras atop Y-shaped posts. At the airport, guard towers are set in onion fields with police asleep or tending little vegetable gardens or heating tea over propane stoves. They’re keeping watch, supposedly, over cyclone fences topped with concertina wire and protected at ground level by rolls of the same, so no one can crawl…

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Downrange: An Informal Report on a trip to Afghanistan with Marine Gen. James N. Mattis

Part One of Four 1. Jim Mattis is a four-star Marine general. He doesn’t go out of his way to be quotable; he just can’t help himself.  Here, from Iraq 2004, are his instructions to the Marines under his command on how to conduct themselves with the natives they will encounter. Be polite.  Be professional.  But have a plan to kill everyone you meet. In the first battle of Fallouja, Gen. Mattis commanded the Marines assigned to take the city. There came a point during the fighting when Mattis had to negotiate with the Sunni sheikhs and Baathist ex-army officers…

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2020 MASTERMIND

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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.

noboybookcover

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.

The-War-of-Art

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.

Turning-Pro

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.