Steven Pressfield Blog

Brian Wilson, Warren Buffett, Albert Einstein, and Ruth Stone

From the archives, via May 5, 2017. In the documentary Beach Boys: The Making of Pet Sounds, Al Jardine said Brian Wilson “sees things I don’t think the rest of us see and hears things, certainly, that we don’t hear. He has a special receiver going on in there, in his brain.” What is that special,…

Read More

The Villain Doesn’t Change

  The craziest working arrangement I ever had in the screenwriting biz was when I worked for a producer I’ll call Joan Stark. Joan insisted that I write in her office. I had to come in every day. Joan gave me a little cubbyhole beside the photocopy machine. I’d work on pages all morning and…

Read More

A Correction: Nothing Always Works With Everyone

Last Friday I wrote that the list of things below always work. Hard work has always worked. Being honest has always worked. Doing the right thing has always worked. Keeping promises has always worked. Being transparent has always worked. Creating something of value has always worked. Starting small has always worked. Communicating in more than…

Read More

The “B” Story Rides to the Rescue of the “A” Story

We touched briefly in last week’s post upon the idea that the “B” story “rides to the rescue” of the “A” story, usually at the start of Act Three. Let’s examine this principle in more detail.

Read More

The Road Not Taken

I can see Robert Frost’s yellow wood. In my mind, it’s always Fall and always the golden hour before sunset. A thick layer of leaves blankets the ground and yet every tree is full, as if not a leaf has fallen. This image has been bubbling up uninvited these past few months. One minute I’m…

Read More

“A” Story and “B” Story

  In the movie biz there’s a terminology: “A” Story and “B” Story. (There’s also a “C,” “D,” and “E” story.) This is an interesting concept that has carry-overs for us in the fiction world. Nonfiction too. The “A” story is the main story, the story in the foreground. In Moby Dick the “A” story is…

Read More

Do You Believe?

For the 14th year in a row, my kids and I drove to Pentagon City Mall for a picture with Santa. Now 15 and 11, they know the fat guy in the red suit is an echo of their childhood. Still there, and still nice, and still happiness-and-laughter inducing, but not the same as before…

Read More

Our Characters and Ourselves

I’ve been thinking about an obscure point of storytelling, and I wonder if this isn’t something that a lot of us have been aware of but maybe haven’t thought about too deeply. (I’m gonna get a little writer-wonky in this post, so please bear with me.) We know as fiction writers that our story (Act…

Read More

First Things First

A jab is a quick, sharp punch. It’s the setup for other punches—that seemingly small thing that serves you well in the ring. “It is their most important weapon. Fighters throughout time have spilled blood and sweat attempting to perfect it—to make it fast, to make it sharp, Every punch, heavier than the last.

Read More

Welcome, JABs Subscribers!

Thanks and welcome to everybody who leapt off the cliff with us and signed up to receive a year’s worth of Black Irish JABs. The response has been beyond our hopes. Thank you! To anyone still teetering on the fence, lemme take today’s post to give you the old-fashioned hard sell. (Then I’ll stop, I…

Read More

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.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.
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.

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.