Steven Pressfield Blog

How the Spartans Would Fight COVID-19

A (true) question from antiquity:

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One Word and Done

I did an Instagram “live” a few days ago with the thriller writer Jack Carr. Do you know him? He’s a former Navy SEAL sniper and task force commander, who is a natural-born teller of ripping yarns that grow out of his own experience in the hot political and military spots around the globe.

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The Goddess Visits at Night

I’m not joking when I say I do some of my best work in bed. In the middle of the night. Something about that twilight stage of consciousness when we’re not awake but not asleep either. Why do ideas come to us in the shower, or where we’re shaving or driving on the freeway and hanging onto a strap in the subway? Those too are twilight states. They are “gateway stages” when the membrane is down and insights can bubble up from the Muse’s secret sanctuary. The ego, I believe, is the generator of Resistance. So when the ego is…

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Churchill’s “K.B.O.” (Or something like that.)

There’s a skill that you and I as long-form writers have had to develop that will serve us (and everyone else) very well in this “time of cholera.” I’m not sure this virtue even has a name.

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Kiwi Virtues in a Time of Trouble

A few years ago when I was researching my WWII book Killing Rommel, I immersed myself in reading about a British commando unit called the Long Range Desert Group. Have you heard of these guys? They fought behind the lines against Rommel and the German Afrika Korps. Their vehicles were civilian Chevy “hundredweights,” i.e. ton-and-a-half pickups. Into these they packed fuel, water, weapons, navigation gear, and spare parts. Their theater of war was the North African desert. In patrols of six to eleven trucks they routinely ventured a thousand miles from the nearest aid to work “beat-ups” on Axis airfields…

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“Pandemic,” a Poem by Lynn Ungar

With special thanks to our good friend Joe Jansen, who sent me this poem, and to the website Science and Nonduality where it appeared … here is “Pandemic” by San Francisco poet Lynn Ungar, www.lynnungar.com.   Pandemic   What if you thought of it as the Jews consider the Sabbath— the most sacred of times? Cease from travel. Cease from buying and selling. Give up, just for now, on trying to make the world different than it is. Sing. Pray. Touch only those to whom you commit your life. Center down.   And when your body has become still, reach…

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Between Books

Writers sometimes ask me, “What should I do between books?” My answer: There should never be a “between books.” Don’t stop. Don’t blow your momentum. Myself, I want to be ninety pages into the next book before I finish the one I’m working on now. My aim is to move seamlessly from one to the other. If I knock off Book #13 on Tuesday, I’m deep into the trenches on #14 Wednesday. Why? Resistance. Resistance loves it when we stop working. I have a friend at the gym who used to hang out with Jack Lalanne. He said Jack had…

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Scuffling in Tinseltown

When I came out to Hollywood from New York, one of my first paying gigs was working on a low-budget action script with the director Ernie Pintoff. Ernie had actually won an Oscar (you can look it up) for a short subject called “The Critic” with Mel Brooks. But mostly he made his living doing episodic television. Ernie and I would work at his house in Outpost Canyon. We sat side by side at a huge oak table in his kitchen. Sometimes we’d work for eight or ten hours at a crack. I’d drive home exhausted. Ernie never spoke to…

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The Non-Zero Sum Character

We’ve been positing in our series on Villains in film and fiction that the Bad Guy as a general rule believes in a world of scarce resources, a cosmos in which all men and women are born selfish/evil … and that this condition—“the state of nature,” as Thomas Hobbes phrased it—produces inevitably a “war of all against all.” The villain in other words sees the universe as a zero-sum proposition, i.e. a world in which, if he is to gain, he must take away from you and me. In this post let’s examine the opposite proposition. Let’s consider the world…

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Kati’s Reply (and Mine)

I wanted to post Kati’s letter as soon as it came in because I felt certain that there would be a strong and passionate response. But the outpouring of support, encouragement, tough love, not to mention some pretty deep wisdom overwhelmed me. I think it overwhelmed Kati too. My thanks to everyone who wrote in. The notes were so heartfelt and contained so much kindness and caring, it almost didn’t matter what specific “advice” or kicks-in-the-pants they contained. The gesture was everything. Kati responded right away, but because her reply appeared in the Comments section on the same day the…

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2020 MASTERMIND

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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.