Steven Pressfield Blog
A writer (or a singer or dancer or songwriter or filmmaker) searches for his or her voice. Hemingway. Quentin Tarantino. Beyonce. But what is voice? And what makes it “real?”
The passage that follows is from a book I’m working on right now. I’m not sure the passage works for a Writing Wednesdays post, but what the hell, I like it and my instinct tells me to put it out there.
What is the first virtue of the artist? It is—and must be—an awareness of and acceptance of the primary reality of the field upon which she will work.
I was doing a free rewrite a few years ago on the lot at Paramount when a producer friend spotted me on the bungalow’s porch and plopped down in the chair beside me. She asked me what I was working on beside this freebie.
Question: what will you and I do differently when we exit the ranks of the officially employed and set out on our own as artists or entrepreneurs?
I’m borrowing (again) from my entrepreneurship guru, Dan Sullivan. Dan identifies a statement that every entrepreneur makes to him or herself—whether she does this consciously or not. It’s the entrepreneur’s code, the independent businessperson’s declaration of principle:
It’s five in the morning and we’re on our way to the gym. This happens six days a week, rain or shine, Christmas, Fourth of July, your birthday. I hate it. Everybody does. We’d all rather be home in bed catching those lazybones Z’s. Why do it then? For me, it’s not because I imagine I’m going to be the next Mr. Universe.
The goddess tests you and me 24/7. She flies over and peers down on us. What she wants to see is that we are dedicated to the journey, to the process, that we are in it for the long haul and for keeps.
[In honor of The Godfather’s 50th anniversary, here’s one of my favorite Top Ten posts of the past.]
When I first submitted my manuscript for Gates of Fire, it was eight hundred pages long. It was as big as a Manhattan phone book. My agent, Sterling Lord, told me flat out, “Steve, I can’t sell this. You have to cut three hundred pages.”