Do The Work Wednesdays

The Pain of Being Human

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

The Gnostics believed that exile was the psychological condition of the human being. It certainly feels that way to me. We’ve been talking about artists and addicts for the past couple of weeks. Not every artist is an addict, and certainly not every addict is an artist. But it seems to me that both share an acute, even excruciating sensitivity to the pain of being human—and both actively seek ways to overcome it, transcend it, or at least make it go away. What is the pain of being human? To me, it’s the condition of being suspended between two worlds…

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The Artist and the Addict

By Steven Pressfield | 33 Comments

The artist and the addict are not very far apart, are they? Often they’re one and the same. A blues musician or a painter can be an addict one minute and an artist the next. He can be an artist and an addict at the same time. On Tuesday you’re rocking the casbah; on Wednesday you’re checking in to Betty Ford. Why is that? “It may be the devil or it may be the Lord, But you’re gonna have to serve somebody.” If Bob Dylan is right in Gotta Serve Somebody (and I think he is), we all do have to…

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Resistance and Addiction

By Steven Pressfield | 40 Comments

Have you ever noticed that addicts are often extremely interesting people? Addiction itself is excruciatingly boring, in that it’s so predictable. The lies, the evasions, the transparent self-justification and self-exoneration. But the addict himself is often a colorful and compelling person. His story reads like a novel, packed with drama, intrigue, conflict and heartbreak. If the addict’s drug of choice is alcohol, the narrative is frequently one of job loss, domestic abuse, divorce, abandonment of children, bankruptcy. If Class One narcotics are the culprit, the tale often includes crime, the law, violence, even death. Of course we fallible mortals can…

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Seth Godin on the Domino Project

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

The Domino Project is a partnership between Seth Godin and amazon.com, in which together they find, commission, edit, design, print, advertise, market and distribute a specific type of book/audio/eBook that Seth calls a “manifesto.” The first such piece, published two months ago, was Seth’s Poke the Box; the second, two weeks ago, was my Do the Work. In last week’s post, I offered my own befogged take on what the Domino Project is, what it represents, and what were some of the possible implications of this model for all of us artists and entrepreneurs going into the future. Continuing that…

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“Pizza for Everybody!”

By Steven Pressfield | 28 Comments

First, I want to thank everyone who helped make last Wednesday’s launch of Do The Work such an overwhelming success. I sent pizza to the gang at Seth Godin’s Domino Project (thanks, Pizza Grill in Hastings-on-Hudson, NY)—but I also want to give a shout-out to everyone who downloaded the free Kindle version, ordered the hardback or audio, tweeted, Facebooked, blogged, retweeted or just told a friend and passed DTW along.  Thanks, you guys! You helped make this thing a hit without any traditional media, advertising, testimonials, blurbs, reviews, the whole shooting match. Next week in this space I’ll talk with…

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How Screenwriters Pitch

By Steven Pressfield | 24 Comments

Today, the 20th, is publication day for Do the Work in all three versions—hardback, electronic and audio—so please forgive me if I do a little marketing pitch for a sentence or two. Here’s how I described the book to a friend: Do The Work isn’t so much a “follow-up” to The War of Art as it is an action guide that gets down and dirty in the trenches. Say you’ve got a book, a screenplay or a startup in your head but you’re stuck or scared or just don’t know how to begin, how to break through or how to…

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Three Act Structure

By Steven Pressfield | 20 Comments

Last week’s post, this week’s and next’s all come from Do The Work, our new book that comes out, on amazon.com only, a week from today. The e-version is available for free right now, though it won’t go “live” till pub day. At that time, a hardback and an audio version will go on sale, along with a collectible. By the way, you don’t need an e-reader to download an e-book; it’ll work on your iPad, your Mac or PC, your Android. Here’s a link to free apps that make this work. But enough salesmanship. Let’s get down to today’s…

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The Foolscap Method

By Steven Pressfield | 28 Comments

Here’s a trick I use on every project. I learned it from my friend and mentor, the novelist and documentarian Norm Stahl. Norm and I were having lunch one day at Joe Allen’s in Manhattan and I was complaining about how hard it was to get a novel started. Norm happened to have a pad of yellow legal-sized foolscap paper in his briefcase. He took it out and set it on the table in front of me. “Steve,” he said, “God made a single sheet of foolscap exactly the right length to hold the outline of an entire novel.” That was…

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