Writing Wednesdays

Living in Your Head

By Steven Pressfield |

What exactly is the artist’s work?              There’s a great image—silent, part of a montage—in the 1977 movie Julia. Jane Fonda plays the playwright Lillian Hellman. The shot is of Fonda, bundled up against the elements, walking alone along a wind-buffeted beach. The season seems like autumn, the setting is some writerly province like Swampscott or Martha’s Vineyard. Fonda as Lillian Hellman strides, deep in thought. We see her from a bit of a distance, from behind and to the side, so we can’t see her face or hear anything above the sound of the wind and the waves, but we see…

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No Such Thing as Writer’s Block

By Steven Pressfield |

Whatever talent I might possess as a writer can flee tomorrow. I don’t care.

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The Universe is Self-ordering

By Steven Pressfield |

Imagine yourself back at the beginning of time. The universe is raw energy, blasting faster than the speed of light in all directions.

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Becoming Picasso

By Steven Pressfield |

When we think of Picasso we imagine Cubist tours de force like Guernica and Les Demoiselles d’Avignon, where horses have their heads turned around backward and young women pose with two eyes on one side of their faces. But the young Pablo used to plant himself in the Louvre before pure representational masterpieces by Rembrandt and Leonardo and copy them stroke for stroke.

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Study the Canon

By Steven Pressfield |

Have you read War and Peace? The Brothers Karamazov? Anna Karenina?

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“Think of this movie as a sausage … “

By Steven Pressfield |

I was in a production meeting at Warner Bros. for the second Steven Seagal movie, Hard to Kill. It was called Seven Year Storm at that time. The director was Bruce Malmuth, a good guy who sadly died way too soon.

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Liz Gilbert’s Deal with Herself

By Steven Pressfield |

Elizabeth Gilbert is the author of Eat Pray Love and other bestsellers. She’s also a deep and honorable thinker on the subject of the artist and the artist’s soul. When Ms. Gilbert was starting out, she famously declared, she made a deal with her writing. 

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Fear of Success Anonymous

By Steven Pressfield |

This is going to sound like a joke but it’s absolutely true. I once joined Fear of Success Anonymous, aka FOSA. This was in Los Angeles; almost all the group members were actors or screenwriters. The group got so popular it had to disband.

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Finishing, #2

By Steven Pressfield |

My first agent was a gentleman named Barthold Fles. He was seventy-six; I was twenty-nine. One day over coffee Bart asked me, “How much is 427 minus one?”

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“It’s very well typed”

By Steven Pressfield |

It took me seven years to finish my first book. (I wrote about this in The War of Art.) I couldn’t sell it. Couldn’t find a buyer. In fact it would be twenty-one more years before a novel of mine actually saw the light of publication.

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