Writing Wednesdays

The Pain Zone

By Steven Pressfield |

John Naber won four swimming gold medals at the ’76 Olympic Games in Montreal, each in world-record time. He said something in an interview once that sticks with me to this day. A reporter asked Naber, “What’s the difference between a good swimmer and a great swimmer?” Here’s how Naber answered (I’m paraphrasing from memory): The thing about competitive swimming is that the instant you hit the water, you enter the Pain Zone. Your heart is hammering, your lungs are on fire, your muscles are straining to their maximum. It’s hell. The difference between a good swimmer and a great…

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“I wasn’t even operational”

By Steven Pressfield |

Do you know the word “operational?” I didn’t. 

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Sweating Through Your Flight Suit

By Steven Pressfield |

Here is a scene I heard over and over, interviewing Israeli fighter pilots (and I’m sure it’s commonplace in air forces and other combat units all over the world.)

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When panic strikes …

By Steven Pressfield |

Can you stand another Fighter Pilot Wisdom post? Let’s start with another moment from our friend, fighter ace Giora Romm. Flying in the north of Israel on Day Two of the Six Day War, Giora’s Mirage IIIC got hit by an enemy missile. Here’s Giora describing his situation:

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“Just write the damn thing!”

By Steven Pressfield |

Let’s get back to our “fighter pilot wisdom” series.

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“And the Bad Version is … “

By Steven Pressfield |

This comes via my friend Charlie Daly, who got it from a screenwriter friend of his.

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“Your badge and your gun”

By Steven Pressfield |

We were working on the script for the first Steven Seagal movie, Above the Law. The director, Andy Davis, said, “We need a scene where Steve is ordered to turn in his badge and his gun.”

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Elevating the Threshold of Panic

By Steven Pressfield |

Picking up from last week’s post in our series on Fighter Pilot Wisdom, here’s more from fighter ace Ran Ronen:

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The Mission like a movie

By Steven Pressfield |

Continuing our series on Fighter Pilot Wisdom, here is Ran Ronen, one of the most celebrated combat fliers and commanders (he died in 2016 as a retired brigadier general) in the history of the Israel Air Force.

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“Dvekut baMesima”

By Steven Pressfield |

When I was doing research in Israel for The Lion’s Gate, I spent hours and hours interviewing fighter pilots. I had never known any before; I had no conception of their unique and super-specific mindset, the way they were trained to think and to prepare for life-and-death missions in the sky. I was amazed. I found these airmen’s way of thinking not only fascinating but extremely applicable to the way you and I work as writers and artists.

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