Writing Wednesdays

A Writer’s Journal, Day #1060

By Steven Pressfield | 8 Comments

Day Five of “Journal of Finishing a Novel.” I’m in the “revisit” stage, meaning going back to finish a sequence that I bypassed in the march to THE END. We’re only a few hundred feet below the summit now; the idea of faltering has become unthinkable. Whatever it takes, we’ll do it. As for this journal, I’m going to try something today that may be so obscure that it doesn’t communicate at all—but I’ll attempt it in the hope that it’ll be helpful to anyone who’s following these posts. What I want to do is share some of my friend/editor/agent…

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A Writer’s Journal, Day #1059

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

Day Four of “Journal of Finishing a Novel” and we’re done! Yesterday’s work took us all the way to THE END. I think it works. I hope so. But I will not drive myself crazy, chewing it over. Instead I will start today, as soon as I finish writing this post, revisiting and reworking a couple of sticking points in the narrative that I’ve bypassed on the headlong march to the finish. These go-backs can be particularly scary. In fact I’m more trepidatious about today’s work–and the next few days’–than I was about the actual climax. The alternative to bypassing…

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A Writer’s Journal, Day #1058

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

Okay, Day Three. Momentum is strong and I will hit it hard again today. (If you’re just tuning in, please scroll back to the prior two posts—yesterday and the day before—to see what this is all about.) Though Resistance is monumental, at least for me, when I get close to the end of a project, there is one happy tailwind (beyond knowing exactly what the beats of the story have to be) and that is that in the climax to anything there’s no time for digression or description or exposition. It’s pedal to the metal all the way. Momentum, momentum,…

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A Writer’s Journal, Day #1057

By Steven Pressfield | 11 Comments

This is Day Two of our week-long, one-post-every-day “Journal of Finishing A Novel.” (See yesterday’s post for Day One.) Today’s work will be a lot scarier than yesterday’s because today I’ll really get into the meat of the climax–a long scene that has to work or the whole book fails. My method for dealing with this kind of anxiety is not to think about it at all. I’ll just do it. Couple of notes: 1) By no means will today’s work be “winging it.” I know exactly what beats have to be hit and in what order. The climax’s shape…

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A Writer’s Journal, Day #1056

By Steven Pressfield | 17 Comments

I’m going to try something different this week. Instead of one full-length post that stays up for seven days, I’m gonna do short, one-a-day “journal entries.” A new one will go up Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, all week. The reason I’m trying this this week is that, in my real writing life, I’m just now plunging in on the last ten or twelve pages of the novel I’ve been working on for the past three years. I’m thinking that a real-time, “under the helmet” look at one writer’s process might be of interest. To implement this, I’m going to borrow the…

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The Ego and the Self

By Steven Pressfield | 35 Comments

Where does Resistance come from?  Seth Godin says it arises from the “lizard brain,” i.e. the primitive reptilian stem that knows only fight-or-flight and thus resists all attempts by the organism—you and me—to ascend to higher realms. There’s something to this, I think, but not, in my opinion, the way Seth sees it. The source of Resistance, to my mind, is the clash between the ego and the Self. A definition of the ego What is the ego? The ego as I would define it is that identity-center that runs our lives in the here and now, the material dimension.…

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Humility

By Steven Pressfield | 18 Comments

We were talking last week about ambition. Judging from the response, the subject struck a chord. Apparently no few of us, if we’re honest, have to admit that, however egotistical or un-PC it may sound, we really do want to excel, to succeed, to make a mark. We want to do something great, and we’re not going to apologize for it. So maybe this week we should balance things out and talk about humility. A scary world out there The artist and the entrepreneur (and all of us on the soul-level) live in an uncertain world. Our trade is in…

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Ambition

By Steven Pressfield | 43 Comments

Thirty-something years ago, I read a book that changed my life. The book was by Norman Podhoretz and it was called Making It. I can’t really recommend it as a read for today (I tried a month ago and couldn’t get through it) and I certainly find little to admire about Mr. Podhoretz’s current politics. But his book hit me like a box of dynamite. It overthrew everything I thought I knew about myself and turned my life around 180 degrees. Making It is about ambition. Mr. Podhoretz’s thesis is that the “dirty little secret” of American life is not…

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Icons and Iconization, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

Last week’s post was great fun for me because of the generous, insightful and tremendously articulate Comments that came in. Thanks to everybody who took the time to write; I appreciate it and I’m sure everyone else does too. When I first started Writing Wednesdays about a year ago, friends told me I would be surprised at how interactive the exchange would become. That’s starting to come true and I love it. If you haven’t glanced through last weeks’ Comments, a quick scroll will be well worth it. What I enjoyed most about last week’s Coments, even beyond the content,…

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Icons and Iconization

By Steven Pressfield | 40 Comments

This is a subject I’ve been thinking about a lot lately. Iconization as an issue in real life–and as a form of Resistance. Here’s what I’ve come up with so far. First, what is an icon? The dictionary says it’s “an object of worship.” An icon originally was an actual physical artifact—a splinter of the original Cross, say, or an article of apparel once worn by a martyr or a saint. Worship could be directed at this object, as a stand-in or intermediary for some higher embodiment of the divine. (Some would call this idolatry, but let’s leave that alone…

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