Writing Wednesdays

Gravitational Fields

By Steven Pressfield | 6 Comments

How do you get a project started? Sometimes the thoughts in our head are so scattered, we don’t know where to begin. Here’s a trick that my friend Paul Abbott taught me: Just start.

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Major Jim Gant

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

Because of the response to Monday’s posting of Major Jim Gant’s paper One Tribe At A Time, I’d like to keep the post “above the fold” all week, and run a shorter “Writing Wednesdays” post this week. The focus? Resistance and Major Gant.  

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The Most Important Writing Lesson I Ever Learned

By Steven Pressfield | 64 Comments

My first real job was in advertising. I worked as a copywriter for an agency called Benton & Bowles in New York City. An artist or entrepreneur’s first job inevitably bends the twig. It shapes who you’ll become. If your freshman outing is in journalism, your brain gets tattooed (in a good way) with who-what-where-when-why, fact-check-everything, never-bury-the-lead. If you start out as a photographer’s assistant, you learn other stuff. If you plunge into business on your own, the education is about self-discipline, self-motivation, self-validation. Advertising teaches its own lessons. For starters, everyone hates advertising. Advertising lies. Advertising misleads. It’s evil,…

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Self-Talk and Self-Sabotage

By Steven Pressfield | 14 Comments

If you’ve read The War of Art, you know that the thematic core of the book is the concept of Resistance. Resistance with a capital R, which the book defines as “an energy field radiating from a work-in-potential. It’s a repelling force. It’s negative. Its aim is to shove us away, distract us, prevent us from doing our work.” Resistance is what keeps an entrepreneur from making the cold calls he knows he has to, to get his business rolling. It’s the force that keeps an aspiring painter away from her studio, or makes a writer back off from the…

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The Universe is Self-Ordering

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

Chaos. The Big Bang. Crap flying everywhere. Imagine ourselves back at the beginning of time. The universe is raw energy, blasting at light-speed in all directions. (Stay with me, this is going somewhere). What happens? As time passes, electrons coalesce around nuclei. Molten matter cools; stars and planets form into spheres. Celestial objects find paths and settle into orbits. The gravity of one star system counteracts the fields of others. Galaxies appear. Order emerges.

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Sex Scenes

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

I once did a rewrite on a porn flick. Before I began, the producer wanted to get together with me, to give me my marching orders and to make sure that I didn’t slow the project down by making avoidable rookie mistakes. We met for breakfast at a coffee shop in Santa Monica. In that meeting, I got two of the best lessons in writing I’ve ever received. Why porn is so bad

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“Just Show Up”

By Steven Pressfield | 8 Comments

Patricia Madson taught Improv in the Drama Department at Stanford for years. Students would kill to get into her class. My friend Victoria Labalme has told me of racing across campus more than once, frantic not to be late. Once the door closed, it stayed closed. Professionals only!

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What the Muse Wants

By Steven Pressfield | 12 Comments

The issue that comes up more than any other among aspiring artists and entrepreneurs is this: “How can we chase our dream when we’ve got kids, a job, demands and deadlines? How do we find the time, the self-discipline and the energy when we’re dealing with all this real stuff in the real world?” The Muse can be a tough taskmistress. But she does have one soft spot, if we know where to look.

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Personal Anguish

By Steven Pressfield | 15 Comments

Have you seen Elizabeth Gilbert at TED? The video has become a bit of a sensation on the web and if you watch it, you’ll see why. Ms. Gilbert is the author of Eat, Pray, Love. TED stands for Technology, Entertainment, Design; it’s a nonprofit organization that brings together speakers from the arts and sciences and politics several times a year. Ms. Gilbert’s talk was a hit at the most recent get-together. She was talking about the enormous and unexpected (to her) success of Eat, Pray, Love and how she was struggling with the pressure to follow the book up…

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The Writer’s Voice

By Steven Pressfield | 13 Comments

How do you find your writer’s voice? A lot of humbug has been written on this subject. The myth is that in finding that voice, the writer achieves a kind of personal enlightenment. She discovers “who she really is.” Not in my experience.

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