Writing Wednesdays

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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On Research, Or What I Learned from a Single Sheet of Fool’s Cap

By Steven Pressfield | 10 Comments

I’ve been lucky in my career in having a few really terrific mentors–just guys who’ve taught me stuff about writing and work. The best is Norman Stahl, the cosmically brilliant documentarian, novelist and military historian. Do you know people who’ve got a lot of bullshit? Norm has the least of anybody I’ve ever known. In fact I would say Norm has absolutely NO bullshit. Here’s one thing he told me:

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The Nature of Epiphanies

By Steven Pressfield | 9 Comments

[This is “Writing Wednesdays,” #3. Our winner–of a signed copy of The War of Art–is David Cutshall. Here’s the fave quote he sent in: “Our job in this lifetime is not to shape ourselves into some idea of what we imagine we ought to be, but to find out who we already are and become it.” Thanks, David! The following takes off from there.]

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"Writing Wednesdays": An Experiment

By Steven Pressfield | 21 Comments

I’m going to try something new on Wednesdays from now on, which is to post pieces that are not about tribalism or Afghanistan, but about writing. This is #1. The subject is professionalism. If you’ve read my book The War of Art, you know that I view professionalism not only as an asset and obligation commercially and artistically (or even as a sign of respect for yourself and your readers), but almost as a spiritual practice. It’s my mantra and my touchstone. It has saved my life, personally as well as professionally.

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