Writing Wednesdays

Icons and Iconization

By Steven Pressfield |

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…

Read More

Start Before You’re Ready

By Steven Pressfield |

In the past few weeks we’ve put up a couple of posts—“Cover the Canvas” and “Start at the End”—that seem like advice on the subject of writing. They aren’t. They’re about beating Resistance. A number of the principles that work against Resistance are counter-intuitive. They seem to make no sense, but in fact their logic is impeccable. Here’s one that’s worked for me many times: Start Before You’re Ready. Don’t wait till you’ve got your ducks in a row. Dive in now. Have you ever asked a friend who’s an artist or entrepreneur how they’re doing on a project you…

Read More

Loving A Writer

By Steven Pressfield |

Are you in love with a writer? Are you sure about this? Sure you don’t want to try someone easier on your heart, like a bull rider, a Black Ops commando or a motorcycle stuntman? Herewith, from painful experience, a few guidelines for those who have given their hearts to servants of the literary Muse. (The following observations apply equally, of course, to actors, artists, musicians, comedians, entrepreneurs and all others of this particularly unruly stripe). Please, lovers, keep the following in mind: 1) Writers are not normal. E.L. Doctorow calls writing “a socially acceptable form of schizophrenia.” What he…

Read More

Start At The End

By Steven Pressfield |

Last week we were talking about first drafts (Cover the Canvas, 6/9/10). The idea was to get Draft #1 done from beginning to end, no matter what, even if it wasn’t perfect. The reason? Because once we’ve got a first draft, we’re re-writing, not writing. Writing is too freakin’ hard. The obvious next question (or maybe it’s the preceding question) is: “Okay, but how do we decide what’s in the first draft?” Work from back to front Here’s a principle that screenwriters use: Start at the end. Begin with the climax, then work backwards. I’m a big fan of this…

Read More

Cover the Canvas

By Steven Pressfield |

Is the first draft the hardest? Is it different from a third draft, or a twelfth? Does a first draft possess unique challenges that we have to attack in a one-of-a-kind way? Yes, yes and yes. First drafts are killers A first draft is different from (and more difficult than) all subsequent drafts because in a first draft we’re filling the blank page. And we know what that means: Resistance. Here’s my mantra for first drafts. Cover the canvas. What that means is get something done from A to Z, no matter how imperfect.  A first draft doesn’t have to…

Read More

Second Act Problems

By Steven Pressfield |

I’m reading a terrific book by David Mamet called Three Uses of the Knife. It’s not a play or a novel, it’s a treatise on the subject of drama. There’s some great stuff in it, particularly in the section Mamet calls “Second Act Problems,” that we as writers, artists, entrepreneurs (and just plain human beings) can profit from. All writers know: Act One is easy. You come up with some crazy idea and heave it against the wall. Act Three isn’t that hard either. We’ve figured out where we’re going; we just tromp on the accelerator and go there. Ah,…

Read More

Write What You Don’t Know

By Steven Pressfield |

[Writing Wednesdays is taking a break this week. Here’s a favorite from last year. ] Probably the most classic kernel of writing advice is “Write What You Know.” On the surface, that seems to make a lot of sense, and I’m sure it has worked for thousands and thousands of writers. It didn’t work for me. When I was a beginning writer I had two literary heroes: Jack Kerouac and Ernest Hemingway. A lot of aspiring writers in my era had those guys as heroes. Kerouac and Hemingway weren’t so much my heroes for what they wrote (though that was…

Read More

Do It Anyway

By Steven Pressfield |

This is an important post. I say that because this piece addresses (after procrastination, which is the #1 champ), the single greatest excuse/reason/cop-out that prevents aspiring writers, artists and entrepreneurs from taking action to pursue their dreams. That excuse is, “First I have to _____________.” “___________” can be anything from “finish my research” to “pay the rent” to “get rid of my slacker boyfriend.” I’m not saying such excuses can’t be real or serious.

Read More

Training

By Steven Pressfield |

A few years ago, I got it into my head that I wanted to run a marathon.  The experience turned out to be a life-changer, not so much for the race itself (though that was pretty great too) as for the training that built up to it. I live in Los Angeles. There was a hospital downtown, Orthopaedic Hospital, that was offering a free six-month training program leading up to the L.A. Marathon. Classes met once a week, Sunday morning. Each session was on a different subject—hydration, footwear, “hitting the wall,” etc.  Probably 400 runners became regulars. The program helped…

Read More

Is Writing Fun?

By Steven Pressfield |

Let’s kick off this new site on an unequivocal note: Yes, writing is fun! You might think I’d be the last person to make such a statement, given the hardcore, iron-discipline ethic of The War of Art and my endlessly-reiterated doctrine of the struggle between Will and Resistance. But yeah, for me, writing is fun. I love it.

Read More

FREE MINI COURSE

Start with this War of Art [27-minute] mini-course. It's free. The course's five audio lessons will ground you in the principles and characteristics of the artist's inner battle.

Something went wrong. Please check your entries and try again.