Search Results: resistance

“B” Speaks for “A”

By Steven Pressfield |

Quick announcement… For years, people have asked me, “When are you going to do an in-person speaking gig about The War of Art, Resistance, etc.?” I’ve always said no. But a part of me never stopped thinking, “Well, maybe one day … “ Short version: That day has come. It’ll be an intimate event, informal, just one day — September 15 in Nashville. I’m going to talk about the artist’s inner world (or at least my own), the self-discipline, the source of creativity, and the interior war that we all have to fight to bring our books and ideas into…

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Write the Book You Can’t Write

By Steven Pressfield |

I know (from letters and e-mails sent in) that many readers of this blog are published writers, even multiply-published writers, as well as successful artists and entrepreneurs of all kinds. If you’re one of them (and even if you aren’t), for sure you can look back on certain successes you’ve had and say to yourself, “How did I ever do that?” How did I write Braveheart? Where did I find the guts to launch Yoyodyne? Two answers come to mind. “I was so desperate I had no other choice” Or “I was too dumb to know I couldn’t do it.”…

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The Understory

By Steven Pressfield |

  Editors call it “narrative drive.” Writers want it. Readers need it. How do you get it? One way is by skillful use of an Understory. One of my favorite scenes in movies of the past few years is the Frozen Park Bench scene in the first of the Jason Bourne movies—The Bourne Identity. To refresh your memory:   It’s early in the story. We’ve met Jason Bourne (Matt Damon) and learned that he is a young man who has lost his memory. He doesn’t know who he is. He’s an American on his own in Europe, specifically Zurich (where…

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Art and Polarity

By Shawn Coyne |

From the archives, via June 20, 2012. The other day I overhead this conversation: Man #1: “I ran into Frank Smith (not his real name) at the beach yesterday…” Man #2: “Isn’t that the guy who cheated on his wife, got a DWI, and said all of those nasty things about Jill’s daughter in law?” Man #1: “…Well…yes…but I try not to judge.” I run into this “I don’t judge” stuff a lot and it infuriates me on many levels. But as this is a blog about what it takes to create art, I’ll just address why this “moral position”…

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Introducing Black Irish JABs

By Steven Pressfield |

For those who can’t wait, here’s the link to get the full story. (Oh, and before I forget, there’s a great Black Irish baseball cap that comes along with the JABs.) But let’s back up first to say what Black Irish JABs are, and how you can use them. How do you learn to write? I mean really. How does an aspiring artist of any kind (or even an accomplished pro) get her ideas onto paper? How does she tell her stories? How does she make it all work? The standard prescription is read read read and write write write.…

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Reinforcement and Self-Reinforcement

By Steven Pressfield |

Let me start with an overstatement: For writers and artists, the ability to self-reinforce is more important than talent. What exactly is reinforcement? It’s when your coach or your mentor or your spouse tugs you aside and tells you how well you are doing, and how proud of you they are, and how certain ultimate success is if you just keep doing what you’re doing. That’s reinforcement. What’s self-reinforcement? It’s when you do the exact same thing for yourself. Let me rephrase my original overstatement by quoting my (fictional) literary agent, 96-year-old Marty Fabrikant: “Talent is bullshit. I seen a…

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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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Ins and Outs in a Love Story

By Steven Pressfield |

Remember The Way We Were, the 1973 blockbuster starring-vehicle for Barbra Streisand and Robert Redford? The theme song, sung by Babs, won an Oscar; the film itself was rated by AFI as #6 on the list of Greatest Love Stories of All Time. But let’s focus, you and I, on the THEME and how it is expressed in the Opening and Closing Images. Remember our third rule of In and Outs Club: The opening and closing images must be on-theme. The In to The Way We Were is the titles sequence. It’s a montage of quick scenes of students at…

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Self-doubt is Good

By Steven Pressfield |

  Last night for some reason I found myself thinking about my darkest hours as a writer. The period lasted about ten years, more if I include a contiguous stretch where I was too paralyzed to write at all. Was it Resistance? Was that the foe? No. The enemy was self-doubt. Or put another way, lack of self-belief. I may be wrong but I have a feeling that’s the Big Enemy for all of us. In a way, Resistance is self-doubt. That’s the form it takes. That’s the weapon it uses against us. But self-doubt somehow transcends Resistance. It stands…

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A New System

By Callie Oettinger |

Last week’s “What It Takes” post was about Systems.  A new one was left out. Black Irish Books turned to Vellum before the release of The Artist’s Journey by Steve and Running Down a Dream by Tim Grahl. (Thank you Joanna Penn for the recommendation.)

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