Steven Pressfield Blog

Write What You Don’t Know

[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…

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Specking It

[The blog is on the road this week.  Herewith: a re-run of one of the best-received posts, “Specking It.”  Back next week!] I moved from New York to Hollywood in the mid-eighties. This was the era of the “spec script”–a concept that has been of great use to me on many fronts beyond screenwriting. It might help you too.

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The Uses of Shame

Shame is good. Shame is a tremendous weapon against Resistance. Along with habit, momentum, aspiration, anger, eros and joy, shame can be a mighty ally in the never-ending guerrilla campaign against self-sabotage.

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Write For a Star

“Write for a star” is one of the primal axioms of screenwriting, but it has applications across many other fields as well. What does it mean to write for a star? Writing for a star means create a role that a star wants to play. Your story may be dynamite, your structure may be sound, your theme profound and involving. But the first question a producer is going to ask is, “Who can I cast in this thing?”

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Depth of Work

This is a topic I plan to address in a series of posts over the next few weeks. But first I want to thank every correspondent who took the time to write in response to last week’s “Help!” post. As I type this, we’ve had 69 Comments. This is absolutely amazing, and I thank everybody. Particularly for the detail of the responses. It really helps me. I’m traveling this week and the next so I won’t be able to send out signed “War of Arts” yet in gratitude, but I will as soon as I can. Gracias, everybody, for the…

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“You Gotta Be Great!”

There’s a theme to all of these Writing Wednesdays posts, and the theme is Resistance: what it is, how it attacks us, how we can beat it. Here’s an insight that struck me with blamm-o impact last week: I was in Washington, D.C., with Maj. Jim Gant of the U.S. Army Special Forces and Chief Ajmal Khan Zazai, a tribal chief from Paktia province in Afghanistan. We were speaking on the subject of “tribal engagement”—a new military/cultural strategy for Afghanistan—at the Naval Academy, Marine Corps University and several think tanks. (If you’re at all curious about this, click on “One Tribe…

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Robert McKee's "StoryLogue": A New Resource for Writers

Full disclosure: Bob McKee and I are good friends (and his video interview with me is part of the package I’m about to tell you about.) So be aware please, the following does NOT pretend to be impartial or objective.

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Sticking Points

Have you ever hit the wall? I have. Over and over. On any project–I don’t care how dazzlingly it starts out–inevitably the truck runs into a lake of goo. Here’s what I’ve learned about sticking points.

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Giving It Away

I know Giving It Away is supposed to work as a web marketing strategy, bringing in new customers. (Like when rock bands offer free downloads of their songs and the new listeners then go out and buy the group’s CDs or attend their concerts.) I’ve tried this. I must confess that so far the only part I’ve mastered is giving it away. But there’s one gentleman who really knows how to do this crazy new thing and actually make it work.

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Having A Practice

Last Wednesday I wrote a post called “Self-Doubt.” It shared a rough patch I was going through on the book I’m working on now. I put it out there because I wanted other writers and artists (who know this already but perhaps needed a little reminder, as I do) to remember that they aren’t alone when they themselves struggle with this demon. People wrote in. I want to say thanks to all of them, to those friends and trench-mates who said thanks and who offered me encouragement. I appreciate it. It meant a lot to me.

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On sale now in paperback, eBook , and audiobook.

do the work book banner 1


Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.



Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers— advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.



Read this one first.
It identifies the enemy—what I call Resistance with a capital “R,” i.e. fear, self-doubt, procrastination, perfectionism, all the forms of self-sabotage—that stop us from doing our work and realizing our dreams.
Start here.
Everything else proceeds from this.



Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"



A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.

do the work book banner 1


Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.