Steven Pressfield Blog
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.
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…
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.
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:
[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.]
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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