Posts Tagged ‘steven pressfield’

“The War of Art” for-two-bucks sale is here!

I warned you last week and now it’s time. Get your credit card ready to pay a measly little $1.99 to get your electronic copy of Steven Pressfield’s phenominal book, The War of Art. It’s on sale today and tomorrow with a price spike after that so get in while the sale is good.

FastPencil offers the book in both .epub and .pdf formats. I’m still new to electronic books (I still don’t have a Kindle, though my relatively-new Droid X displays Kindle books, no sweat) and thought I may have more use for a .pdf file. At least, I know what I can do or not do with it and so that’s the route I went. If anyone wants to tell me why .epub is the better route to go, I’m all ears and willing to shell out another $1.99 for one of the most inspirational books about changing my life I’ve ever read.

Does that last sentence sell you, dear reader?



Focus on the story, not getting published

If you’re a young writer and you’re not reading Steven Pressfield‘s blog, particular on Wednesdays for his regular “Writing Wednesdays” segment, you’re doing your art a great disservice. He’s got plenty for we who are trying to improve our writing each week and it’s worth your time.

A couple weeks ago, Steven wrote a post entitled “The Crazier the Better” about a friend named Paul’s concern his writing was going to such dark places and he was so into it that the darkness was perpetuating itself and as a result, no publisher would ever want the book. Steven’s advice is to pursue the harder ideas, that is, the ideas that excite us and even if they seem crazy will likely make the most compelling stories. I couldn’t agree more and urge you to read more of Steven’s reaction to Paul’s (self-imposed) dilemma.

I’d add one other thought on why Paul should continue this writing he’s so caught up in, whether it’s dark or not. As Steven puts it, “He’s worried that the book will come out so evil, no one will want to touch it.” My advice: time spent writing should be spent on the story, not worrying about hypothetical publishing deals. It’s great to dream about publication and beyond – I certainly do it from time to time – and yet if I’m worrying about publication as I write the story then I’m not focusing on the right thing(s). This is, I think, especially true when writing a novel. If one is trying to finish a novel (sometimes the hardest thing for many a young writer to do – finish a novel), get those 300 pages printed or 50,000 words typed up or “The End” down on paper and then worry about whether some publishing house will buy it.

If it’s good, someone will buy it. No matter how “dark” it is.

What thoughts do you have? Leave them here and/or at Steven’s blog post.


Your Friday Recommendation #11

On Tuesday, Scrawlers sent an email to its users announcing its first contest, The War of Art Contest. One lucky writer will win a copy of today’s recommendation, The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.

Pressfield contends that everyone is creative, particularly in creating a subconscious (and likely conscious) level of resistance to their ability to achieve their creative goals. Not a pretty picture, huh? The War of Art confronts this issue and explores ways of getting around self-generated resistance. You might recognize this in yourself already – procrastination, justification, being a “thinker” and not a “doer.” Pressfield argues many people go through these sorts of self-defeating phases because they’re afraid of failure, or very possibly afraid of success. He pushes the reader to push themselves, to break their own cycle of creative blockage and push forward. In fact, the cover image could serve as a pictoral thesis statement: a single, beautiful flower, life pushing itself through a block of cold, hard stone. The achievement of creativity over everything which should prevent it from blossoming.

If that’s too abstract, Pressfield sums up his book with a great two-sentence thesis statement right at the top of the book: “It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write.” If you’ve ever tried to get serious about your writing craft, you know this is true.

This book is on my shelf as one of the Three White Books – three books on writing craft with white covers: The War of Art, The Elements of Style by William Strunk and E.B. White, and The Art of Fiction by John Gardner. This was the first book I had to read in my MFA program; Terry Davis made it the opening text for a class in Form & Technique in Prose and his recommendation of such a life-changing book is part of what makes me respect him so much as a writer, teacher and mentor (he also has around a thousand other great qualities, the least of which are not his charm and love of good story). In that classroom, I found myself in the unfortunate position of being the only student who said how much they enjoyed the book and got something out of it.

My clear recollection is being at home reading the book, really getting into it, and suddenly realizing I knew who Steven Pressfield was; he wrote The Legend of Bagger Vance, a film I’d studied in a Film & Religion course at the University of Wyoming. The film (and novel) uses the teachings of the Bhagavad Gita to help the main character focus and overcome his obstacles in a game of golf. The thing about this approach, however, is that it is all in the undertones, in the disguised way the Bagger Vance character coaches the young golf protege. There’s nothing overt about the spiritual or religious context, and I was not aware of Bhagavad Gita teachings until the post-film screening discussion. However, I recognized Pressfield was using the same sort of teachings in The War of Art and to great success, I might add. When I brought this up in class, those who had immediately dismissed the book dismissed it even further, hating that religion was being put upon them.

I found that unfortunate. This is a book to help writers break through their struggles to be as creative as they can be, and those fellow students wouldn’t have even known it used Bhagavad Gita teachings if I hadn’t said anything. To automatically dismiss it because their may be theology involved is willful ignorance, and if anything, that experience made me enjoy and appreciate the book even more.

I encourage you to write a story at Scrawlers and enter The War of Art Contest. If you don’t win a copy of The War of Art, it’s still worth seeking out on your own.