By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 30, 2010
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?
Jack Kerouac. He's cute, but ...
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 means is that artists and entrepreneurs are a little crazy. They hear music that the rest of us don’t. And sometimes the pursuit of that music carries them apart from their kinder, gentler selves. We must exercise great patience when we love artists. They are driven by forces that they don’t understand and cannot control.
2) Writers live in their heads.
What is fun to normal people—sky-diving, say; a weekend in Aruba—means nothing to your writer. Her fun is in her head. An epic is playing on the big screen and she is taking dictation as fast and furiously as she can. “When I work, I relax,” said Picasso. “Doing nothing … makes me tired.” (more…)
By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 23, 2010
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.
"Yo, Adrian! Check this out!"
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 method. It works for anything–novels, plays, new-business pitches, music albums, choreography. It works if you’re Lady Gaga, it works if you’re Mother Teresa. (more…)
By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 18, 2010
I was introduced to Sunni Brown via the visual book summaries she did of The War of Art. I’ve read different things people have written about the book in the past, but this was the first visual. And it blew my mind. I’ve talked about doing a “2.0” version of The War of Art in the past. Sunni’s work introduced me to what one part of 2.0 might look like—kind of like going from living in the first dimension book world to the fourth dimension multi-media world, where we work on multiple “planes.” On her site, there’s a quote about Sunni, along the lines of her having that name for a reason. We haven’t met in person, but that quote sounds about right. Her work is sunny, too—it makes you smile and shines a light on alternate perspectives. Read more about Sunni in her bio below. (more…)