Writing Wednesdays

Writing Wednesdays

Announcing “Turning Pro”

By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 6, 2012

"Turning Pro" the follow-up to "The War of Art"

"Turning Pro" the follow-up to "The War of Art"

Finally, after more than a month of technical tweaking and re-jiggering, it is my great pleasure to announce that my follow-up to The War of Art—titled Turning Pro—is now available. Major thanks to our webmaster, Jeff Simon, for flying back from a movie set in London to pull all the loose ends together. And thanks to the friends of this site for their patience.

Shawn and I are publishing Turning Pro ourselves, under our new banner, Black Irish Books. The first press run is modest but until we run out, you can get a top-quality “first print” paperback from our new store by clicking the link below. The book is also available on Amazon, B&N and other online sites. There’s an audio version, read by me, and three different eBook editions as well.

Buy Turning Pro from Black Irish Books.

What is Turning Pro?

Turning Pro is a mate to The War of Art.  It’s about the transition from wannabe/part-time/half-assed, “aspiring” artist and entrepreneur … to the real thing, a working pro.

The book addresses the meaning of this transition (emotionally and spiritually as well as commercially), how and why it takes place, and what the stakes are for all of us and for our futures.

I think you’ll like it.

Here are the first two chapters, to give you the flavor:


TURNING PRO

BOOK ONE    THE AMATEUR LIFE

1. THE HUMAN CONDITION

The Daily Show reported recently that scientists in Japan had invented a robot that is capable of recognizing its own reflection in a mirror.

“When the robot learns to hate what it sees,” said Jon Stewart, “it will have achieved full humanity.”

2. THREE MODELS OF SELF-TRANSFORMATION

When we hate our lives and ourselves, two models present themselves as modes of salvation.

The first is the therapeutic model. In the therapeutic model, we are told (or we tell ourselves) that we are “sick.” What ails us is a “condition” or a “disease.”

A condition or a disease may be remedied by “treatment.”

Right now we are “ill.” After treatment, we will be “well.” Then we will be happy and will be able to function productively in society and in the world.

That’s one way of looking at our troubles.

The second way is the moralistic model. The moralistic model is about good and evil. The reason we are unhappy, we are told (or tell ourselves) is that we have done something “wrong.” We have committed a “crime” or a “sin.”

In some versions of the moralistic model, we don’t even have to have done anything wrong. The human being, we are told, was born wrong.

The answer to the condition of wrongness is punishment and penance. When we have “served our sentence” and “atoned for our sins,” we will be “pardoned” and “released.” Then we will be happy and will be able to function productively in society and in the world.

This book proposes a third model.

The model this book proposes is the model of the amateur and the professional.

The thesis of this book is that what ails you and me has nothing to do with being sick or being wrong. What ails us is that we are living our lives as amateurs.

The solution, this book suggests, is that we turn pro.

Turning pro is free, but it’s not easy. You don’t need to take a course or buy a product. All you have to do is change your mind.

Turning pro is free, but it’s not without cost. When we turn pro, we give up a life with which we may have become extremely comfortable. We give up a self that we have come to identify with and to call our own. We may have to give up friends, lovers, even spouses.

Turning pro is free, but it demands sacrifice. The passage is often accompanied by an interior odyssey whose trials are survived only at great cost, emotionally, psychologically, and spiritually. We pass through a membrane when we turn pro. It hurts. It’s messy and it’s scary. We tread in blood when we turn pro.

Turning pro is not for everyone. We have to be a little crazy to do it, or even to want to. In many ways the passage chooses us; we don’t choose it. We simply have no alternative.

What we get when we turn pro is, we find our power. We find our will and our voice and we find our self-respect. We become who we always were but had, until then, been afraid to embrace and to live out.

Do you remember where you were on 9/11? You’ll remember where you were when you turn pro.

Posted in Writing Wednesdays

48 Responses to “Announcing “Turning Pro””

  1. yvon
    June 6, 2012 at 3:43 am

    I grab my pdf copy !

    cheers from France

  2. June 6, 2012 at 5:10 am

    “Turning pro is free, but it demands sacrifice…It hurts. It’s messy and it’s scary. We tread in blood when we turn pro.”

    And that’s the difference between pros and amateurs!

  3. June 6, 2012 at 5:11 am

    It seems like the French are “en masse” on this one… I grabbed my copy too :)

    • yvon
      June 7, 2012 at 6:30 am

      :)

  4. June 6, 2012 at 5:44 am

    Got mine!
    From one “Blue Collar” artist to another… thank you!

  5. June 6, 2012 at 5:53 am

    I am so exited to read this! War of Art had a huge impact on my thought process as I work and I cannot wait to read Turning Pro. Thank you for writing these two books. I go back to War of Art often and I know I will do the same with this one.

    • June 6, 2012 at 6:08 am

      I’m so excited, that I can’t even spell the word. ;)

  6. June 6, 2012 at 5:54 am

    Downloading the audio and have ordered a paperback souvenir.

    I’ve been eagerly awaiting for this for a while – Thank you!

    Now I’m getting back to work. :)

  7. Basilis
    June 6, 2012 at 6:21 am

    So here it is…

  8. June 6, 2012 at 6:26 am

    Even before reading the blogpost, I bought the book. I went with ebook format because I couldn’t wait for delivery. Much success to Black Irish Press. (Let us know when you’re open to submissions. :)

    Hmm, if I order a print version, will you (both?) sign it. I think I’ll order one regardless.

    Exciting, good stuff.

  9. Ricky
    June 6, 2012 at 9:29 am

    Tried my best to order the two books with no success. Processing order mistakes. I tried twice and gave up.

    R

    • June 6, 2012 at 11:34 am

      Hi Ricky,

      Sorry to hear you are having trouble.
      I’ve gifted you the eBook and Audio editions on the us. If you send up a shipping address, we’ll get you a paperback right away.

      Any information you could give re: the website(exact error message or screenshots would be the best) would be greatly appreciated. We will be constantly working to improve the user experience. Support messages can be sent to support@blackirishbooks.com.

      Thanks.
      Jeff

  10. roy
    June 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

    why do I need to create an account just to buy the book? I have a paypal account dont you want my money?

    • June 6, 2012 at 11:36 am

      Hi Roy,

      I understand your frustration. We require accounts when purchasing books because much of what we sell is digital. This allows you to come back to the site and re-download a copy of your purchase in the event of a computer crash, etc.

      If you’d prefer, TURNING PRO is on sale at Amazon and B&N as well.

      Thanks.
      Jeff

  11. June 6, 2012 at 9:47 am

    I’m a huge fan of “The War of Art,” “Do The Work” and this blog. I have no doubt this book will rock. Ordering right now. Thanks for inspiring us, Steven.

  12. Jasvir Samrai
    June 6, 2012 at 9:53 am

    Congratulations. Considering your past remarks about your new book I am sure Seth Godin would have said ‘you got through the Dip’. Sign of a true Pro.
    With kind regards
    Jasvir Samrai
    PS Just ordered your work.

  13. June 6, 2012 at 9:55 am

    I’m old,broke,lonely,unfulfilled,Irish,use to laugh,cry,fight,drink,sing everyday and now I can’t even afford a copy of “Turning Pro”. I AM slap in the middle.That would be LIMBO– I am the consummate Amateur.I AM the walking human condition robot stuck in the Netherworlds,the therapeutic model,the moralistic model,the ‘what have you?’,'I’ve had it’ and I’ve had too much–if that incredible HULK dude is also Irish and green,drunk and sad,not happy but not miserable,HE aint got shit on me and what i been through!Jails,Institutions,heartbreak,death,taxes,lunacy,etc-Never stop painful joyous cross bearing,dragon slaying American groveling and despairing- Steven Pressfeild is MY ALEXANDER–I will drink the wine of Victory with him one day or at least he’ll share a taste when I get ‘out of here’ and get a copy.I hurting BAD but I gots me amateur dreams!

  14. June 6, 2012 at 10:08 am

    Just snagged my Kindle copy from Amazon! Thanks for taking my money!

  15. Jareth
    June 6, 2012 at 10:55 am

    Ordered an old school, paper and ink copy this morning. Can’t wait to read it and put it to use.

  16. June 6, 2012 at 11:01 am

    Thanks for this Steven, Shawn, Callie, and Jeff. It is a difference maker.

    I want a shirt that says, “F*ck the marshmallows.”

  17. skip
    June 6, 2012 at 12:13 pm

    as always, 110% accurate…i know that because i was a pro athlete (that was fun!), a pro on wall street (that used to be fun), and a pro writer (best fun of all!)…i know its a huge gap between amateur and pro…and i know passion is the key…..thnx, steve !!!

  18. baldmountain
    June 6, 2012 at 12:28 pm

    Hi,

    I bought the ebook of “Turning Pro” and started reading. Since you are getting into publishing you may want to have a look at:

    http://informationarchitects.net/blog/Improving-the-Digital-Reading-Experience/

    They have put a huge amount of thought into reading on electronic devices. The ePub of Turning Pro is a bit hard to read. The font is not good and the lines are too close together. (Sorry for the criticism, but I’m getting picky about this…)

    geoff

  19. June 6, 2012 at 12:36 pm

    Congratulations! This is huge. Thanks so much for producing this work, Steve, and for making it available via Black Irish Books. Awesome!

    As for the “third way,” I’m not so convinced that it is entirely separate from the “moral way,” and more than a few authors have written as much along the way. A good example being this quote attributed to Met. Kallistos Ware in Sobornost and quoted by Madeleine L’Engle in Walking on Water: Reflections on Faith and Art:

    “…an abstract composition by Kandinsky or Van Gogh’s landscape of the cornfield with birds…is a real instance of divine transfiguration, in which we see matter rendered spiritual and entering into the ‘glorious liberty of the children of God.’ This remains true, even when the artist does not personally believe in God. Provided he is an artist of integrity, he is a genuine servant of the glory which he does not recognize, and unknown to himself there is ‘something divine’ about his work. We may rest confident that at the last judgment the angels will produce his works of art as testimony on his behalf.”

    I feel that a large part of turning pro is accepting the hard fact that tapping into “something divine” with our art comes with a price — of toil and sweat and doing the work. That not owning up to the work and not using our gift is a sin, and that putting in the effort and work and accepting the painful dings is a compensatory penance which allows us to “rise above” our natural, fallen state.

    I wouldn’t necessarily bother mentioning this if it was just my observation, but seeing as Dorothy Sayers and Flannery O’connor thought along these same lines, it might be worth keeping in mind…

  20. June 6, 2012 at 2:20 pm

    I’ve been waiting for these words of wisdom, Steven & Shawn! My (print) copy is on order and I can’t wait to read it.

    Best of luck to Turning Pro & Black Irish…

    Cheers!
    Valerie aka “Commando”

  21. KP
    June 6, 2012 at 2:55 pm

    Hi Steven,

    purchased your book and put it onto my kindle without a hitch.

    Thank you for being one of the best teachers around. In the War of Art you talked about angels; I’m pretty sure that your encouraging voice is a similar helpful force for a lot of struggling people. Like me.

    KP

  22. June 6, 2012 at 4:20 pm

    Whoohoo!!! Got it on Kindle and into it straight away and the ‘ambition’ story proved what I already know, that this book – like War of Art will be a life- changer. Pressfield corners me like a eagle-eyed drill seargent as I squirm inside knowing he’s right again! Thanks Steve!

  23. gs
    June 6, 2012 at 4:21 pm

    Steven,

    1. My trading algorithm recently failed the very last test it had to pass to be marketable.

    My first thought was to smash my computers and do something self-damaging. My second thought was that I quite possibly might not have gotten this close without War of Art’s elucidation of Resistance. My third thought was that War of Art explicitly anticipates a debacle at the threshold of success.

    The algorithm’s failure is catastrophic but subtle, and the diagnostic process is more laborious than developing the algorithm was. But I’ve started.

    2. Count on me for a copy of Turning Pro. Have you considered offering a discount for a joint purchase of a paper and e-copy? Just a thought.

    • June 7, 2012 at 3:25 pm

      gs, I love that story — even though it must be a killer on you. So true though. But the breakthrough will be even more satisfying when it comes. And yeah, we’re working on those bundling discounts. But, like your last-minute algorithm, making PayPal work is all we can handle at the moment!

  24. June 6, 2012 at 4:55 pm

    Just downloaded and read Turning Pro! Thank you Steven Pressfield!

  25. June 6, 2012 at 5:53 pm

    SO EXCITED! War of Art changed my life, and I couldn’t ask for a better follow-up book than one that will actually help me with my professional writing life.

    Thanks for all you do.

  26. jenn
    June 6, 2012 at 7:31 pm

    I recommend The War of Art to everyone who will listen…just ordered my copy of Turning Pro on Amazon. I am both excited and scared to get my hands on it.:)

  27. June 7, 2012 at 4:40 am

    Thrilled to hear of the new arrival, and have ordered my e-book version (sorry, had to do it through Amazon, but I hope you get a couple of cents out of the deal). Here at Godstow Press we wish Black Irish Books a great future – life as an indie is the only way to go.

  28. June 7, 2012 at 6:17 am

    Congratulations. Independence is a good thing, just in time for the 4th!

  29. yvon
    June 7, 2012 at 6:46 am

    I have just finished the book. It’s beautiful.
    Thanks.

    “The addict seeks to escape the pain of being human in one
    of two ways—by transcending it or by anesthetizing it.”

  30. June 7, 2012 at 9:51 am

    Congratulations! I’m looking forward to reading it. By the way, I have decided to assign The War of Art as required reading for all my personal training clients.

    • June 7, 2012 at 3:27 pm

      Thanks, Jen. Make ‘em get it from Black Irish!

  31. June 7, 2012 at 5:10 pm

    I immediately bought a copy on Kindle when I heard about its release yesterday, and gobbled it down last night. As with The War of Art and Do the Work, I appreciated not only the masterful writing, but also the message.

    Strangely enough, I had been exploring the themes of ritual and addiction in my own writing lately, and was astonished as, sentence after sentence, Turning Pro dovetailed neatly with the ideas I had already been rolling around and around in my mind for weeks.

    Thank you so much for releasing it to the world.

    MLG

  32. June 7, 2012 at 5:27 pm

    Thank you. Another book to keep me moving forward! (FYI I had no problems purchasing the paperback copy from your site. )

  33. June 8, 2012 at 7:44 am

    I just read my copy… this book is a required wake up call for those artists who are “just thinking about it” versus the ones who actually “do it for a living.”

    Thank you for the excellent work Steven.

  34. John P. Walsh
    June 8, 2012 at 11:51 am

    Steven: I keep the War of Art close by and refer to it often. I know I’ll do the same with Turning Pro. I just read another book that I highly commend to you because it seems to fit nicely with your philosophy, it’s called The Tools by Phil Stutz, M.D. and Barry Michaels, Ph.D. You work has been a real inspiration to me.

    John

  35. June 8, 2012 at 5:12 pm

    Looking forward to reading this.

  36. June Inuzuka
    June 11, 2012 at 1:11 pm

    Just bought the book off Black Irish website. I wanted to support alternative press. I did not want to get sidetracked (resistance) by having it immediately via download so am patiently waiting for it to arrive. The war of art got me off my butt and down to writing after years of total surrender and defeat to “R.” I’m ready to march through blood and guts to turn pro.

  37. June 24, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    I am a fan!

    Looking forward to discovering more about “Turning Pro”.

    Robert

  38. June 30, 2012 at 4:17 pm

    Steven, great freaking book! Loved it… As a new fan I will definitely be picking up The War of Art next…understanding that I’m reading it in backwards sequence. :)

  39. July 14, 2012 at 8:33 am

    I was wondering if there are any plans afoot to sell Turning Pro on amazon.ca? I really want to buy a copy of this, but paying more in delivery charges than the actual price of the book is a bummer.

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  41. November 15, 2012 at 6:09 am

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  42. Dan
    November 23, 2012 at 7:12 pm

    I keep reading that Turning Pro is free, but can’t seem to find it free anywhere. What gives?