By Steven Pressfield | Published: June 6, 2012
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.
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:
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.