In today’s episode I’m welcoming back one of my all-time favorite guests, writer Steven Pressfield. Steven is the author of several popular novels including The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, and The Virtues of War. He’s also written several popular non-fiction books on the creative process, like Do the Work and The War of Art, which cover how to overcome what he calls “the Resistance.” Steve’s now got a new novel out called The Knowledge. It’s based on his early days as a writer in 1970s New York City and provides the backstory of how he learned to overcome the Resistance in his own life.
Today on the show, Steve and I discuss how the Resistance rears its ugly head in our lives and how to overcome it by transforming from an amateur to a professional. We then talk about Steve’s early days as a writer and the struggles he went through in becoming a pro.
If you are or someday hope to be a writer, artist, or entrepreneur, you’re going to love this episode. It’s filled with insights on the mindset you need to adopt in order to thrive in any endeavor.
- What the Resistance is
- The smaller, more insidious, not-so-obvious forms that Resistance takes
- How family and friends can sometimes actually pull you down
- The difference between an amateur and a pro
- How to make the leap from amateur to pro, in any avenue of life
- How closely Steven’s new book, The Knowledge, follows his real-life experience as an artist in the 70s
- The importance of role models
- The meaning of the title of the book, and how it applies to everyday life
- How seeking “the knowledge” can actually do us harm
- The benefits of being objective and even detached from your work
- The struggle to find success that can come even after you turn pro
- The Resistance that Steven faced in writing and publishing his novel The Legend of Bagger Vance
- Does Resistance ever go away with practice?
Resources/People/Articles Mentioned in Podcast
- The War of Art by Pressfield
- Turning Pro by Pressfield
- My first podcast interview with Steven
- The Fighter
- Inspiration is for Amateurs: How to Become a Creative Professional
- The World Belongs to Those Who Hustle
- The 5 Insanely Difficult Steps to Writing a Commercially-Published Novel
- The Knowledge in the Age of GPS
- Writing Wednesdays
If you’ve read The War of Art, you need to read The Knowledge so you can get the back story of how Steven developed his ideas of “the Resistance” and “turning pro.” Steven does a great job capturing 1970s New York. I felt like I was watching one of those gritty movies from the 70s like The French Connection while I was reading his novel.
Connect With Steven Pressfield
Black Irish Books — Steven’s publishing company
Listen to the Podcast! (And don’t forget to leave us a review!)
The Illustrated Art of Manliness. We’ve got a new book coming out this spring. It’s The Illustrated Art of Manliness: The Essential How-To Guide. We’ve taken some of our most popular illustrated guides we’ve published on the site and created a whole bunch of new ones, and put them in this handsome hardcover-bound book. Go to aom.is/illustrated to pre-order.
And thanks to Creative Audio Lab in Tulsa, OK for editing our podcast!
Recorded on ClearCast.io.
Read the Transcript