Steven Pressfield | Writing Lessons from the Master


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Steven Pressfield's newest book, Govt Cheese a memoir, must jump to the top of your reading list. Both gut-wrenching and laugh-out-loud funny, his brutally honest story is a compelling page-turner.

Steven's writing career spans many genres and formats, but it almost never materialized. From US Marine to advertising copywriter, schoolteacher, tractor-trailer driver, bartender, oilfield roustabout, mental hospital attendant, migrant fruit-picker, and hack screenwriter, his debut novel - The Legend of Bagger Vance - was 30 years in the making before it was published (later to become a major motion picture). Never content with one format, his non-fiction book The War of Art has now sold over a million copies globally & his historical fiction novel Gates of Fire is on the required reading list at West Point.

James and Steven touch upon all manner of concepts & credos during today's conversation, among them:

  • What role does advertising play in an author's toolkit? (00:06:10)
  • After writing 3 unpublished novels and 9 failed screenplays, what kept Steven motivated? (00:15:17)
  • Did Steven ever consider suicide? (00:16:43)
  • What breakthrough made Steven's books "publishable"? (00:19:13)
  • The 5 stages of creative development: Desire, Craft, Soft Skills, Finishing, and Killing the Ego (00:29:43)
  • The importance of mentorship (00:31:43)
  • What did Steven learn from re-writing a porn script? (00:47:04)
  • James' two classes of humans: "Writers" & "Birdwatchers" (00:56:02)
  • Belief in the other all-knowing dimension (01:02:08)


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