Real Work – Steven Pressfield

Real work and real satisfaction come from the opposite of what the web provides. They come from going deep into something—the book you’re writing, the album, the movie—and staying there for a long, long time.

~Steven Pressfield

Steven Pressfield is a favorite author of mine. He’s the one who brought us the idea of “the resistance” in his book The War of Art, a book I try and read at least once a year.

This concept of going deep has been on my mind for a few years. I loved Cal Newport’s book Deep Work and highlighted it to death. But highlighting a book and implementing the principles it teaches you are two entirely different things.

(One is a few orders of magnitude harder as well…)

A goal I have for the new year and beyond is to stop spreading myself so thin with as many projects as I can think of, and instead going deep on one (maybe two) things.

I have a book I’m working on, a screenplay, a web series, and a website that I’m trying to get off the ground, and the only ones I’ve been able to make any meaningful progress on are the book and the screenplay, and only when I block out a few hours a day with no distractions – no phone, no internet, nothing – and going deep.

I want to do that more often, but I’m my own worst enemy. So, that in mind, I’m going to do much more creating and much less consuming going forward.

 

“Do Not Seek To Follow In The Footsteps Of The Wise, Seek What They Sought.”

This quote is from Matsuo Basho, the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. I heard it quoted by John August during an episode of the Scriptnotes podcast, one of my weekly must-listens.

It’s rare that I stop a podcast, rewind it, and transcribe it word for word, but this was one of those times. I had to pull over as I was driving at the time, but I knew this quote was important.

For the last ten years or so, most of my adult life I guess, I’ve been obsessed with reading non-fiction books. I think it stems to a false belief that somewhere, in one of these books, if I just read enough to find the right one, is the answer to all of my questions, and all of my problems. It must be there! The promises on the back covers of these books claimed to have the answers that I was seeking, who was I to doubt these blurbs from other famous authors?

This bit of wisdom from 400+ years ago just threw that belief out the window. I knew it didn’t work that way, yet I still persisted in my fruitless search.

If you posed a question I could probably tell you exactly what Tim Ferriss or Gary Vaynerchuk or Seth Godin would say, with proper and inflection and everything. It’s rather pathetic the amount of time I’ve spent listening to and reading the words of these guys, with not much to show for it.

I’m inferring a bit but I believe that this quote is saying that each of our paths will be different, and following the path of another won’t work. The path to enlightenment or knowledge or understanding or answers is to seek what they have sought. What were these authors after? What is it that we should be seeking?

With this new direction in mind, there are some changes I’m making in my life that will allow me to seek my own path and find what it is I’m looking for. If you’re like me, subscribed to too many email newsletters, with a backlog of books to get through, might I suggest you do the same.

Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise. Seek what they sought.

 

What Can You Accomplish In Two Weeks?

Yesterday my wife and three boys left for San Diego to house sit her sister’s house while they’re away (and to have a nice, southern California, lazy, beach summer vacation). I knew the trip was coming, but it wasn’t until earlier this week that I realized that they’d be gone for 16 days before I see them again.

The initial emotion was sadness, but it was quickly followed up by excitement and anticipation. Think about the potential! I can do so much more work! Continue reading What Can You Accomplish In Two Weeks?

Morning Routine

After two months away from the gym I finally started up a new 12 week program again today. 

As soon as I hit the gym at 5:30 I quickly remembered how much I miss the regimen of getting up and starting the day that way. There’s something awesome about getting up when it’s still dark outside and hitting a half empty gym. 

You’re part of the 1%. The few that have enough discipline to get up and get out the door. Something about it just makes you feel awesome. 

There’s a night and day difference between how your day goes when you start off with a routine, one that ultimately turns your mornings into habit so you can get on with your day easily. It’s huge to not have to fight with yourself to get up and get started, it’s like you reserve that energy for later on when you need it. 

Do you have a morning routine? What are the things you can’t do without in the mornings?

Consume / Create

I go back to this thought often: am I consuming too much?

Consumption can come in many forms – information (books, Ted talks, etc.), content (netflix, youtube), social media.

Life feels out of balance if we do too much consumption in relation to the amount of creating.

I tend to go back and forth in larger-than-necessary swings between consumption and creation. I wish I had a more consistent balance but it seems to be that I constantly push against the boundary of “too much” on either side.

If you find yourself blocked or stunted, take a step back and see if you’re out of balance, and need some recalibration.

Here’s What You Need To Get A Film Funded

A great script. 

A name actor. 

A name director. 

A realistic budget. 

A producer.  

Distribution. 

Someone willing to give you money. 
Seems pretty simple on paper, right?

It is, until you realize how difficult each step is. 

You think you have a great script. But do you? How have you validated it? What actors have signed on to your film because of it?

You may say you don’t need a name actor or director. But not having those things makes financing exponentially harder. That “$3-5 million dollar script” you have  now just became a $350-500k feature that you’re funding with friends and family money. 

Those quotes around “$3-5 million dollars” is pointing out the unrealistic-ness. That’s a MASSIVE range. $3.2-$3.5M – that’s a range. $3-5M is a pipe dream and is revealing your lack of knowledge. 

A producer is the one that looks at everything you have package wise and decides the path you’re going to take to get into production. They have the connections to financing, cast, and distribution that you need to make everything work. 

Oh, the last thing you need? The ability to take a step back, look at your situation, and realize where you need help. Failing that, you end up spending years treading water and making no progress, because you don’t have the perspective to know what you don’t know. That’s a scary–and ineffective–place to be.