“The sure sign of an amateur is he has a million plans and they all start tomorrow.”


“When we turn pro everything becomes simple. . . We plan our activities in order to accomplish an aim. . . This changes our day completely.”


“When Stevie Wonder sits down in the studio at his piano, he’s not there to mess around. He’s there to work.”


“There was a red-headed cat who used to come around sometimes when I lived in that house in the country. He was a battle-scarred old tom who lived in the woods. The cat would materialize and sit across from me while I ate. I tried to toss him scraps of meat from time to time, but he wouldn’t take them. He was nobody’s pet. He became a role model for me.”


“The professional accepts no excuses

The professional plays it as it lays.

The professional shows up every day.”


Best reading for:  People who are trying to get up the guts to go freelance.  And freelancers who are itching and burning to bust out of the minor leagues, and do work that matters. Steven Pressfield is a novelist and screenwriter. He has fought the battle. Read his blog every Wednesday at stevenpressfield.com.

The big idea:  There is a huge, yawning gap between how amateurs think, and how pros think. Being pro is not merely about making a living at your craft. Being pro is a mindset, a way of approaching your work that frees you to do remarkable stuff that matters. But it’s scary. And it’s hard. Which is why most people don’t do it.

Skip it if you are looking for formulas, to-do lists, daily exercises, nine ways to achieve mastery, six ways to reach your goals. This is not the usual self-help happy talk. Pressfield cuts close to the bone, mainly about how we all tend to get in our own way.  And the chapters are short. This is not academic meandering.

Read it for the story about singer Roseanne Cash. (It involves a dream she had one night. But it’s not goofy.) Also the story of the red-haired cat. About the tramp apple-picker Dave. About Pressfield’s night in a sublet apartment in New York, his year in a rented cottage near writer Paul Rink.  That’s the stuff that sticks with you. That’s what I read over and over. There is some higher-realm talk here that I don’t get. But it doesn’t hurt anything.


Check out the book on amazon.com. Read the sample pages. Or download a sample to your Kindle.

If it resonates with you, good. The rest of the book is exactly like that. Order it. (If not, please pass. It is not for you.)

Then get the book — paper or Kindle versions — from Black Irish books.

No, I get no commission from this. I just like the book. And Steve Pressfield’s other book, War of Art, which helped me drag my ass out of the mire a few times now.