You have a dream of becoming a successful B2B copywriter. Your copywriting goals are clear. But… sometimes you wonder if you can really live your dream of the writer’s life.
The unequivocal answer of those in the know — is yes. Yes you can. You can live your dream of the writer’s life. That’s the strong, affirmative message delivered by some leading voices in the worlds of marketing, writing, and creative living.
One of those voices is Steven Pressfield’s. Let’s see what he says is the key to achieving success as a writer.
Introducing Steven Pressfield — A Kick-in-the-Pants Motivator
If there’s anyone who is in tune with the struggle to live the creative life of your dreams, it’s Steven Pressfield. You may know him as the author of The Legend of Bagger Vance, Gates of Fire, or Tides of War. But you might not know of his history of avoiding what he needed to do to become a successful writer.
Pressfield spent years of his life bouncing from coast to coast, working as everything from a bartender to an attendant in a mental hospital to a fruit picker to a tractor-trailer driver. Anything other than his true calling. He was even homeless for a time. Then he finally looked the enemy in the eye, took out his typewriter, and fought for his success.
In his book The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles Pressfield describes his struggles. And in his no-nonsense, to-the-point style, he shares how to break through obstacles and win.
The key is recognizing you are at war.
This Means War
The title of his book, The War of Art, follows the theme of war. As Pressfield explains, if you are a writer who isn’t writing, a painter who isn’t painting, or an entrepreneur who never starts a venture, you are in a war, and you are losing it.
The key to winning the battle? Recognizing and defeating the enemy.
Writing Enemy #1: Resistance
The enemy is Resistance. Capital R. Resistance is the repelling force, the sneaky, seductive, indefatigable force that distracts us, prevents us, shoves us away from doing our work.
Pressfield writes: “Resistance is the most toxic force on the planet. It is the root of more unhappiness than poverty and disease… To yield to Resistance deforms our spirit. It stunts us and makes us less than we are and were born to be.”
Resistance is infallible. It always points to true north. Whenever we realize what our calling is, what our true mission is, whenever we try to rise to a higher sphere, that’s when it shows up strongest, that’s when it prevents us from taking action.
Resistance is relentless. Think of Henry Fonda, the famous actor of stage and screen. He fought it every day of his brilliant career, and ended up throwing up before every stage performance.
Resistance is seductive. It’s deceitful. It’s always lying, and it’s always ready to strike.
Resistance in Action
Procrastination is the most common manifestation of Resistance, because it’s easiest to rationalize. We don’t tell ourselves, “I’m never going to compose my symphony.” Instead we say, “I am going to compose my symphony; I’m just going to start tomorrow.”
Fear is another common form of Resistance. It’s Resistance in the form of Mr. Freeze, paralyzing you from undertaking what you were meant to do.
Resistance can take many other forms. Extreme self-doubt, criticism, overconfidence, the need to deal with something else before working, and on and on.
The Evil Axis of Resistance
To make matters worse, Resistance is very talented at coordinating its own Axis of Evil. Think of your “friends” who say “who do you think you are, you’re no better than us,” when in fact that’s their own way of giving in to their own Resistance.
Then there’s our consumer society as a whole that says “bury your creative dreams and just buy more stuff.” And as if that weren’t enough, Resistance sends in the heavy weapons of endless, mindless “entertainment,” 250 channels sucking away your creative energy and leaving you in a mindless, passive state of stupor.
These external forces combine to compound your internal struggles. When Resistance and its allies are winning, you feel awful. You get bored, restless, and dissatisfied. There’s this pervasive guilt that you just can’t put your finger on.
How to Beat Resistance
Can you win this battle? Absolutely.
Pressfield presses this point with utter force.
How do you beat Resistance? You turn pro. You play for keeps, not for fun. You take your work, your life’s work, the real stuff — you take it from avocation to vocation. You give this your full-time commitment.
To win this war you must recognize the enemy. You know it’s there and you are up for the fight. The stronger the fear and doubt, the stronger the message that this is the work you must do.
And you fight back by working like a pro. You show up every day. You show up no matter what. You stay committed over the long haul. You accept failure, criticism, risks, whatever hurdle you face. And you keep at it, because this is what you were meant to do, and the only way to win, to be happy, to realize your dreams, is to keep at it.
You can win this battle. Pressfield urges you to think about those stories you hear all the time of people who overcame a hardship and found success living their dream.
Winning the War for Your Writer’s Life Dream
Steven Pressfield’s message in The War of Art rings true no matter the dream. If you know deep down that you are meant to be a B2B copywriter, it’s time to stop being a wannaB2B copywriter.
How? Show up for it. Keep at it. Be a pro. Accept rejection, learn from it, and keep pushing and keep learning and keep marketing and keep writing.
Don’t wait for inspiration. Pressfield quotes Somerset Maugham, who says, “I write only when inspiration strikes. Fortunately, it strikes every morning at nine o’clock sharp.”
As Steven Pressfield will tell you, that’s what you need to do. Conquer your Resistance. Turn pro, and be a pro. That’s when the ideas will come to you, the success will come to you.
You can win this fight. When you turn pro and conquer Resistance, the joy of living the writer’s life will be yours.