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Turning Pro! With Help From Steven Pressfield











This is quite a long blog post, which had not been my intention but I think if you stay with it you will find it really helpful in getting clarity on what it takes to turn pro (thanks to Steven Pressfield).

The Back Story

Last week I was doing research for a tele-class I was co-presenting on.

I had finally gotten myself to my desk to do the serious work of putting my ideas together. I always convince myself I have not really done the work if my ideas come to me when I am washing the dishes, driving in the car or just pottering around the house.

So there I was facing the computer screen about to press the magic button to dive into the bottomless pit of information Google, the digital world’s modern day oracle.

So I’m sitting in front of the screen. I type in the words of my subject, which was around ideas for ‘creative endings in coaching relationships’.

I type in the words, and within seconds Google pops up its result. I can feel the stress easing away as I convince myself the digital oracle of Google will now point me to that killer material that will take the material I’ve already gathered from good to great.

The Big Forget

I turn to the screen for closer inspection and there in the number three position on Google is a blog post with my name on it. I do a double take. Really? It’s there in black and white and I’m stunned.

I can honestly say that in that moment any memory of writing that post, gathering all the juicy information I then found I had written about once I had gotten over the shock, had totally escaped the vast memory banks of my mind.

I was gob smacked. One because I clearly wasn’t remembering and keeping track of the material I was putting out there in the world but most importantly I realized that whether I had done it consciously or not I had arrived at that place Steven Pressfield writes about in his book, Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work of Turning Pro!











On Turning Pro from Steven Himself

In Turning Pro Steven Pressfield writes,

“ Resistance hates two qualities above all others: concentration and depth. Why? Because when we work with focus and we work deep, we succeed.”

“ When we turn pro everything becomes simple. Our aim centers on the ordering of our days in such a way that we overcome the fears that have paralyzed us in the past.”

We now structure our hours not to flee from fear, but to confront it and overcome it. We plan our activities in order to accomplish an aim. And we bring our will to bear so we stick to this resolution.”

“ The Professional ……… he knows that when the Muse see’s his butt in the chair, she will deliver.”

What I Now Know For Sure

For the last two years I’ve noticed a shift in me when it comes to my work as a writer. No matter what is going on in my life the one thing that remains constant is writing.

  • In the space of two years I’ve completed four e-books, one published print book, near completion of two digital online courses and filled the pages of ten or more journals and business journals and that’s for starters.
  • I write whether there is a financial compensation or not and more often than not there’s no payment in sight.
  • One hundred percent of my writing content on social media and the e-books I have published are free material and I pay to get all my e-books professionally edited and designed. I’m willing to write no matter what.

I’ve arrived at a place where the process of turning pro has generated a solid body of work.  There are some interesting benefits to be had when this happens. Here’s what I’ve noticed and now know for sure:

  • You get to a place where you can start to creatively re-position material. Material from an e-book can be easily repositioned as content for a paid online e-course. Material from a print book can be creatively extended and expanded on for a magazine or online article or feature.
  • You realize that you can develop ideas and not everything is about starting from scratch with completely novel and original ideas.
  • You start to value your material and how you have put things together. Having this body of work and turning pro means that I’ve become more organized so I can find content, link material and get stuff out to people quickly because what I need I’ve already created in that body of work.
  • You realize that you take to the page with very little resistance 9even when you don’t feel like it and there isn’t enough time). I’m noticing how often I arrive at the page or computer screen with a skip in my step.
  • In my case I‘ve noticed that even though there’s a few things in my life right now that could be better writing makes me happy, so happy I could sometimes cry from the level of real joy and satisfaction I get from having a career that leaves me feeling so fulfilled and satisfied.
  • The more I write and share the clearer I get on what 20% of my actions bring about 80% of my results (Pareto Principle).
  • I don’t take failure personal. If a piece of writing or work is not accepted I get right back out there and cast the net and explore to see who else might be interested. The territory of the pro means being open to rejection, to not being part of the in crowd and sometimes having to go it alone.
  • My commitment to the regular practice of writing now means I can write articles, features, blog posts and just about anything in less and less time using the principle of (Parkinson’s Law). The idea being that we complete an action based on the amount of time available. If you have 5 days you will use 5 days to ruminate, think over and take the time to get the task done. If you have 5 hours to get the same task completed then you’ll adapt and get the task completed within the 5 hours you have.
  • I’ve given myself permissions to do things imperfectly. I recently recorded a series of video interviews for my on line journaling writing programme. I record the interviews on my MacBook Pro in people’s home and I don’t edit. This means when we press the stop button at the end the video is complete and I know I can add this to my body of work. However the more interviews I do the better I will get as a pro, the more I’ll learn and over time the quality of my videos will change. But for now what I do is good enough.

My One Disagreement With Mr Pressfield

There’s only one point in Turning Pro where I disagree with Pressfield where he writes, “ The amateur tweets. The professional works.”

I think we can do both. I spend less than an hour on Twitter every three to fours days but what works and makes giving over this time worthwhile is being focused on sharing your body of work with others, commenting on the things that interest you and make connections with others who you would not normally come into contact with who are aligned with your body of work. Tweeting is an effective way of finding your tribe but it’s not a replacement for the work.

I’m now at a point where when someone asks me to write an article I smile. I’m a pro. I turn up and do the work. It’s hard work but I love it.

Turning Pro. What Will It Take?

  • What action would take you from amateur to pro? 

I recommend reading Steven Pressfield’s books Turning Pro, Do The Work or The War Of Art  Click HERE to visit Amazon

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