Turning Pro is another self help book by Steven Pressfield. If you don’t know steven pressfield, he is the author that wrote the war of art. He is an author who wrote the book The Legend Of Baggar Vance.
He is pretty well known because of his book War of Art. If you read that book, you might remember that he mentions turning pro. Why did he choose to name another book about that? He only mentioned turning pro a little in that book. The majority of the war of art was about fighting resistance.
Do you need to get this book if you already read War of Art? No I don’t think you do? It is a short book just like The War of Art is a short book.
Why would someone buy this book? This book is for people that need additional motivation. He doesn’t get super specific of about how to turn yourself pro. He just tells you the characteristics of turning pro. I think we all know the characteristics of a pro, but how do we become pro.
How do we kick all the bad habits. That’s what people really need guidance.
In this book, he provides a list of things that will prevent you from being pro just like he did in war of art. He really focuses on being an addict. When people think of addiction, they often think of alcohol and drugs. Steven mentions these, but these addictions aren’t the only things that you might be addicted to. You might also be addicted to sex or to your phone. He provides guidance on why he thinks this happens, and he tells the audience to cut it out. Quit focusing on sex and your phone. You need to get to work. Any focus on addiction is you experiencing resistance. Don’t give into resistance or you might never realize your true potential. I find this truly interesting since I think society is set up for us to fail. It is set up for us to give into addiction.
Turning pro is about showing up for yourself everyday. It is a book for creatives. If you want to be successful in the creative industry, you must show up to your work just like you had a job. You must clock in and stay at your work all day. This is because you don’t know when inspiration will hit.
He calls inspiration “the muse.” He provides ways for you to appease this muse such as saying a prayer to the muse or just showing up everyday. He gets a little weird with the muse stuff, but I understand what he means.
Always have something in the box
He also discusses an improvisation term called “the box.” In improvisation you should always think that there is something in “the box” such as an apple or a ball. In improv you can’t be on stage and go blank which is what most improv actors are afraid of. You have to trust that something is always in the box. Steven suggest that creative people believe the same thing. If you go pro, then trust that there will always be something there for you to pull from.
Why should you do any of what he says or try to achieve your dreams? You should do this for your audience. The audience out there that needs to see or read the art you put out into the world. Do us all a favor and turn pro so that we can be your audience.
Shadow Careers are basically anything that you pursue that is not related to your true calling. This is essentially your day job for many people. People pursue shadow careers when they are too terrified to pursue their true calling.
Life Before Turning Pro and After Turning Pro
Steven tells the audience that there is life before turning pro and after turning pro.
Turning pro will change who you hang out with and how you spend your time. No one is coming to save you. You have only you. This pursuit will be solitary. Quit looking to others. Many people don’t turn pro because of the solitude and introspection required.
In order to turn pro, you have to face your fears everyday. You must act in the face of fear.
Turning pro is a decision that we must recommit to everyday. Turning pro will change the way you spend your time. You won’t spend time drinking or at tons of sporting events or family events. You will focus more on your art and getting it into the world. You still have to make time for all those things, but you won’t default to those activities when you have spare time or when you should be working.
He also mentions not identifying with your instrument. Many people won’t work on their creative pursuit because they are perfectionists and identify with your work. Don’t do this. Get your work out into the world and move onto the next project.