What Author Steven Pressfield and My Nephew Joe Taught me About Going Pro
I’ve been writing freelance for years now. I started writing long before that (secretly), but I got my first writing gig while I was still working the nine-to-five at a law firm as a legal secretary (an almost extinct species, but you can probably Google it).
Since the day I was blessed with a lay-off in April of 2012, I toggled between diving into writing and actively seeking a replacement for the job I just lost. My adventure took me all the way to South Carolina, just outside of Charlotte, North Carolina, and back, and when I came back to New Jersey I suddenly realized how little I had accomplished in that time.
I was resisting my own future. I was hiding behind a cloud of doubt. I talked about being a writer and I even got paid for writing, but I still didn’t consider myself a writer, really.
How can someone want something so badly and not actually do nothing anything about it – or just simply do it? It seemed like an impossibility in a universe that I’d always assumed made sense.
Then I saw Steven Pressfield one day on Oprah. He is the author of “The Tides of War” and “The Legend of Bagger Vance,” to name a couple. He also wrote “The War of Art,” which just happened to be what he was discussing with Oprah on her “Super Soul Sunday” show (I’m not sure if it’s an actual show name or if we’ve renamed Sunday, “Super Soul Sunday,” but it seems of little relevance at the moment). Watching him and hearing his words resonate in my head, I could not only see a light come on, I could actually feel the switch getting flipped.
While SP also mentioned his book, “Turning Pro,” it was “The War of Art” that I knew I needed to read. I quickly downloaded it onto my Kindle for PC and absorbed it like a sponge.
I must admit, I was in awe of him in every way – his brilliance, his gifted way with words, his heartfelt expression – I even wondered for a minute if he was single, but I knew that was getting off-track a bit, which has been my problem pretty much all along. I still think he’s handsome, but have not given in to fantasizing about dinner by candlelight discussing his latest creation – or mine (Hmmmm maybe if I wrote to Oprah ….). Anyway ….
While I’m absorbing all of this knowledge and insight about “resistance” and confirming it was meant for me because I felt like he was reaching through the TV and saying “This means you,” I sat down that very day and wrote a chapter in the book I’ve been working on for just about a year now. Yes, a year – and this girl isn’t getting any younger.
To further reinforce my path beyond resistance – I had the pleasure of attending my nephew Joseph’s musical debut at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park, New Jersey, yesterday. Yes, the Stone Pony made most famous by New Jersey’s own, Bruce Springfield. On Saturday, I was watching Steve on Oprah for the fourth time and on Saturday night I got the invitation from my brother to come to his son’s debut to which I immediately said, “Absolutely I’ll be there.” It all happened that fast.
And when I heard the words to Joe’s rap songs as he practiced them in his driveway pre-show, I was literally blown away – brought to tears actually, which made him smile nervously (in the middle of some very serious verbiage), after which he told me he wouldn’t be able to look at me while he performed. I considered it an honor, as he should as well. As a writer (there I go again), I know the feeling that comes over you when someone is touched by something you’ve written – first it’s the big smile and then the instant confirming sigh of relief that someone other than you likes your stuff. It’s a bonus really, because it only matters that you feel good about what you’re doing – everything else is icing on the cake.
You could tell that although he was slightly nervous about getting on stage for the first time, he was also determined. He was beating resistance – attacking it head on – and nothing would stop him. It was indeed like witnessing a real life example of what I had just been reading about.
My admiration for not only Joe’s art but his character was palpable – tears welled up in my eyes, my heart was aflutter with pride and as he’s a handsome young man with gorgeous red hair, he now nicely fit the name I had always secretly called him, “Braveheart.”
He is definitely this family’s William Wallace; he slayed that crowd yesterday with his confidence (where did the nervousness go?), his excitement and his joy at doing what makes his heart sing, literally.
There was a realization that came over me after the show. This was part-three of my intensive on beating resistance. One was the Steven Pressfield interview on Oprah Winfrey’s show, two was reading Steven Pressfield’s, “The War of Art” on my kindle for PC and three was watching the next generation of our family come into his own on the famous stage of the infamous Stone Pony.
His performance was flawless, his courage was impressive and his belief in himself was undeniable. Blown away, I was simply blown away.
I know this is just the beginning for Joe, who headlined simply as “Innes,” and if his aunt (that would be me) could just figure out how to upload the video into YouTube while simultaneously turning it around from sideways, you’ll be seeing a part of his performance shortly. For now, here are just a few shots I took of him on stage. I was so interested in watching Joe that I totally forgot the girl’s name who accompanied him on one of his songs, but I’ll get that for you – she was also great and beautiful as well.