5 Ways Steven Pressfield Says The Same Thing Without Repeating Himself (Or Boring His Readers)

Justin Zack
3 min readFeb 26, 2024
Image by the author.

In the last 30 days, I started a new habit of copying writing I like by hand.

It’s called “copywork.”

The concept is not new. In fact it’s a tactic many copywriter’s teach to improve at writing. And it works just like it sounds.

You copy someone’s else’s work.

For example:

If you want to learn music, what do you do? You start by finding an artist you like and you try to play like them. And you don’t just copy one musician. You copy a bunch of musicians. Until eventually all those artists influence what YOU create on your own. You take a little bit from the Beatles, a little from Green Day, and a little from Kanye.

You get the idea.

Well, one writer I enjoy reading is Steven Pressfield.

And he wrote a book called “The Daily Pressfield.” He’s written a few others too. Maybe you’ve heard of the Legend Of Bagger Vance. Or maybe you’ve watched the movie with Matt Damon. Anyway, The Daily Pressfield is a daily reflection on life, living, and writing. Each entry is short, easy to read, and insightful. Which is why I like it.

I wanted to learn what it was like to write like Steven, so every day before I get into the thick of my work for the day, I hand copy an entry from his book.

Yesterday, I copied Day 6.

Day 6 From The Daily Pressfield, by Steven Pressfield.
Excerpt from The Daily Pressfield, by Steven Pressfield.

You read the passage and you get it. Resistance is a signal. And the signal is flashing bright red—”you’re dream is here, enter if you dare.”

But when I copied the passage, I learned why it works.

Let me explain.

I wrote the entry out by hand. Then after I was done writing, I went back through my “chicken scratch” and put myself in Steven’s shoes to look analytically at the piece of writing.

Right way I noticed that he closed the piece the same way he opened it.

Like bookends.

  • The opening: The bigger…

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Justin Zack

Project leader. Product thinker. Write about human things. Find me at justinzack.com