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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it quickly in one sitting, will be going back to it again.
First off let me say the things that might steer you away from this book: it's fairly short, some of the "pages" are just a sentence long. It's very specific to one novel and while you certainly don't have to understand or play golf to follow the book, it helps if you have at least a little grasp of the game. As a side note, I have yet to read The Legend of Bagger...
Published 15 months ago by Michael Beverly

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Mildly interesting
Short, thoughtful, read it in a single sitting. A mildly interesting look into the process of writing a novel. About as filling as a small bag of chips.
Published 13 months ago by Douglas E. Stoiber


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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Read it quickly in one sitting, will be going back to it again., September 25, 2013
This review is from: The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of a First Novel (Paperback)
First off let me say the things that might steer you away from this book: it's fairly short, some of the "pages" are just a sentence long. It's very specific to one novel and while you certainly don't have to understand or play golf to follow the book, it helps if you have at least a little grasp of the game. As a side note, I have yet to read The Legend of Bagger Vance: A Novel of Golf and the Game of Life so I can't say whether it would be better to read the novel first or not, but I haven't read it and I totally understood the points Pressfield was making about the work he was referring back to.

Okay, that out of the way, it's a five star book and well worth your time and thought process if you're thinking of writing a novel, have started and stopped a novel or any kind of combination of the aforementioned.

I do recommend reading: The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles and Turning Pro first, and check out Pressfield's blog as well, I've only been exposed to his work as of a few weeks ago, and it has already had a good impact on me, my thought processes and my work and my decision to take my work more seriously.

I have read many books on writing, quite a few I've reviewed here, one of the most interesting ones on the "break-down" of a novel was Writing the Blockbuster Novel in which one of Ken Follet's novels is broken down, including sections of first and second drafts, showing what was changed, why and how. This book is not like that, it's more philosophical and Pressfield explains more about story structure/skeleton as something that exists out there and is borrowed (or stolen) and remade into something unique and new.

If you read this and other books, you'll want to follow along on his blog and get more inside tips and notes, including the one page outline he used to start the novel he writes about here, it's well worth looking at and trying to grasp the significance of and put into practice.

I'd like to mention another thing that is kind of interesting, I had been in the middle of working on a non-fiction outline of a book I'm writing about coming out of a Christian cult and becoming an atheist, it's a story of debauchery, betrayal, excommunication, divorce, suicide, love, lost love, etc., almost a melodrama, but all true. And I'd been working on several ideas for fiction novels.

AND I was also considering getting back to studio painting, my profile picture here is seascape along the lines of what I do artistically.

So, all that said, I was a bit scattered. Being stretched out means you do nothing but dabble, and I needed to change that.

After reading this book, and really reflecting on what Pressfield had to say, I went to Starbucks with a note book and just doodled for about an hour, thinking wtf.......what should I do?

After awhile I just had that sort of epiphany that can't quite be explained, I decided to outline my non-fiction work, and I did so, ten sections, three chapters a section, with three main ideas for each chapter, giving me a firm foundation for what I wanted to say. I worked yesterday on this and got out 16 pages in a couple hours of rough draft, it felt really good to be so disciplined and on a path.

I'm not sure if a fiction novel can work exactly the same way, but I imagine there are parallels.

My point of all that is that there is something infectious about Steven, and I mean that in a good way, it's a disease worth catching, at least if your goal is writing and finishing something.

So in conclusion, check out this and other books by Pressfield. In full disclosure, because I review a lot of freebies, this one I paid for, from his website, I feel a little bit like I cheated on Amazon, my good friend, but I wanted to make sure I pointed this out, I know a lot of early reviews that are glowing are done by sycophants and friends, that's not me, I just didn't buy it here, but I did pay for it and I have no connection to the author, I just really felt compelled to express my gratitude. Cheers.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Winner from Steven Pressfield!, September 25, 2013
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This review is from: The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of a First Novel (Paperback)
Don't hit me over the head for opening this review with a cliché, but Steven Pressfield changed my life. I'll go one further: as a life-long, frustrated, scared-to-death writer, he saved my life. I was going down for the third time when I found The War of Art, the first in his series of books on the creative process. His work is a life-line for anyone struggling to write or to engage in any creative endeavor. In case you've given up on yourself, think again; it is never too late. Never. Steve kicks your behind into the chair to get you started. He identifies the monster of Resistance that so stealthily paralyzes artists. He reassures you when you don't know where you're going and most importantly, he reminds you that the Muse will sit beside you, put Her hands on you, and gift you lavishly once you simply begin. Your creation already exists; your obligation is to bring it into the world with the voice that is yours and yours alone i.e. your "Authentic Swing." The bonus parallel journey is that of discovering yourself along the way. I envy you being able to read this and Steve's other books for the first time. Buy all four - The War of Art, Do the Work, Turning Pro and The Authentic Swing. It is the best investment you can make in yourself and in your art.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Finding your true self, September 30, 2013
The Authentic Swing is more about writing as art than writing as craft. This came as a surprise to me, but not an unpleasant one. After all, there are hundreds of books on the technical side of writing but precious few about finding your path, yourself, your soul, as a writer.

Finding Your Writing Soul

I have a confession: I've never golfed. Not once. Ever. Yet I found Steven Pressfield's account of the game riveting. He gave me new ways to think about it.

It turns out that golf is a lot like writing. Here's an excerpt:

"[T]he struggle of the golfer ... is the same as the struggle of the writer.
"It's the struggle of any artist or entrepreneur, any athlete or warrior, anyone engaged in a spiritual pursuit, as meditation or the martial arts, yoga, dance, calligraphy; any person, male or female, in any creative or ethical field.
"What is this struggle? It's the quest to connect with one's true ground. To become who we really are.
"It's the search for our true voice."

Steven Pressfield holds that trusting ourselves, trusting our own deeper nature, is the key to writing:

"This is how writing works.
You start with instinct.
You plunge in.
Good things happen."

And that's what The Authentic Swing is about, it's about finding yourself as a writer and then having the courage to trust yourself. For example, Pressfield writes (and this is a paraphrase):

The struggle of the golfer is the same as the struggle of the writer or of any other artist. We must connect with our true ground. We must "become who we really are". In other words, writing, like golf, like any other artistic pursuit, is nothing less than "the search for our true voice".

That's not the entirety of Steven Pressfield's writing advice, but it does tie into his instructions for how to write a first draft.

First Drafts And How To Write Them

In a word: Quickly!

All Steven Pressfield's advice resonated with me, but his advice about first drafts made me want to spring out of my comfy reading chair and do a happy dance. "Yes!" I thought. "Someone else who thinks like I do." It's always nice to know you're not alone.

Here's Steven Pressfield's advice for first drafts: Don't stop, don't think. Write.

He holds that "our supreme priority is to get SOMETHING down from Page One to The End--no matter how incomplete and imperfect".

He also writes that:

"The enemy in the first draft is not incompleteness or inexactness or imperfection. The enemy is resistance. The enemy is self-sabotage."

You have to dig deep, trust yourself and then dive in.

The Authentic Swing is a slim volume of only 150 pages, with the lines widely spaced. But that's okay. No complaints. It's not about how many pages a book has, it's about what's on them and this one is bursting with writerly goodness.

The Authentic Swing is a quick, enjoyable, read and a valuable addition to any writer's library. Five stars.

FYI, I was sent an ARC of The Authentic Swing.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Another Pressfield masterpiece, September 24, 2013
This review is from: The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of a First Novel (Paperback)
Steve Pressfield has done it again. If you'll pardon my mixing of metaphors, he's swung a golf club and hit a home run. If you buy this book, which is a worthy companion to "The War of Art" trilogy, I can almost guarantee two things: 1) you will read it from cover to cover without putting it down; and 2) once you have finished it you will almost immediately pick it up to go back over the pages you have dog-eared and the sections you have highlighted (and there will be a lot of them).

Don't be fooled into thinking that this is just a book about how Pressfield came to write "The Legend of Bagger Vance" or that it's just a book with advice on how you can write your own book (or improve your golf swing). It is those things, but Pressfield - crafty old fox that he is - has once again packaged a fundamental life lesson into a book that is ostensibly about something else.

If I were teaching a course on heroic leadership, Pressfield's "Gates of Fire" would be my textbook. If I were teaching a course on conquering soul-deadening procrastination, Pressfield's "The War of Art" would be my textbook. From now on, when I teach my course on The Twelve Core Action Values, "The Authentic Swing" will be my textbook for Core Action Value #1, Authenticity.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars THE AUTHENTIC SWING: A How-To the Mechanics of Novel-Writing AND Actualizing Dreams, November 4, 2013
By 
Holly Gleason (Somewhere in the Wind) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of a First Novel (Paperback)
Bagger Vance be damned, Steven Pressfield offers an even more valuable truth to his story of a local caddy locked into the golf march of the century: how his seminal golf novel came into being. Not even the tale of how one writes a novel, though that IS tangled into this quick and easy to digest narrative, but a series of short readings that can double as a playbook for life -- or any other project.
Emboldening, THE AUTHENTIC SWING looks at the mystical and the metaphysical as well as the mechanics of writing a novel. It is as much what you believe, as how you structure your writing days, the kinds of stories to tell -- and even, yes, the mechanics of how THE LEGEND OF BAGGER VANCE was formed. Classic mythology provided a chassis, and for the Hollywood screenwriter, the notion of how motion pictures worked provided underpinnings on a subconscious level.
What emerges is the place of faith in the creative process; doing the impossible dream incrementally; thinking you've lost your mind; staying with it. And Pressfield isn't a 24-year starting out when he embarks on a novel based or inspired loosely by Michael Muprhy's seminal GOLF IN THE KINGDOM, a novel that merges Eastern thought and a magical round of golf in the Old Country of Scotland.
To be inspired, to be shown how, that's what THE AUTHENTIC SWING is all about.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Surprising Depth, July 3, 2014
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This review is from: The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of a First Novel (Paperback)
When I ordered this book I was looking for a "how to" book on writing - a listing of what-to-do's, and samples of notes, formats, outlines, etc. from Steve while he was writing The Legend of Bagger Vance. If that is what you're looking for - don't buy this book.

What I found was a VERY interesting read, told in story format, that drew me in and caused me to realize that I had just read the book in one sitting. I normally read a book one time, and never again (because I remember it), but this book - like The Book of Five Rings (Go Rin No Sho, by Miyamoto Musashi) has layers.

Before folks get bent out of shape, I'm not comparing this book to Go Rin No Sho, which is an international classic spanning centuries of dedicated readers and serious students of life and strategy. What I am saying is that this book has a similar dynamic. Read it once, and it is a good read, and you get a lot out of it. Read it again, and you see another set of meanings and a deeper layer. Read it again...

Unlike most books I've read, I will read this one again - a few times. It is not a list of things to do, a formula to follow for aspiring writers - it is a concept and way of thinking that takes you much deeper than that.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An extraordinary 'Threshold' story, March 16, 2014
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TL;DR: This is what a threshold story looks like.

Longer form: Pressfield's been documenting his transformation into a novelist/prose writer for over a decade, starting with "The War of Art".

What's useful about this story (beyond the mechanics and practice of TWOA or "Turning Pro") is that actual interaction with The Muse herself.

Often, what's called from us to create an unrecognizable life (and trust me, Steven's success in his novelist career and I imagine his interview on Oprah's "Super Soul Sunday" has to occur to him as *unrecognizable*) is a kind of devotion *beyond* what we can see.

In other words, we have to believe before we can see.

In my opinion, what Steve documented in this book is really his "Hero's Journey" where he had to separate himself from all that he knew, initiate himself in the ways of The Muse, and return back to this world with the prize of "The Legend of Bagger Vance".

In "The War of Art" and "Turning Pro" we have two powerful training manuals for manifesting our vision of life. In "The Authentic Swing", we hear how Steve applied the principles he later wrote about in his own life, as well as the faith he had to place in The Muse to lead him *OUT* of screenwriting and *INTO* novel writing. He deftly describes the self-doubt he lived through as his environment tried to tell him he was making a mistake. But he *CHOSE* to trust The Muse. And finally, after two decades of practice and failure as a screenwriter as well as a number of books both unfinished and finished, lightning struck with the publication of "Bagger Vance." This is the story of how Steven himself called the lightning down.

Bottom Line: Buy it.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Rambling and Fun, April 8, 2014
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That's the only way I can describe Steven Pressfield's work "The Authentic Swing." Having not read "The War of Art," I was intrigued by this book first as I am a) a writer who is working toward publication (who isn't these days?) and b) an amateur golfer of about 6 or 7 years.

Pressfield's main premise in this book is that the "authentic swing" is you. You can't fake other people's "swings" so don't even try. I take a slight exception to that as in the arts, sports and other areas of life, it doesn't hurt to begin by emulating the people you admire the most.

Drawing heavily on Eastern religion and philosophy with some other elements from western culture such as Plato & Sparta thrown in, this makes for an enjoyable read. It's not too long and has a few passages that resonate.

I also appreciate his honesty regarding "The Legend of Bagger Vance" as a film. In fact, he's brutally honest about what he thought about the film, while at the same time not throwing anyone under the bus. I also appreciated that he felt the only good golf film was "Caddyshack" and that's because it reflects the insanity of the game of golf.

Its a great little trip into the mind of an interesting man. A former caddy, a former Hollywood screenwriter and now full-time novelist. Definitely worth a look.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars INSPIRATION PLUS, October 26, 2013
This review is from: The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of a First Novel (Paperback)
NO ONE writes inspiration as well as Steven Pressfield. From start to finish I could not put this book down. That is not a cliche, it is a fact. He is my hero... what can I say?

I first found him on Google, as I was searching for answers and some sort of awakening for me as an artist. I felt shocked really, as I read the pages of "The War of Art". It spoke to what I knew deep inside, but he was actually saying it. He wrote things I felt deep in my heart, but they were not vivid to me. I just did not want to face it. Sometimes it takes a special voice, Pressfield's in my case, to actually hear. From there I began to change my agenda in life. Pressfield wrote "Do the work", and that has become my motto as well.

This author is not just an author to me, but a mentor and hero. I have ALL of his books.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Backstory Scores, October 27, 2013
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I love before and after pictures. I watch the director's cut of DVDs. I loved The Authentic Swing! Let me start by saying that I will read almost anything Steven Pressfield writes--I like his style. I like it that it feels like we are in a conversation on my front porch drinking tea and talking about how he came to write The Legend of Bagger Vance (even if I am alone with the book--and the only one drinking tea). I like The Authentic Swing on several levels; Steven's writing was fluid and drew me in, the story was engaging because I like the movie and wanted to know about the creative process and finally Spiritually I was nourished (but that may only be because I went looking for that part). What levels will this book take you to?
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The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of a First Novel
The Authentic Swing: Notes from the Writing of a First Novel by Steven Pressfield (Paperback - September 22, 2013)
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