Book One - The Amateur Life

"The thesis of this book is that what ails you and me has nothing to do with being sick or being wrong. What ails us is that we are living our lives as amateurs. The solution, this book suggests, is that we turn pro."

"The difference between an amateur and a professional is in their habits. An amateur has amateur habits. A professional has professional habits."

"When you turn pro, your life gets very simple."

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

Book Two - Self-Inflicted Wounds

"The amateur fears solitude and silence because she needs to avoid, at all costs, the voice inside her head that would point her toward her calling and her destiny. So she seeks distraction."

"The payoff of living in the past or the future is you never have to do your work in the present."

"The sure sign of an amateur is he has a million plans and they all start tomorrow."

"Each individual is so caught up in his own bullshit that he doesn't have two seconds to worry about yours or mine, or to reject or diminish us because of it."

"The essence of epiphanies is the stripping away of self-delusion. We thought we were X. Now suddenly we see we're minus-X. We're X divided by infinity. There is great power in this moment. We've lost something, yes. A cherished self-delusion must be abandoned, and this hurts. But what we have gained is the truth. Our bullshit falls away. The scales drop from our eyes. In that moment we have two options: We can reconstitute our bullshit. Or we can turn pro."

"Why is shame good? Because shame can produce the final element we need to change our lives: will."

Book Three - The Professional Mindset

"The professional does not wait for inspiration; he acts in anticipation of it."

"The professional is happy to teach. He will gladly lend a hand or deliver a swift kick. But there's a caveat. The professional refuses to be iconized. Not for selfish reasons, but because he knows how destructive the dynamic of iconization is to the iconizer. The pro will share his wisdom with other professionals — or with amateurs who are committed to becoming professionals."

"When we do the work for itself alone (I know how easy that is to say and how hard it is to do), we're like that Marine who sleeps in a foxhole in the freezing rain but who knows a secret that only he and his brothers and sisters share."

"When we convene day upon day in the same space at the same time, a powerful energy builds up around us. This is the energy of our intention, of our dedication, of our commitment."

"The professional trusts the mystery. He knows that the Muse always delivers."

Five Principles:

  1. Work over your head.
  2. Write what you don't know.
  3. Take what the defense gives you.
  4. Play hurt.
  5. Sit chilly.