Month: July 2013

Suing Neil Young

By Steven Pressfield | 19 Comments

Do you remember the infamous incident from the 80s when David Geffen sued Neil Young for recording music that was “not representative” of Neil Young? I’m thinking of this in connection with recent posts by me and Shawn about commercial-versus-artistic, publishable-versus-unpublishable. Specifically this comment sent in by Susanna Plotnick: If we are working on our own, creating new forms, breaking rules, aren’t we courting ‘unpublishability’? Where do we draw the line between courting publishability and being a hack? An excellent question. But first back to Neil Young: When David Geffen launched Geffen Records in 1980, he paid big bucks to…

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Genre Management

By Shawn Coyne | 11 Comments

Like you, I look forward to Steve’s “Writing Wednesday” posts. I don’t ask to see anything early or cheat and read his stuff before it goes live.  I like to read them at the same time as the rest of the tribe. The truth is that if I didn’t know Steve, I’d still be on this site every Wednesday. And I especially liked his most recent one about Seth Godin’s wonderful reminder about the importance of leading, “This Might Not Work.” I read the comments too and there was a great question this week from Susanna Plotnick. Here it is:…

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“This Might Not Work”

By Steven Pressfield | 29 Comments

The phrase above is one of Seth Godin’s trademarks. I love it because, like all of Seth’s stuff, it crams a ton of wisdom into very few words. What does Seth mean by “This might not work”? Here’s what I think: There’s a concept in marketing called “the Avatar.” Are you familiar with this? An avatar is the archetype of Your Customer. The idea, if you’re a marketer, is to keep this avatar in the front of your mind, particularly when you’re developing a new product, writing a new book, organizing a new enterprise. You want to ask yourself questions…

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Beyond the Blockbuster

By Callie Oettinger | 6 Comments

A couple of weeks back, Steven Spielberg and George Lucas caught the film world’s attention by pointing to a trend within the industry. From Spielberg: “You’re at the point right now, where a studio would rather invest $250 million in one film for a shot at the brass ring than make a whole bunch of really interesting, deeply personal – and even maybe historical projects that may get lost in the shuffle. . . . “There’s going to be an implosion where three or four or maybe even a half-dozen mega-budget movies are going to go crashing into the ground,…

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Art is Artifice, Part Two

By Steven Pressfield | 3 Comments

Continuing our discussion about the difference between publishable and unpublishable: I said last week that real = unpublishable, and artifical = publishable. Let me qualify that a bit. “Artificial,” in the sense I intend it, does not mean fake, phony, made up. It means crafted with deliberate artistic intent. “Artificial” means employing artifice to achieve the expression of a Deeper Truth. The artist is seeking the real by means of the artificial. Have you ever seen any of Monet’s Water Lilies in person? If you stand back at a viewing distance of, say, twenty feet, the illusion is astonishing. The…

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Art is Artifice

By Steven Pressfield | 18 Comments

We’ve been talking for the past couple of weeks about making the leap from unpublishable to publishable. [More on “the Foolscap Method” in another week or so.] Some factors we’ve cited are artistic distance, thematic organization, the process of evolution from amateur to professional. Today let’s address the difference between real and artificial. In a nutshell: Real = unpublishable. Artificial = publishable. When I say “artificial,” I mean crafted with deliberate artistic intention so as to produce an emotional, moral, and aesthetic response in the reader. What do I mean by “real?” Real is your journal. Real are your letters…

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Avoiding the Black Knight

By Callie Oettinger | 6 Comments

Was it one if by land, two if by sea, or two if by land and one if by sea? The sexton of Boston’s North Church paces the 1775-era floor, trying to remember Paul Revere’s instructions, to alert the colonists of British movements. Now which one was it? A few days before, Paul Revere sent advance word, letting the colonists know about the warning system: Paul Revere: Make sure you don’t do anything until you see the lights in the North Church steeple. Colonist #1: Not to do anything … even if you see the lights. Colonist #2: [hiccups] Paul…

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The Foolscap Method

By Steven Pressfield | 29 Comments

On the theme of progressing from unpublishable to publishable (and taking off from Shawn’s Friday post, The Itch), I offer herewith a few words on a technique I call “the Foolscap Method.” The Foolscap Method is a way to get a big project started—a novel, a Ph.D. dissertation, a new business. It’s a trick, but a very wise and astute one. It’s not just a technique for organizing one’s thoughts, it’s a way to outfox Resistance. I’m going to continue on this subject for the next week or two, as well as putting up a couple of ten-minute videos. Details…

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