Broken Isn’t The End

This past Wednesday, artist Lucille Clerc tweeted the image below.

It shows three images of a pencil, in three stages of existence: full, broken in half, and resharpened into two pencils of varying lengths, but both with equally powerful points.

A fourth image might have both ends of a previously-broken pencil sharpened — or if the pencil reaches a point where it is too small to sharpen, the image might be of pigments on a wall, etchings on glass, or via other ways artists have expressed their work for eons.

Broken isn’t the end. It’s the preamble to a new beginning.

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Steve shows you the predictable Resistance points that every writer hits in a work-in-progress and then shows you how to deal with each one of these sticking points. This book shows you how to keep going with your work.

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A short book about the writing of a first novel: for Steve, The Legend of Bagger Vance. Having failed with three earlier attempts at novels, here's how Steve finally succeeded.



Steve shares his "lessons learned" from the trenches of the five different writing careers—advertising, screenwriting, fiction, nonfiction, and self-help. This is tradecraft. An MFA in Writing in 197 pages.



Amateurs have amateur habits. Pros have pro habits. When we turn pro, we give up the comfortable life but we find our power. Steve answers the question, "How do we overcome Resistance?"



  1. Mary Doyle on January 9, 2015 at 5:20 am

    Thanks Callie – this is a terrific message to start the new year off – and welcome back!

  2. gwen abitz on January 9, 2015 at 5:27 am


  3. andrew lubin on January 9, 2015 at 7:02 am

    Callie – Only if we make it so – Je suis Charlie //

    • Brian on January 9, 2015 at 8:18 am

      Good point. Critical point. The choice is ours.

    • Templeton on January 10, 2015 at 5:22 pm

      Andrew, I suspect you’re the only commenter who realized that this cartoon is REALLY about the Charlie Hebdo massacre. #iamcharlie

  4. Kathy Ostman-Magnusen on January 9, 2015 at 8:10 am

    Ahh the brilliance. Thank you!

  5. Brian on January 9, 2015 at 8:27 am

    Echoing Mary, welcome back. Last year I was in a pretty comfortable battle rhythm of reading something every M/W/F from this site–so I’ve been suffering a bit of withdrawal symptoms.

    Your fourth image idea is powerful. I’m reading “Steve Jobs” right now, and he talked about making a dent in the universe.

    The Army embraced “Resilience Training” about 6 years ago, meta-cognition-thinking about thinking and other skills. Main point is we are gonna take body blows, it is unavoidable. We must be able to bounce back. I run the program for my state, and I’m going to steal that image to include in all future training.

    I’ve frequently thought of a ‘George Baily’ app, an app that can show you how you’re connected to people, and what influence you’ve had on them. Thought it would be great for teachers, but also to keep people from a sense of isolation. You’re fourth image idea may be an exercise I have everyone do.

    Welcome back, Happy New Year. 2015 will rock.

  6. Alex Cespedes on January 9, 2015 at 8:33 am


  7. Sonja on January 9, 2015 at 12:43 pm

    Love this. So simple, but powerful, especially for us artists in the trenches.

  8. Templeton on January 10, 2015 at 11:04 am

    I think the REAL MESSAGE of the image is that murdering the cartoonists of Charlie Hebdo would not stop free speech but only intensify it.

    I’m surprised Callie could write an entire post and seemingly not realize–and certainly not mention!–that this image was drawn and circulated in reply to the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

    I’m also surprised that some of the commenters seem equally oblivious.

  9. Consuelo Castanuela on January 11, 2015 at 12:06 pm

    2 Corinthian 4:9…we are persecuted but not abandoned; we are struck down but not destroyed.

    Many are unaware of what is going on in the world…quite honestly…I was surprised there was football game on last night:)

    Our world changed, never to be the same again on 9/11. Not everyone knows that; others choose to not accept this fact. Many people, see Howard Dean, are making statements that clearly show their ignorance on the subject of Islam.

    Need more info: Research Gates of Vienna.

    Of note also is that more Muslims have come to Jesus Christ in the last 40 years than in the last 400. He is appearing to them and calling them by name.He is doing MAJOR supernatural healings for them.

    Factoid: there are 3000+ denominations in Christianity.

    Factoid 2: Atheism is the fastest growing religion.

    Me: I believe. I am a Christ follower. “Choose today whom you will serve, as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.” Despite what you read or have been taught (see Crusades), you will not find God asking anyone to kill or force anyone into believing…He will honor every choice. All, believers and unbelievers will sand before Him and give an account of OUR life…not my ex husbands, or anyone else: I will answer for me and for me only.

  10. Anonymous on January 30, 2023 at 5:25 am

    If I could read your articles endlessly, I would do it endlessly. Because it’s interesting and educational. I think that you have written a wonderful post, thank you for every line, every letter in this line. This is amazing

  11. Anonymous on January 30, 2023 at 5:26 am

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