The Final Deadline

December 1, 2010, Steve introduced the “What It Takes” column with his introductory article of the same name, “What It Takes”.

Shawn’s first article in the series, “Getting the Meeting”, went live December 3, 2010, with an introduction by Steve that stated:

“With Shawn’s post, we’ll establish a “What It Takes” slot on the blog every Friday until publication in June.”

The publication Steve was referring to was his then-upcoming novel The Profession, and, as you know, the column lasted a little longer than June of 2011.

“Getting the Meeting”, is a great read and one of my favorites from Shawn—one of his classic behind-the-scenes views of the book publishing industry.

At the same time, over on “Writing Wednesdays”, Steve was writing about The Profession, from his perspective as the writer. “When It Crashes” and “When It Crashes, Part Two”, are raw, unfiltered looks at what happens when, as Steve wrote,

“ . . . the wheels come off smack in the middle of the project—and you’re left dazed by the side of the road, staring at the smoking wreckage of your work.”

If you haven’t read them before, read them now. If you have read them, read them again. Still each word rings as true as the day it was written.

I came into the mix December 12, 2010, with “The Elephant in the Room”. Steve’s introduction to the article shared a bit of our background together, to include,

“But what really got us working together full-time is this blog. “Writing Wednesdays” was Callie’s idea. Without her, it wouldn’t exist or it would have pooped out months ago. In fact, the blog itself was Callie’s idea. She cracked the whip over me to make me do it.”

In my 13 years of working with Steve, the seeding and then nurturing of “Writing Wednesdays” (ten years old as of July 22 of this year) is at the top of my list of things we did together. “The Elephant in the Room”, opens by touching on that early work, then taps into Shawn’s “Getting the Meeting”, and moves over to a message I’m still repeating today about outreach, and reaching your audience.

In the years that followed, Shawn and I alternated writing the column every Friday, with a few exceptions, when Shawn might go on a run for a few weeks, or I might do the same, or we might feature pieces from the Archives.

Among those messages that appeared within “What It Takes” through the years, reside a few repeated themes that went beyond book publishing insider talk and into each of our lives as and our struggles through our own art and, yes, publishing. They’re along the lines of slowing down and reflecting, learning to say no and learning what no means, doing something and doing something every day, and believing in ourselves when the toxic avengers are on the march. (Baseball and Bob Dylan and the pros from Dover made frequent appearances, too.)

I was thinking about my favorite post, but there isn’t a favorite. When you write over a period of nine years, the articles reflect where you were at that time. There are some I like less, because I know they weren’t my best effort. There were days when I didn’t know what to write and was embarrassed by posting something I wouldn’t want to read myself. Then there were other articles, when I knew the Muse existed outside Steve’s home and was paying me a visit. As I write this now, I can feel her in my head. There’s a soft, calming feeling that comes when she visits. Words just flow. Anxiety doesn’t even try to play her usual games, because she knows I’m on it. I got this. The stomach flip flops leave. The destructive head-talk fades. Frustration flees, too. Just me, the Muse, and my words.

All of the above is a way of saying that, after ignoring that June 2011 deadline, we’re finally hitting it.

This is the last post in the series.

I hope you’ll visit the archived articles. There’s some good stuff in there.

Most important: Thank you for the time you’ve given us every Friday for the past nine years.

Posted in


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. Paulinho Uda on February 15, 2019 at 3:24 am

    A part of me does not want this to end, but I know that every journey must have an end, and at this moment, I can only say thank you for all these good times. Hope to see you soon on the next adventure!

  2. Mary Doyle on February 15, 2019 at 5:37 am

    I will miss this series, but I am so very appreciative to have been on part of this journey with you every Friday. A thousand thanks, and sign me up for the next journey!

  3. Joel D Canfield on February 15, 2019 at 6:11 am

    . . . but not, I pray, the last we see of Callie O round these parts.

    Thanks for what’s been, and thanks in advance for what’s coming.

  4. Susan Setteducato on February 15, 2019 at 6:15 am

    Thank you for all of it, Callie.

  5. Ann on February 15, 2019 at 6:18 am

    Loved reading it. Thanks for the effort, the time and the inspiration.

  6. Maureen Anderson on February 15, 2019 at 6:19 am


    And…thanks! 🙂

  7. Erik Dolson on February 15, 2019 at 6:20 am

    Thank you for the work, the insights, for creating and sharing something of quality. You made a difference.

  8. Cali Bird on February 15, 2019 at 6:23 am

    Wow. Thank you, all of you. This is an emotional post. Thanks for the links back into the archives. I will review them. And the next thought that popped into my head was – “I wonder what will come next!”

  9. Evelyn Starr on February 15, 2019 at 6:24 am

    Knowing when to let go can be almost as hard as starting. Bravo to your 8+ years, and to your uplifting and classy curtain call! Many thanks Callie.

  10. Daniel J. Stutzman on February 15, 2019 at 6:25 am

    Thank you for your words, Callie. They’ve made a difference.

  11. Susi Burke on February 15, 2019 at 6:26 am

    I have been a late comer to this wonderful journey, but I am so glad I found the road! Thank you so much for all of the words- inspiration, thoughts, hard facts- you gave it all and more. As with others, looking forward to the next journey! Blessings and Love!

  12. John Arends on February 15, 2019 at 6:30 am

    Oh Callie. We will miss you, your honest voice and your bravery in being so vulnerable in your commitment to be of service to others. Thank you for providing comfort and wisdom. Thank you for being our bridge, for clueing us all in about what it takes to make it over and through the turbulent and troubled waters of being an artist and a professional in these challenging times…

    To quote from one of Simon & Garfunkel’s best: “Sail on, Silver Girl…sail on by…

    “Your time has come to shine
    All your dreams are on their way
    See how they shine
    Oh, if you need a friend
    I’m sailing right behind
    Like a bridge over troubled water
    I will ease your mind
    Like a bridge over troubled water
    I will ease your mind”

    That you did, Callie. That you did.

  13. Dave Colquhoun on February 15, 2019 at 7:01 am

    WOW, I am so sad this is ending. I understand I guess, I really looked forward to these every Friday. I will go through the archives for sure. Thank you so much for all the amazing articles and good luck with everything in the future. I hope the Muse visits you often.


  14. Jed Hicks on February 15, 2019 at 7:04 am

    Ditto on the “Thank you for all of it Callie.” I’m a latecomer to these 9 years of the blog but the nuggets of insight and examination have been fantastic.

  15. JL Allderdice on February 15, 2019 at 7:13 am

    What just happened?
    (gets chocolate bar).

  16. Joe Jansen on February 15, 2019 at 7:17 am

    I’m grateful for the honesty and vulnerability and insights you’ve shared in this space. I always look forward to hearing what you have to say, past or present or future.

  17. Lyn Blair on February 15, 2019 at 7:50 am

    The thought provoking insights, the shared wisdom, all of it has been so wonderful. I’ll dig into the archives for sure. Thank you for being there for us, your readers and fellow artists. Hoping you’ll have another adventure that springs to life and if you do, I plan on being there to enjoy it.

  18. bob therriault on February 15, 2019 at 7:51 am

    Thank you for all the work that you have put into this and for keeping the posts available in the archives. There are beginnings and endings, as there should be, but the question that is on my mind is what’s next? Looking forward to see where you go next.

    Cheers, bob

  19. Karen Ruth on February 15, 2019 at 8:04 am

    I’m a latecomer, too, and I’d like to thank you. This space holds treasure, even for those not writing. During a difficult transition, I was left dazed by the side of the road, staring at the smoking wreckage of my life! Beginning anew, I appreciate what is here and I apply it.

    I’ll be in the archives regularly. All the best.

  20. Sara Higgins on February 15, 2019 at 8:13 am

    Thank you for the inspiration, honesty, and guidance. Time to welcome my Muse.

  21. Tom Bentley on February 15, 2019 at 8:23 am

    Thanks for all the fish. (Always savory, and well served)

  22. Elise Allan on February 15, 2019 at 8:26 am

    Oh gosh, I will miss this! Thank you so much, Callie, your posts, and the interactions and comments, have been an inspiration. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  23. Bill on February 15, 2019 at 8:32 am

    Wow… this moment, I can only express two of the most powerful words in the English language:


  24. Eric Turner on February 15, 2019 at 8:34 am

    I’m a relative newcomer to the blog, so I’m glad there are archives to explore. Thank you for everything you’ve written and done for us along the way.

    Now, what am I going to look forward to on Fridays?

  25. Carl Blackburn on February 15, 2019 at 9:00 am

    Thank you for your insights, your humor, your advice, your positive mental attitude, your cheerfulness, you are the friend we all want to have…no doubt we will miss this weekly dose of perfection…I look forward to sharing your next adventure. All the best to you.

  26. Thomas Womack on February 15, 2019 at 9:06 am

    Very grateful for all the help and insight….

  27. Renita on February 15, 2019 at 9:37 am

    Closing a cycle when you are done is an art. I will be planning to close my cycle on blog posts for the 7 Goddesses and Female Archetypes in a few months. But who knows?
    I appreciate so much the example you set by showing up here regularly. Thanks for cracking the whip over Steve. I’m sure he appreciates this teamwork. None of us are in this alone. Thanks again for showing us that.

  28. Cheryl on February 15, 2019 at 9:49 am

    Thank you SO much for all you’ve given to this group. Seth Godin sometimes sets “if you’ll be missed when you’re not there” as a standard for important work. You will definitely, definitely be missed.

  29. Sue Trumpfheller on February 15, 2019 at 11:03 am

    I’ve flagged all your posts so they don’t get deleted when I do a dump. Thanks you so much for the encouragement and wisdom. Blessings Sue

  30. Jonathan on February 15, 2019 at 11:36 am

    Ah, well. So be it. Echoes of everything above. This will be much missed, and thank you so, so much for all these years. So appreciated.

  31. Dorothy Seeger on February 15, 2019 at 12:11 pm

    Thank you, Callie, for your dedication and all the help you have given us. Good luck for your next step!
    Onward, Dorothy

  32. Bing on February 15, 2019 at 12:30 pm

    Thanks Callie I love who you are.

  33. John Farrell on February 15, 2019 at 12:36 pm

    Thank you, Callie!

  34. BRIAN S NELSON on February 15, 2019 at 1:27 pm

    To echo everyone else, thank you. I had to re-read this post because my brain wouldn’t register the fact that this is the end. I am saddened, but grateful for all you’ve given.

  35. Mando on February 15, 2019 at 1:36 pm

    Thank you Callie. You are truly generous with your talents, time and effort.

  36. Debbie L. Kasman on February 15, 2019 at 2:00 pm

    Feeling really sad…but ever so grateful. Happy trails to you, Callie.


  37. Barbara L. Newton-Holmes on February 15, 2019 at 3:03 pm

    Oh, no! I will surely miss this rach Friday. All the best, Callie, and thanks for the years!!

  38. Bill Evans on February 15, 2019 at 4:04 pm

    Friday is the end of the week, right? Uh huh. Sitting at my day job, I would get these posts and smile. I’d read them before I’d finished my coffee so I could begin Friday the way I wanted to finish it.

    How’s this gonna work now? Holy shit does life goes by fast. Writing won’t change it, even if we pretend, but what else we got?

    Sending love to you. Make yourself heard!

    Yours, Bill

  39. Mindy Tarquini on February 15, 2019 at 5:32 pm

    I’ve loved this series and have shared the links a number of times. It’s been and will continue to be an amazing resource. Thank you.

  40. Angela on February 15, 2019 at 7:24 pm

    I’m so sorry to read this, Callie, but you are still part of the team, yes? I am already feeling a loss—I’ve grown accustomed to your face and your perspectives in my Friday in-box! THANK YOU

  41. Jesusres on February 15, 2019 at 10:34 pm

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    • John Brandt on February 17, 2019 at 12:17 pm

      Jesusres, this is extremely helpful advice without any dramatic imagery to dilute its fundamental truth.

  42. Tony Monterastelli on February 16, 2019 at 6:01 am

    The archived articles will stand the test of time. Thanks for leaving behind such an incredibly rich resource for artists.

  43. Paul C on February 16, 2019 at 8:50 am

    Thank you, Callie

  44. david hendler on February 16, 2019 at 11:16 pm

    Hi Callie,

    Best to you in your future endeavors. I just found this blog, so I’m really sad–no, frustrated–that it’s going away. But I hope you pop up on my horizon, or I yours, in the future soon. Thanks for all you do.


  45. Julie Murphy on February 18, 2019 at 3:32 am

    Thanks Callie, Shawn and Steven for all you’ve made available to us. I know we’ll be mining the archives for years.

  46. Patrícia Caldas on February 19, 2019 at 1:19 pm

    Thank you so much!

  47. BETH D BARANY on February 19, 2019 at 7:33 pm

    Callie, I have very much enjoyed the series and all of your stories. Thank you!

  48. Kathleen Graham on February 20, 2019 at 12:54 pm

    What a joy it has been to read your posts, Callie! So artful and authentic. Many thanks and blessings to you. And may the Muse be with you, always.

  49. Millicent on February 25, 2019 at 8:20 am

    Thank You! May GOD’s Blessings continue in each of Your Lives as You transition. With warm regard,
    Millicent A. Crisp

  50. Liliane on February 25, 2019 at 5:14 pm

    I’m so sorry that’s my first – and last – comment in here… I had a good time reading you, I taught I finaly found a place where to dig motivation, found the courage to go through the life I think that should be – for me (sorry – I have difficulty to say exactly what I mean in english… which is not my first language….)…
    I am thankfull to have found people like you… like you all… I now beleive a little more in human being…
    Well… Callie I wish you the best! I hope you will Be somehow you want !


  51. Kevin Waldron on April 6, 2019 at 8:33 am

    Thanks Callie, reading your words every week gave me the inspiration that, even though I’m not a writer, I could publish a weekly newsletter and have it be useful.

    Just hit 52 weeks in a row last week, thanks for all your effort, it really helped me.

  52. Yvonne on May 3, 2019 at 8:10 am

    I somehow missed thos post when it was first published in February. I’ll really miss your posts, Callie–I looked forward to them each week. I wish you the best.

  53. Mehak on February 18, 2022 at 9:15 pm

    Thanks for sharing this.

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