“Sell it somewhere else”

I can’t resist putting up one more ballet story from my great friend and mentor, David Leddick.

Remember, in last week’s post, David told us about dancing at the Metropolitan Opera and taking a class there from Miss Craske, who told her students, “Leave your problems outside.”

David as Worldwide Creative Director on the Revlon account at Grey Advertising, 1969

Here’s more from David’s book, I’m Not For Everyone… Neither Are You:

Miss Craske taught the Cecchetti Method, a ballet technique created by Enrico Cecchetti, who had trained the Russian greats: Nijinsky, Pavlova, Karsavina and many others. 

She was an English lady with a high, piercing voice. She brooked no foolishness in her classes. One day my friend Betty Ann Paulin, who was a musical comedy dancer, was in the front row doing a combination.  

Miss Craske stopped the class and said, “Betty Ann, you wretched girl, what are you doing?” Betty Ann replied, “I’m selling it, Miss Craske.” 

Then came the reply: “Well, you can sell it somewhere else.”

At the Met, you were there to serve the music, the story, and the production. Never your own ego.

My first grown-up job was as an office boy at $105 a week on the Revlon account at Grey Advertising in New York. David was the Worldwide Creative Director. That was a big, big deal. He was such a great ad writer that his portfolio—the “book” you carried around to show what you’d done—didn’t contain his ads; it only held spoofs of his ads from New Yorker magazine cartoons.

David was around thirty-five then; this was probably ten years after his ballet career. Part of my job as an office boy was to carry the pages of ad copy from one star writer to another or to the art director they worked with. (Revlon was all star writers, mostly female.) I remember reading the stuff and thinking, “I can write this shit.”

One day, I gathered up my courage and knocked on David’s door. “How does somebody get to be a writer in this business?” David gave me an assignment. “Pick three existing ads that you like; then do the next one in the series. Then pick three you hate and do it right. This doesn’t have to be fancy, just scribble it on cocktail napkins.”

David introduced me to his friend Ed Hannibal, who was a creative director at Benton & Bowles. Ed hired me. So, whatever I’ve done or not done since then, it’s all David’s fault.

DO THE WORK

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.

do the work book banner 1

THE AUTHENTIC SWING

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.

The-Authentic-Swing

NOBODY WANTS TO READ YOUR SH*T

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.

noboybookcover

TURNING PRO

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?"

Turning-Pro

30 Comments

  1. Julio Baptista Barroco on January 31, 2024 at 2:12 am

    I suppose David’s advice can work for books in the genre of our chosen works just the same, who knows…

  2. C.M. O'Slatara on January 31, 2024 at 3:20 am

    This reminds me of an online study group I was a part of. We studied prose on a line by line level. Each week D, as we called him, would give us a passage of prose (or sometimes poetry) and we would pick it apart. We would leave detailed comments about what we thought worked and didn’t work. Then, each day, D would give us a short passage– one or two sentences of really stunning prose. Our job was to write the sentence again, following the pattern, but change the words. It got me inside the author’s head. Like sketching the greats in art, it taught me valuable lessons about how the mechanics of prose worked in a way that simply reading a book could not.

  3. Bing on January 31, 2024 at 3:23 am

    I didn’t get it, so I ordered David’s book. In fact I ordered two of his books.
    This guy is really a trip, I love him.

  4. Joe Badalamente on January 31, 2024 at 4:25 am

    Fortune favors the bold!

  5. jim on January 31, 2024 at 5:40 am

    great article. now i know how my piblisher thinks!

  6. Tolis on January 31, 2024 at 5:49 am

    Thank you very much dear Steve.

    So David gave you that advice, and then he sent you to Ed Hannibal. And that was the machinery that got you to life where you ended up to. Who knows what that machinery brought forth in life in the next decades. The law of cause and effect directed towards a militant path.

    Thank you for his book.

    When I finish my book, I don’t want to tell anyone. My thought for a long time has been to only send you the news through an email and then just have a good drink in the middle of the night. I don’t know why.

    Why tell it to anyone who isn’t the most appropriate to appreciate the thousands of hours and doubts for six years and the sacrifices and the dreams?

    I long for that day.

    I salute all creators here!

    • Bing on January 31, 2024 at 10:46 am

      Thank you Tolis, “Why tell it to anyone who isn’t the most appropriate to appreciate the thousands of hours and doubts for six years and the sacrifices and the dreams. I also salute all creators here! ” Amen

      • Tolis on February 2, 2024 at 2:53 am

        Thank you so much dear Bing, may we all finish those creations.

  7. Chris on January 31, 2024 at 6:19 am

    I commented on here last week about how my work space was being compromised because of new neighbors and the fact we can hear each other talking. While that’s a real sound problem and impinges on privacy for both parties, a big part of the problem was also Resistance in terms of letting other people’s mere presence define what I do or don’t do. A big part of the self-consciousness was rooted in Resistance. My reason for commenting is that I recently came across a wonderful depiction of Resistance amongst the artwork for the Sistine Chapel by Michelangelo. It really encapsulates the fear we feel because of imagined demons and I wanted to share it: https://arthive.net/res/media/img/oy1400/work/ce0/[email protected]

    • Jackie on January 31, 2024 at 6:34 am

      Chris, cool image, the visual to what we carry in our minds.

    • Kathy on January 31, 2024 at 8:05 am

      Chris, wonderful image that truly describes Resistance.

      • Kathy on January 31, 2024 at 8:17 am

        And of course, so was Mr Leddick. I loved it all.

        • Kathy on January 31, 2024 at 8:19 am

          Shoot! I keep putting my comments in the wrong place. Pay attention, Ms Magnusen.

          • Chris on January 31, 2024 at 9:58 am

            Maybe the comment was meant to be here. You never know.



  8. Jackie on January 31, 2024 at 6:31 am

    David’s book was a diamond! Thank you, David. And thanks Steve for sharing.
    Some of my favorites:
    I concern myself with what I think of other people, never with what they think of me.
    Hear, hear!

    Serious people act silly. Only silly people act serious.
    My life’s philosophy.

    Everyone is more intelligent than you think.
    I cleaned houses with a woman who said “warsh” not wash. Because she was not articulate, people treated her as less intelligent. (Trying scrubbing floors on hands and knees and having people walk over you. Right over, as if you were a hurdle placed in their way.) Cindy was one of the smartest people I had the pleasure of working with. She read people with the understanding of Shakespeare. Coworkers couldn’t understand how or why we got along so well. She drove most people crazy. Cindy knew this and knew what people thought of her. Cindy was true and authentic and generous. I was glad I took time to know her.

    The world is a classroom of children with their heads down on their desks being obedient. When you raise your head you discover there is no teacher.
    A friend once paid me the greatest compliment. She said, “You really do dance to the beat of your own drum.”

    Always moisturize your neck. It may be your face someday.
    Hilarious! The visual made me belly laugh.

  9. Tricia Fish on January 31, 2024 at 6:52 am

    Steve, I’d love so much to read more about your experience from your point of view — your experiences. I got to the end and wanted it to continue for 300 pages. Forgive me if you’ve already published a book on it and I’m unaware!
    Kindly — a writer in Toronto.

    • Steven Pressfield on January 31, 2024 at 11:38 am

      I did, Tricia, last year. It’s called GOVT CHEESE: A Memoir. You might like it …

      Thanks,
      Steve

  10. Stephen S. Power on January 31, 2024 at 6:58 am

    Re rewriting ads you hate: One way I learned to be a poet was rewriting the poems in POETRY and making them better. Great technique that also gets one past the idea that something published is perfect and eternal as well handed down as if by the gods, not constructed.

  11. Victor Juhasz on January 31, 2024 at 7:25 am

    Another great story with much to learn from.

  12. Kathy on January 31, 2024 at 7:59 am

    What a grand writer you are, Mr Pressfield. I so enjoyed reading this. Thank you. 🍃🌸🍃

  13. Chuck DeBettignies on January 31, 2024 at 8:17 am

    What a great exercise David gave you. In all we create, ultimately, we have to connect with the audience.
    It has to serve them, not us.

  14. Lidia on January 31, 2024 at 8:31 am

    I appreciate the insight into Miss Craske’s teaching style and the emphasis on discipline at the Met. It’s intriguing to learn about her association with the Cecchetti Method and her no-nonsense approach in class. The anecdote about Betty Ann Paulin highlights the expectation of prioritizing the music, story, and production over personal ego—an ethos that seems to have defined the atmosphere at the Met.

  15. Renita on January 31, 2024 at 11:31 am

    It takes some guts. Good job Steve!
    Also .. I’m finding it is a good practice to dance between computer writing sessions. Get up and 💃. I recommend Ed Sheeran’s “Shivers!”

  16. Philip Ebuluofor on January 31, 2024 at 11:38 am

    And at the advertising agency is where ” nobody want to read your shit” comes from? Great journey with a great story attached to it.

  17. Paullette MacDougal on January 31, 2024 at 12:27 pm

    Great advice. Thanks.

  18. Joe on January 31, 2024 at 5:40 pm

    I like knowing this piece of your backstory.

  19. Skribbl io on February 4, 2024 at 11:35 pm

    I hope you continue to publish worthwhile articles like this one or more for everyone to read!

  20. Vivid Accounting on February 9, 2024 at 6:55 am

    Vivid Accounting is a leading Business Consulting Firm, specializing in providing expert financial advisory and strategic guidance to businesses of all sizes. Our team of experienced professionals at Vivid Accounting offers comprehensive solutions tailored to your specific needs, helping you achieve financial success and growth. Business Consulting Firm

  21. run 3 on February 26, 2024 at 6:18 pm

    You clearly explain the purpose of our writing company. I adore how you articulate something we already know deep inside, but we can’t quite put it into words. I tried to respond to your query of why we even have a practice after reading it.

Leave a Comment





Patronu aradığında sürekli hasta olduğunu söyleyerek iş yerine yalan söylüyor porno hikaye Patronu artık bu kadarının gerçek olamayacağını ve rapor görmek istediğini dile getirip telefonu kapatıyor türbanlı Olgun kadın hemen bilgisayarının başına geçip özel bir doktor buluyor ve onu arayarak evine davet ediyor porno Muayene için eve gelen doktor olgun kadını muayene ediyor ve hiç bir sıkıntı olmadığını söylüyor brazzers porno Sarışın ablamız ise iş yerine rapor götürmesi gerektiğini bu yüzden rapor yazmasını istiyor brazzers porno fakat doktor bunun pek mümkün olmadığını dile getiriyor sex hikayeleri Daha sonra evli olan bu kahpe doktora iş atarak ona yavşıyor ve istediğini alana kadar durmuyor Porno İzle Karılarını takas etmek isteyen elemanlar hep birlikte evde buluşuyor türkçe porno Güzel vakit geçirdikten sonra kızlara isteklerini iletiyorlar ve hatunlarda kocalarının bu isteklerini kabul ediyorlar seks hikayeleri Hemen ellerine telefonları alan elemanlar karılarına video eşliğinde sakso çektiriyorlar porno izle Hiç beklemeden sikişe geçen elemanlar hatunları değiştire değiştire sikmeye başlıyorlar.