What It Takes

Secrets of the Creative Brain

By Callie Oettinger | 11 Comments

In this week’s “Writing Wednesdays” post (“The Artist’s Journey, #10“), Steve discussed the two worlds in which artists reside, and how artists break through from one world to the other to access ideas and inspiration. But . . . How does that happen?

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Art + Commerce = Better Art

By Shawn Coyne | 4 Comments

Here’s another post from www.storygrid.com about the relationship between an agent and her client.  And another reminder…Malcolm Gladwell has a course available from Masterclass.  I’m hearing great stuff about it! We’re deconstructing the invisible work behind media headlines like UNKNOWN WRITER GETS A MILLION DOLLARS.

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How to Pitch

By Callie Oettinger | 49 Comments

[This post first ran March 11, 2016. Bringing it back for a re-run today.] You have a new book or film or album you want to promote — and you’re waging a letter/e-mail writing campaign to garner support. The following is what you need to know before you get started. The Pitch Bottom line: You want something. You want to recommend someone or something, or you want someone to recommend you. You want an endorsement, an interview, a keynote speaker, a job, something for free, someone to make a decision for you.

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What Good Agents Know

By Shawn Coyne | 3 Comments

Let’s get back to my series about Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point from www.storygrid.com.  Once the magazine piece debuted in The New Yorker, it was smooth sailing from there on in, right?  Not exactly.  So a longform piece like Malcolm Gladwell’s The Tipping Point in the June 3, 1996 edition of The New Yorker is a slam dunk easy sell as a book project, right? It went from four thousand words in a magazine to seven figures worth of guaranteed book advance just based on its level of professionalism and readability.

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Good Faith or Good Practice?

By Callie Oettinger | 16 Comments

About 15 years ago, I sat at a conference table with an author and his soon to be publisher, and listened to the publisher’s counsel state that the publisher likes to have all copyrights in its name. I shifted in my seat, uncomfortable with the direction of the conversation.

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Getting in the Ring

By Shawn Coyne | 37 Comments

[We’re bringing this post back from December 23, 2011. With the launch of Steve’s new site and the launch of The War of Art Mini-Course it seemed time to revisit The War of Art’s backstory, as well as how Steve and Shawn starting working together, and the projects that followed.] At the end of the year 2000, I had it all figured out. I left my job as senior editor at Doubleday to start up a new kind of publishing house called Rugged Land Books. Rugged Land would publish a very small list of titles, twelve original books a year (one…

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It’s a Kick in the Ass

By Callie Oettinger | 15 Comments

I will write the Great American Novel by the time I’m 18. I will write the Great American Novel. I will write a novel. I will write. Between ages 14 and 40, my goals changed dramatically, from starting with the heavy weights to lifting manageable weights every day. I was reminded of this when I read Steve’s post “Thinking in Blocks of Time,” which is among the articles included as additional reading in part three of The War of Art Mini-Course. In the article, Steve talks about returning from a vacation and gearing up to get back to work. The…

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Four Thousand Words for Seven Figures

By Shawn Coyne | 5 Comments

As I continue my series from www.storygrid.com in which I storygrid The Tipping Point, I’m pleased to report that the man himself, Malcolm Gladwell, is teaching a course at Master Class.  I’ll definitely be checking it out to see how his process compares to The Story Grid methodology.  My choice from the start of this series was to demonstrate how one can learn from a master without having access to the master.  So here’s more of my take as an obsessive fan piecing together this masterwork from afar. The title of this post is the kind of industry news headline…

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Please Repeat Your Message

By Callie Oettinger | 13 Comments

My husband and I walked in on a wedding. We wanted a drink and some downtime, but instead we got flower girls, sequins, stares—and a polite request to leave. It was a reminder that the obvious place for important messaging isn’t always the best place—and a lesson on how easy it is to miss the signs. Here’s how it played out. We were in the mountains visiting family. We got caught outside in freezing rain. The kids wanted showers and pajamas. My husband and I wanted a drink and a firepit. The kids stayed with the family and my husband…

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Storygridding 4,000 words of Big Idea Nonfiction

By Shawn Coyne | 4 Comments

For fun, over at www.storygrid.com a while back, I storygridded Malcolm Gladwell’s seminal article from the June 3, 1996 edition of The New Yorker.  I tracked the narrative altitude in the work that I described in my post from February 2, 2018. The vertical axis moves from the “street” level perspective at the lowest elevation through the “city” vantage point up to the “national” level and then all the way to the highest “universal” level. Four specific lenses that he uses to progressively build dramatic tension.

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