What It Takes

Getting in the Ring

By Shawn Coyne | 36 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 | 4 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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Don't Major in the Minor

By Callie Oettinger | 56 Comments

(Past is present. With a December 6, 2013 date, this post is a little over four years old. The drones haven’t replaced humans yet, but Amazon is still pushing distribution, with its announcement that Amazon is going to enter UPS’ and FedEx’s space. O’Reilly has continued to change things up since this writing, but is still leading the way. More cultivated subscription models, too.) “Don’t major in the minor.” Mellody Hobson said it, but I’ve thought it these last few days, since watching Jeff Bezos on 60 Minutes this past Sunday. In case you haven’t heard, Bezos unveiled a prototype…

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Narrative Altitude

By Shawn Coyne | 8 Comments

From www.storygrid.com, here is the next piece in my exploration of Malcolm Gladwell’s seminal work, The Tipping Point. For over a decade, Malcolm Gladwell understood the opportunity and potential of the tipping point idea. And by the time he arrived at The New Yorker in 1996, chances are he’d explored many of its intellectual trails—GRODZINS ’57; SCHELLING ’69, ’71, ’78; GRANOVETTER ’78, ’83; MORLEY ’84; CRANE ’89. If only in his own head, while waiting in line for take-out coffee at The Red Flame Diner on 44th Street, he’d cleared substantial tipping point terrain of his own. But his goal…

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The Key to It All

By Callie Oettinger | 9 Comments

Sherlock Holmes pays attention. His big details are the ones ignored as little. His knowledge of crimes and human nature come from his own experiences and from books and reports. He reads of wrongdoings, scandals, atrocities and the like, in reports from other countries, and he is a devoted reader of The Times’ “Agony” column. Holmes is fiction, but what he observes is not—nor are his sources. The Times did have an “Agony” column. It’s an aged rabbit hole worth diving into. The personal advertisements that ran in it aren’t so far from what’s found in this online world of ours.…

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Recognizing Opportunity

By Shawn Coyne | 3 Comments

Continuing my musings on the evolution of The Tipping Point, here’s the next installment from www.storygrid.com… It’s time for Malcolm Gladwell to deliver a fourth piece for The New Yorker. He decides the moment has come to open up that tipping point sardine can that he’s had marinating in the back of his mind’s idea pantry for ten years. The question now becomes how does he make it interesting to a wide audience?

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A Part of Our Lives

By Callie Oettinger | 12 Comments

Boston felt like home. I was in high school when I stepped into Bean Town for the first time, but I already knew Charles St. because I’d traveled it with Robert McCloskey’s Mr. and Mrs. Mallard, and I knew the North Church and Charlestown Shore, because I’d rowed and ridden with Longfellow’s Revere. I knew the city from childhood picture books and history textbooks, books that had been my friends and mentors, offering comfort and instruction. They were a part of my life just as much as any living, breathing teacher or relative. They were a part of me. I…

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