I’ve been staring at a blank page for an hour.
- Spitefully get something written and deliver trash on deadline?
- Go stretch, chug a bottle of water, walk around the office, and return when I’m ready?
Forget your boss.
I know what the client / reader / customer would prefer (assuming, of course, that they get an update).
Does your job ever require you to write?
- Monthly promotion?
Remember this: avoid using your paycheck as reason to do the writing.
Use the recipient, instead.
They need your words. Money does not.
If you want to be a writer, you have to read. Expand your mind. Shape your style.
But when you’re done reading, put the stuff away.
Otherwise you’re writing down someone else’s words. And that’s not writing.
Both illegal and upsetting.
We know behavior is contagious.
Uggs, healthy eating, and using the phrase “at the end of the day.” Martial status, parenting style, spending habits.
Pretty much everything.
You do what people around you do.
But it’s not just for social stuff.
Creative quality and style, especially writing is contagious, too.
If you all you consume is Tweets, hip hop music, and Instagram quotables, it doesn’t matter if you were once a profound writer.
You’re bound to catch the “shitty writing” bug.
Moral of the story?
Shitty writing is like Ebola.
Stay the fuck away.
If you’re a creative, you need influences. The people that shape you.
And that’s the key.
They shape YOU.
You don’t shape yourself to become them.
There will never be another them. And even if you get close, nobody will be interested.
Nobody wants anything but you.
The background: I watched the latest Louis CK special last night. You can download it from his website for $5. That’s the only way to get it. I heard about its release from an email from Louis CK (because I’m on his mailing list).
It was great.
Here are 16 things I learned from Louis CK’s latest.
- When you can’t do bigger, do smaller.
- Frightening work usually gets great results.
- Asking people not to steal is more effective than telling them not to.
- Don’t waste words, especially on stage.
- There’s nothing wrong with doing certain things yourself (not outsourcing).
- But you still gotta have help to get results.
- Don’t take yourself too seriously.
- Make epic things rarely but regularly.
- When selling your work, make it easy to say yes (and hard to say no).
- When sending long marketing emails, make people feel like it’s written directly to them.
- And make them feel like they’re there with you while you write it.
- And fill the email with emotion.
- Bring water on stage.
- Call the audience out.
- One-hour specials live forever.
- End with a bang.
Everyone can find something in the movie “Boyhood” with which to identify.
Perhaps that was the goal.
Certainly, though, that’s why the movie did nothing for me.
I’d prefer to make things that you either love or don’t appreciate.
Shreds of appeal for the masses? I couldn’t even get past the first hour.
Moral of the story: Don’t be like “Boyhood.” Resist temptation to make something for the masses. Appreciation is not enough.
What do you do when people think you take yourself too seriously?
Not sure what the answer is, alas.
But, when you wholeheartedly agree with “the people,” you end up publishing crazy shit like this.
Denying and embracing.
All at the same time.
Funny thing with creative work.
The stuff that was a struggle to create is often less appreciated than the stuff that was effortless.
Not to say the effortless work should be the goal.
But an effortless creative process should be.
A blog written like a book kinda sucks. Reading it is a chore.
A book written like a blog sucks, too. Reading it is a bore.
So, know you’re audience, writers.
That is unless you don’t want them asking for more.