April Wrap Up
I’ve not been looking forward to writing this wrap up post. My current system of blogging once a month about the books I’ve read isn’t ideal. I’m not writing well about what I’ve read, even though I’ve been taking notes and sending myself email reminders for points I want to make in my wrap up post.
I’ve got some ideas for improving this system, but it’s important for me to talk about what I’ve been reading and what I’ve learned, so let’s jump into it!
Let’s be honest: at this point, I’ve read enough Seth Godin. I am beginning to see adding one of his books to my monthly line up as a bit of a cop-out. I already know I like his style. I find his books interesting and fun to read. I agree with the points he’s making.
I’m also familiar with his input, and I should branch out. Luckily, Godin is a fantastic resource for discovering other authors. But on to the book itself!
Purple Cow was the usual, delightful, well-written and insightful book on a specific marketing subject I’ve come to expect from Godin. It’s about building remarkability into your product or business from the beginning. Marketing shouldn’t be an afterthought. It should be a core component of your product. Your product should be so remarkable people want to talk about it. Your customers should want to evangelize for you, and to speak on your behalf.
How many words do you think you write in a day? A thousand? Ten thousand? I don’t know how many I write in a day. My professional life entails writing a ton of email, every single day. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d say ten thousand. At the low end. And that’s not including my personal writing. That’s not including the 500 or 1,000 words a day I write for myself.
If you have a website, you are a publisher. If you are on social media, you are in marketing. And that means we are all writers.
I love this perspective.
Writing isn’t an Art. It’s a Craft, and while you need some germ of talent to be a great writer, anyone can learn to write. Everyone can learn to be a better writer. Writing is accessible, and it’s one of the things I love most about writing.
I don’t understand people who want to be writers without actually writing. There’s no short cut. You have to give a shit, learn some basic rules, and write. If you want to be a writer, you need to write a lot, and that’s the hard part.
The War of Art
I do not have enough good things to say about this book. This is the most inspirational, most applicable, and best book I’ve read this year.
The biggest thing I got from this book was identifying my own lazy behavior. Behavior that often gets in the way of Doing My Work, which is how I think about writing, editing, and otherwise getting ideas kicking around inside my head onto paper.
Pressfield calls this Resistance. It comes from within, and it stands between who you are and who you want to be. A telling quote:
If you take Resistance at its word, you deserve everything you get. Resistance is always lying, and always full of shit.
Resistance rears its ugly head every time I don’t want to sit down and write. Every time I fuck around on Twitter and Reddit instead of writing 500 words. Every time I choose to play video games instead of editing a story.
Names have power. Pressfield has given me a name for thais behavior that I’ve long been aware of, and now I find it easier to stave off. Easier to recognize when I’m stalling, and easier to recognize when I am not using my time as well as I could.