How Writers Think About Writing and Successful Models

Writing One of the not so well kept secrets about learning to write well is reading well written material.

Good fiction writing can teach us about intereaction, for example, which is very useful when writing in social.

For years, I studied the classics in Latin, Greek, and Italian. I learned to find new meaning when reading authors in their original language.

That's why I was thrilled to be able to read in English, and to some extent in German and French, in addition to Italian.

The best translations are no substitute for the original voice. And so the best writing advice comes from the people who confront the blank page on a regular basis: writers.

Paul Hardin's advice# is to use clear language, tell the truth, write for your audience, reading the best, helping readers immerse themselves in the story, and get your art written any way you can:

[…] a huge part of being a writer is discovering your own intellectual and aesthetic autonomy, and how you best get the best words onto the page.

[…] Outside of writing workshops and seminars, no one cares if you sit facing the blank page for six hours every day beginning at sunrise, or if you loaf around frittering away most days like a bum, or if you write your book one line at a time on the sly in between typing your boss’s business letters at the office.

What’s important is that your reader holds a thrilling, amazing work of art in her hands.

Picking a construct that works for you is the basis for Ryan North's successful business model with Dinosaur Comics. As he says in this interview#:

Things along those lines, which is what parents say, and I’m glad they did because I love and respect them.

But, really, it worked because the model is that you have tons of people reading your comic, and you hope that a percent of a percent will like it enough to buy some merchandise, buy a book or a t-shirt.

It took a few years to work, for people to discover the site and about 70,000 people read the comic today. I’m basically just writing for anyone who shares my sense of humor, says North.

Writer and Editor Callie Oettinger's advice: don't major in the minor#. In a recent post at Steve Pressfield's site, she comments on the recent Amazon's Jeff Bezon 60 minutes segment on drones and the changes in book publishing and selling.

Quoting Bezos on the model, Amazon is not happening to bookselling. The future is happening to bookselling, she comments:

It’s easier to bash Bezos and Amazon than it is to look in the mirror and ask, Why didn’t my publishing house lead the charge to sell books online? Why did we focus on the chains as the future when we saw the indy stores struggling to stay afloat? Why didn’t we recognize the potential for the future?

She goes on to explain how greenlighting is changing. The community Steven Pressfield has been building at his site is a good example of that. In a post about the author's interview with Oprah# earlier in the year, Pressfield shares a few nuggets on what works:

Oprah, you must have done thousands of interviews over your career and you’re obviously great at it. Do you have a concept for interviewing people? Is there some guiding principle that you use?

It's about intention, she said. Which he elaborated on through the writer's lens:

[…] it seems certain that the final product will be like any good narrative. It’ll have a beginning, middle, and end. It will hew to a theme (or, as Shawn would say, a controlling idea.) It will explore the theme through variations. And it will finish with a coherent wrap-up.

Writing is a skill that can be learned. After 1.3 million words just at this site, I can attest to the value of practice to figure out what works for you in terms of voice and style and to get better.

Some posts come out well, others take more time to conceive and push through. It is undeniable that if you keep doing and getting the story out, you will connect with others who also think it is a good idea. Even when by conventional standards it may at first sound strange.

For me, the best vehicle of expression is actually speaking, interacting in a live forum. Many of you who have met me at events agree.

So if you would like to build energy through interaction at your next event, panel discussion, live conversation, or create team connection during your planning phase for 2014 contact me to a custom talk or worklab.



Valeria is an experienced listener. She designs service and product experiences to help businesses rediscover the value of promises and its effects on relationships and culture. She is also frequent speaker at conferences and companies on a variety of topics. Book her to speak here.