New Blog Series, but I Need YOUR Help

Do you remember the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards when Taylor Swift was accepting her award and Kanye went on stage and stole the mic from her and ranted about Beyonce’s video being the best of all time?

I’m going to play the part of Taylor Swift, except I’m not accepting any awards, and the stage is, well, my own stage, my blog. But I’m also going to play Kanye. And I’m going to take away the mic from myself and point the attention away from my award winning music video, away from my dashing good looks, away from my poise and charm and multi-platinum selling albums and focus it on writing and creativity. Somewhere Beyonce is shaking her head saying, Oh Ross.

Writing and Creativity

I’ve asked 13 incredibly talented Creatives to share with us what gives them the courage to create.

I’m not asking them to share so I don’t have to do all the work on my own blog. It’s more than that…

Creating is a daunting task. But it’s also full of joy and meaning and mystery.

How do Creatives make the first move, write the first word, fling the first brush stroke, peel back the first layer of clay?

What inspires them, what moves them, what drives them?

These are questions I wrestle with every day. Beginning anew with a blank page or a fresh idea, battling fatigue and weariness and distractions and discouragement and lack of motivation.

I want to know how other Creatives create and about the forces that drive them.

The series will begin in June and continue through August. It’s intended to be a conversation, a meditation, and an inspiration.

But in order for it to be all that, I need YOU!!!

Yes, you wonderful reader. I need you to continue the conversation. My blog here is just the start, but not the end. You have almost a month to work on it, but I’d like you to write a blog post that answers this question: “What gives you courage to create? What’s your doubt? How do you find your first word?”

OK so it’s three questions.

When you write your own blog post that somehow speaks to those questions SEND ME THE LINK and I will share the link with our awesome blogosphere community (but don’t post it until June).

We’re going to spark a new conversation about beginnings.

I’ll have more news about the blog series and these 13 Creatives on Monday, so stay tuned, and get to writing (but keep it secret until June).

Most books today are selling only to the authors’ and publishers’ communities

From “The Ten Awful Truths — and the Ten Wonderful Truths — About Book Publishing”:

7. Most books today are selling only to the authors’ and publishers’ communities. Everyone in the potential audiences for a book already knows of hundreds of interesting and useful books to read but has little time to read any. Therefore people are reading only books that their communities make important or even mandatory to read. There is no general audience for most nonfiction books, and chasing after such a mirage is usually far less effective than connecting with one’s communities.

8. Most book marketing today is done by authors, not by publishers. Publishers have managed to stay afloat in this worsening marketplace only by shifting more and more marketing responsibility to authors, to cut costs and prop up sales. In recognition of this reality, most book proposals from experienced authors now have an extensive (usually many pages) section on the authors’ marketing platform and what the authors will do to publicize and market the books. Publishers still fulfill important roles in helping craft books to succeed and making books available in sales channels, but whether the books move in those channels depends primarily on the authors.


This all seems new, but it’s not really new. It’s been apparent for years now. How many years? I don’t know, but still apparent.

For Writers Readers and Everyone Else 011

  • I’ve always wondered how presidential candidates picked their running mates. Here’s how Obama picked his.
  • I thought I invented the faux hawk. I guess this photographer gets all the credit. At least I invented TMI.
  • Most people don’t believe I invented the acronym TMI (too much information). Shun the non believers. Shun! There’s even a television show named after my invention. You can watch a clip here. At 33 seconds someone farts. I think it’s a kids show.
  • An old hockey teammate of mine is in prison for selling heroin in Denver. Here’s an interview with a guy who used to be the world’s biggest heroin dealer. He now lives with his mother at 39. It’s pretty explicit and sensational and you should definitely read the comments.
  • The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga won the prestigious Booker prize. According to the Guardian the judges didn’t pick Sebastian Barry’s The Secret Scripture because the previous year’s winner was also Irish.
  • This is what I woke up to this morning.

For Writers Readers and Everyone Else — Wednesday Edition

• If you’re ever out with an ugly girl you can pull out one of these and still have a good time.

• Because I’m obsessed with everything Jewish. (here via VelveteenRabbi)

• Liam Durcan says fiction is good for us because it immerses us in other minds and other experiences. (here via Bookinja)

• Why genre is a bad idea: because good fiction gets categorized as young adult fiction. And who reads Y.A.? (More about it here via Bookninja)

• Frank Viola (author of Pagan Christianity review here) has a blog. Yesterday he told a funny Italian joke. 

• James Carse says religion is like poetry. That’s about the only thing I agree with him in his interview here.

Right now I’m reading Cynthia Ozick’s Dictation (review here), Amoz Oz’s Elsewhere Perhaps, and Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine (video here). If you’ve read any of those let me know what you think.

I’m a little angry that today I’m leaving the comfortable 72 degrees of Oregon for the 85 degrees of Southern California. I’m taking lots of sunblock. I recommend using this kind. Not only is it SPF 45, but it’s spray on.

I have three words for that: Un-believe-able! (That was my capitalism plug for the month and I didn’t get paid to say all that, although I should.)