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What It Takes

What It Takes

What Fresh Hell?

By Shawn Coyne | Published: August 26, 2016


The Inimitable Dorothy Parker

Forgive me if you’ve heard this one before.

I remembered an old joke when I was doing some of the course work for my friend Tim Grahl’s online course, The Productive Writer. I’m taking it to recharge the old writing batteries and learn how to lure the Muse out of hiding more often.

Wisely I think, Tim doesn’t start his course with quick fix tactics to get your ass in your writing chair. Instead he starts with getting you to explore why you want to be a writer in the first place.

One of the questions he has you answer in the second day of work is this:

How will your life look different when you reach your dream of being a full-time writer?

After answering it for myself, I remembered this joke:


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What It Takes

What It Takes

Louis C.K.: Give It A Minute

By Callie Oettinger | Published: August 19, 2016

(Revisiting an old — and favorite — post as summer closes out and I find myself wishing I’d caught a stop on Louis C.K.’s recent tour. . .  ~Callie)

In a recent New York Time interview with Louis C.K., Dave Itzkoff commented, “You have the platform. You have the level of recognition.”

Louis C.K. replied with a question: “So why do I have the platform and the recognition?”

Itzkoff answered, “At this point you’ve put in the time.”

Pause after you read Louis C.K.’s follow-up:

There you go. There’s no way around that. There’s people that say: “It’s not fair. You have all that stuff.” I wasn’t born with it. It was a horrible process to get to this. It took me my whole life. If you’re new at this — and by “new at it,” I mean 15 years in, or even 20 — you’re just starting to get traction. Young musicians believe they should be able to throw a band together and be famous, and anything that’s in their way is unfair and evil. What are you, in your 20s, you picked up a guitar? Give it a minute.

Put in the Time

Almost every author I’ve met has mentioned a desire to be interviewed by Oprah, Jon Stewart, Stephen Colbert and/or Charlie Rose.

I get it. Being interviewed by any of those individuals will garner the authors attention and book sales.

But the reality is that most authors don’t land those interviews right out of the gate. And, while those interviews can spike initial sales, they don’t keep things going on their own. They’re a short-term fix. (more…)

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What It Takes

What It Takes

The Editor’s Editor

By Shawn Coyne | Published: August 12, 2016

Legendary editor/publisher Robert Gottlieb has written his memoir, appropriately titled AVID READER: A Life.  It will be available on September 13 from Farrar, Straus and Giroux. I’ve already pre-ordered my copy.  Here’s the link to get yours.

Vanity Fair has published an excerpt which made me long for the career that just never came to be for me. 

Imagine having a standing invitation to walk through a magical garden and to let yourself into your neighbor’s home, and then encouraged to climb her back stair case and into her bedroom….to work through some pages of her book project (Seriously!) before heading off to your glamorous job as publisher of the most venerable book publishing house in the world? 

I’ll not spoil who Gottlieb’s neighbor was…

If there is a word that connotes nostalgia for someone else’s past, do let me know.  For now, I shall coin the phrase “Gottliebensehnsucht” to express my emotional state after finishing the narrative morsel from VF.

For fun, I’m re-running “The Editor’s Editor” (with some minor editorial tweaks) from 2013 in salute of one of the last Mohicans from the golden age of book publishing.

When I was a futzing wannabe actor back in the…gulp…late 1980s, I spent a summer at Williamstown Theater Festival in Massachusetts.

Robert Gottlieb

Not only did I meet my wife there, but I was smitten by the presence of another figure. One of the actresses on the main stage (I was strictly apprentice showcase material and free “strike the set” labor) rented a house for the Summer Stock season. Her daughter Lizzie ran in my coterie of friends.

Lizzie would invite us over to her house after the evening shows to hang out with the big time performers–Christopher Reeve and his fellow actor and offstage romance Dana Morosini, Olympia Dukakis, Daniel Davis, Kate Burton, Jamey Sheridan, Louis Zorich, Marisa Tomei, James Naughton… Plus her father had come up from New York too and a lot of people backstage angled to get an invite. (more…)

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