Eight years after it was first pub­lished, Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art has sold sig­nif­i­cantly more copies this year than any year fol­low­ing its ini­tial release.
In indus­try where writ­ers expect to lose money on their non-fiction books and to have their titles all but lan­guish after the ini­tial pub­lish­ing push, this rep­re­sents am incred­i­ble suc­cess story – one accom­plished with­out a tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing push, or a plug by Oprah (though it darn well deserves it, if you hap­pen to be read­ing Ms. Win­frey), or even a re-release from the publisher.
How did Steve do it?
A few rea­sons come to mind, some more salient than others:
1) The book has proved itself a mod­ern clas­sic for its intended audi­ence of writ­ers and reg­u­larly makes appear­ances in Top 10 lists of books for writ­ers.  There’s noth­ing like solid con­tent and great user expe­ri­ence to drive cus­tomer evangelization.
2) Steve has actively wel­comed and encour­aged a new audi­ence for his book, one that even­tu­ally saw that the book was only super­fi­cially about writ­ing or fine art, and was, at heart, a text­book for any­one look­ing to do valu­able, cre­ative, and remark­able work.  Don’t under­es­ti­mate this, not many authors would have both­ered to notice the inter­est of an unan­tic­i­pated audi­ence, let alone actively wel­comed and courted it.
3) Steve has given away lots of new con­tent writ­ten in the same spirit of and along the same lines as the book.  He has embraced the coun­ter­in­tu­itive notion that giv­ing away con­tent expands your base of fans will­ing to pay for content.
4) Steve has actively engaged with his fans and the increased engage­ment has resulted in increased sales.  This goes beyond just open­ing his blog to com­ments and respond­ing to them.  In fact, Steve has actively given inter­views, appeared in guest posts, been avail­able on Twit­ter, and gen­er­ously cor­re­sponded with even the lowli­est of bloggers.
OK, so the list hardly sur­prises, right?  It basi­cally reads like an online marketer’s check­list of “What’s Work­ing Now.”  Who hasn’t been told to “be authen­tic,” or to “do great work,” or espe­cially to engage in the “gift econ­omy,” after all?
So rather than detail­ing the oft dis­cussed items within the list, let’s look at the hid­den forces and moti­va­tions behind the suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion of those items.
The Emo­tional Dynamic Under­neath “Authenticity”
The most strik­ing thing about Steve’s suc­cess is also the most strik­ing thing about his writ­ing and his “style” in gen­eral: his pro­found abil­ity to relate insight into the human con­di­tion in a way that’s prac­ti­cal for those of us slog­ging through our own work-a-day worlds.  If you’re inter­ested in a “from the fox­hole” per­spec­tive, shared from a gen­er­ous intent to share what actu­ally works down in the mud and the blood and the sweat and the tears, you won’t do bet­ter than Steve’s stuff.
But a rec­om­men­da­tion to copy this par­tic­u­lar virtue of Steve’s sounds sus­pi­ciously like yet another exhor­ta­tion to “be authen­tic” dressed up in fancier language.
So how do you bridge the gap? How do you get at how to imbue your own online mar­ket­ing efforts with some of the same magic that took a nearly 10-year-old non-fiction book on the psy­chol­ogy of writ­ing and turned it into everyone’s favorite hand­book for doing work that matters?
Ter­ri­tory vs. Hierarchy
As it turns out, Steve pro­vides the answer both in his book and in his inau­gural Writ­ing Wednesday’s post.  Here’s a quote from that post, talk­ing about what sep­a­rates suc­cess­ful pros at blog­ging from the also-rans:
“There are many excel­lent and extremely pro­fes­sional blog­gers and their stuff is a plea­sure to read. They are mak­ing con­tri­bu­tions. They’re part of the solu­tion. But I also see no few writ­ers of blogs who are stuck in their own egos. You can tell it from the first sen­tence, even the first phrase. It’s in their tone of voice. The text reeks of jeal­ousy, pet­ti­ness, com­pet­i­tive­ness and bile. It’s like the tone aca­d­e­mics take when they’re stick­ing knives in each other’s backs. It has noth­ing to do with solu­tions and every­thing to do with fear, ego and nar­cis­sism. They are writ­ing as ama­teurs. Their aim, though they will deny it even after being water­boarded 283 times, is to advance (or sim­ply pre­serve) their own egos.  I know, because I’ve been in that place. When the happy break­through comes for those writ­ers, their work will rise an entire level overnight, then keep ris­ing for lev­els and lev­els beyond that.” [Empha­sis mine]
With this quote in mind, look at the list again.  Now ask your­self how easy any of those things would be if your pri­mary moti­va­tion was to climb to a higher place in the peck­ing order?  How easy?  How about next to impossible.
To act out of ego is to engage a hier­ar­chi­cal frame­work, and no one can look to main­tain their place in the hier­ar­chy while actu­ally, truly giv­ing of them­selves to their audi­ence and fans at the same time. You can’t be enam­ored of your posi­tion within the “group” while fear­lessly, openly invit­ing out­siders to join in.  Nor can you reject the urge to second-guess your audi­ence if every­thing you write, say, and do is aimed at impress­ing or manip­u­lat­ing them.
In short, the more hier­ar­chi­cal your value sys­tem, the more dif­fi­cult you’ll find “new marketing.”
And yet, we’re prac­ti­cally pro­grammed to think hier­ar­chi­cally in school, at our jobs, and socially.  There are the alpha dogs and the under dogs.  The queen bees and the wanna bees.  Think­ing hier­ar­chi­cally is the default posi­tion for most of us, and it’s what our lizard brain/_______ /Resistance steers us towards.
So there’s no jet­ti­son­ing hier­ar­chi­cal think­ing with­out replac­ing it with some other mind­set; self-identity has to come from some­where.  The other option, as Steven describes it in The War of Art is ter­ri­tory – claim­ing a ter­ri­tory of practice/service and draw­ing your iden­tity through that prac­tice rather than your place in the peck­ing order.  As Steven writes:
We humans have ter­ri­to­ries too. Ours are psy­cho­log­i­cal. Ste­vie Wonder’s ter­ri­tory is the paino. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s is the gym. When Bill Gates pulls into the park­ing lot at Microsoft, he’s on his ter­ri­tory. When I sit down to write, I’m on mine.
What are the qual­i­ties of a territory?
1. A ter­ri­tory pro­vides sus­te­nance.  Run­ners know what a ter­ri­tory is. So do rock climbers and kayak­ers and yogis. Artists and entre­pre­neurs know what a ter­ri­tory is. The swim­mer who tow­els off after swim­ming her laps feels a hell of a lot bet­ter than the tired, cranky per­son who dove into the pool 30 min­utes earlier.
2. A ter­ri­tory sus­tains us with­out exter­nal input. A ter­ri­tory is a closed feed­back loop. Our role is to put in effort and love; the ter­ri­tory absorbs this and gives it back to us in the form of wellbeing.
When experts tell us that exer­cise (or any other effort-requiring activ­ity) ban­ishes depres­sion, this is what they mean.
3. A ter­ri­tory can only be claimed alone. You can team with a part­ner, you can work out with a friend, but you only need your­self to soak up your territory’s juice.
4. A ter­ri­tory can only be claimed by work. When Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger hits the gym, he’s on his own turf. But what made it his own are the hours and years of sweat he put in to claim it. A ter­ri­tory doesn’t give, it gives back.
5. A ter­ri­tory returns exactly what you put in. Ter­ri­to­ries are fair. Every erg of energy you put in goes infal­li­bly into your account. A ter­ri­tory never deval­ues. A ter­ri­tory never crashes. What you deposited, you get back, dol­lar for dollar.”
Beyond that, a ter­ri­tory is where we can go in humil­ity, to serve our higher call­ing, not as a bid for atten­tion but as a gift to our tribe, specif­i­cally, and to the world in general.
As my men­tor and part­ner, Roy Williams says,
“Any goal that begins with the words, ‘My goal is to have…’ is cer­tain to bring unhap­pi­ness. Goals that scratch your life-itch are the ones that begin, ‘I will serve peo­ple by.…’
…So who are your peo­ple and how do you plan to serve them?
Yet even though it would seem your tribe would come first, and your method of ser­vice would come after­words, in rela­tion to the tribe, this doesn’t often work in a mod­ern and (in an anthro­po­log­i­cal sense) post-tribal world.  You find your ter­ri­tory first, and your peo­ple come later, drawn by what your work has produced.
You iden­tify your ter­ri­tory by know­ing what you’d do if you were the last per­son on earth.  What would still be worth doing if there were no one to impress and no way to move up in the peck­ing order?
And you claim your ter­ri­tory through putting in the work, self­lessly, as a pro­fes­sional.  When that hap­pens, you’re no longer afraid to share your best stuff, because you’re always get­ting bet­ter, always com­ing up with new stuff.  Wel­com­ing new mem­bers becomes sec­ond nature, as does engag­ing in open con­ver­sa­tion with peo­ple regard­less of their sta­tus in the peck­ing order.
Territory-based iden­tity, as Steven defines it, makes Web 2.0-style mar­ket­ing work­able.  With­out it, you’ll be fight­ing your own instincts and, ulti­mately, sab­o­tag­ing your efforts.
And yet, even though fol­low­ing this path makes life eas­ier, Resis­tance – Resis­tance in the form of pro­cras­ti­na­tion, ratio­nal­iza­tion, and ego — gets in the way, mak­ing it feel like the harder option.  Yet the more you focus on claim­ing your ter­ri­tory and the more you derive your iden­tity in rela­tion to your claimed ter­ri­tory, the bet­ter you’ll fair in your bat­tles against resistance.
Sound like some­thing worth pur­su­ing?  Well, real­ize that this, poten­tially life alter­ing stuff on Ter­ri­tory vs. Hier­ar­chy is com­pressed into only a few pages of a 165-page book – and the rest of the books is every bit as good, if not better!
Most of the The War of Art is about over­com­ing resis­tance, the nec­es­sary first step to doing the hon­est work needed to claim a ter­ri­tory, mak­ing it pretty much THE book for cre­ative entre­pre­neurs who strug­gle with procrastination.
If that sounds like a must-read book to you, YOURE RIGHT!  Go buy a copy.
Bet­ter yet, buy the new, dig­i­tal copy for your favorite e-reader.  The sooner you start read­ing this stuff, the faster you can begin mov­ing past resis­tance, to claim your ter­ri­tory, and achieve the real work you were meant for.

the-war-of-artEight years after it was first pub­lished, Steven Pressfield’s The War of Art has sold sig­nif­i­cantly more copies this year than any year fol­low­ing its ini­tial release.

In an indus­try where writ­ers expect to lose money on their non-fiction books, and fur­ther expect their titles to lan­guish, unsold and ignored after the ini­tial pub­lish­ing push, this books recent surge in sales and pop­u­lar­ity rep­re­sents an incred­i­ble suc­cess story – one accom­plished with­out a tra­di­tional mar­ket­ing push, or a plug by Oprah (though it darn well deserves it, if you hap­pen to be read­ing, Ms. Win­frey), or even a re-release from the publisher.

How did Steve do it?

A few rea­sons come to mind, some more salient than others:

  1. The book has proved itself a mod­ern clas­sic for its intended audi­ence of writ­ers and reg­u­larly makes appear­ances in Top 10 lists of books for writ­ers.  There’s noth­ing like solid con­tent and great user expe­ri­ence to drive cus­tomer evangelization.
  2. Steve has actively wel­comed and encour­aged a new audi­ence for his book, one that even­tu­ally saw that the book was only super­fi­cially about writ­ing or fine art, and was, at heart, a text­book for any­one look­ing to do valu­able, cre­ative, and remark­able work.  Don’t under­es­ti­mate this, not many authors would have both­ered to notice the inter­est of an unan­tic­i­pated audi­ence, let alone actively wel­comed and courted it.
  3. Steve has given away lots of new con­tent writ­ten in the same spirit as the book.  He has embraced the coun­ter­in­tu­itive notion that giv­ing away con­tent expands your base of fans will­ing to pay for content.
  4. Steve has actively engaged with his fans and that increased engage­ment has resulted in increased sales.  This goes beyond just open­ing his blog to com­ments and respond­ing to them.  In fact, Steve has actively given inter­views, appeared in guest posts, been avail­able on Twit­ter, and gen­er­ously cor­re­sponded with even the lowli­est of bloggers.

OK, so the list hardly sur­prises, right?  It basi­cally reads like an online marketer’s check­list of “What’s Work­ing Now.”  Who hasn’t been told to “be authen­tic,” or to “do great work,” or espe­cially to engage in the “gift econ­omy,” after all?

So rather than detail­ing the oft dis­cussed items within the list, let’s look at the hid­den forces and moti­va­tions behind the suc­cess­ful imple­men­ta­tion of those items.

The Emo­tional Dynamic Under­neath “Authenticity”

pressfield_stevenThe most strik­ing thing about Steve’s suc­cess is also the most strik­ing thing about his writ­ing and his “style” in gen­eral: his pro­found abil­ity to relate insight into the human con­di­tion in a way that’s prac­ti­cal for those of us slog­ging through our own work-a-day worlds.  If you’re inter­ested in a “from the fox­hole” per­spec­tive, shared from a gen­er­ous intent to pass on what actu­ally works down in the mud and the blood and the sweat and the tears, you won’t do bet­ter than Steve’s stuff.

But a rec­om­men­da­tion to copy this par­tic­u­lar virtue of Steve’s sounds sus­pi­ciously like yet another exhor­ta­tion to “be authen­tic” dressed up in fancier language.

So how do you bridge the gap? How do you imbue your own online mar­ket­ing efforts with some of the same magic that took a nearly 10-year-old non-fiction book on the psy­chol­ogy of writ­ing and turned it into everyone’s favorite hand­book for doing work that matters?

Ter­ri­tory vs. Hierarchy

As it turns out, Steve pro­vides the answer both in his book and in his inau­gural Writ­ing Wednesday’s post.  Here’s a quote from that post, talk­ing about what sep­a­rates suc­cess­ful pros at blog­ging from the also-rans:

There are many excel­lent and extremely pro­fes­sional blog­gers and their stuff is a plea­sure to read. They are mak­ing con­tri­bu­tions. They’re part of the solu­tion. But I also see no few writ­ers of blogs who are stuck in their own egos. You can tell it from the first sen­tence, even the first phrase. It’s in their tone of voice. The text reeks of jeal­ousy, pet­ti­ness, com­pet­i­tive­ness and bile. It’s like the tone aca­d­e­mics take when they’re stick­ing knives in each other’s backs. It has noth­ing to do with solu­tions and every­thing to do with fear, ego and nar­cis­sism. They are writ­ing as ama­teurs. Their aim, though they will deny it even after being water­boarded 283 times, is to advance (or sim­ply pre­serve) their own egos.  I know, because I’ve been in that place. When the happy break­through comes for those writ­ers, their work will rise an entire level overnight, then keep ris­ing for lev­els and lev­els beyond that.”

With this quote in mind, look at the list again.  Now ask your­self how easy any of those things would be if your pri­mary moti­va­tion was to climb to a higher place in the peck­ing order?  How easy?  How about next to impossible.

2010-10-13_1057Act­ing out of ego engages a hier­ar­chi­cal mind­set, and no one can look to main­tain or improve their place in the hier­ar­chy while giv­ing away their best stuff to their audi­ence and fans. You can’t be enam­ored of your posi­tion within the group while fear­lessly invit­ing out­siders to join in. Nei­ther can you com­fort­ably ven­ture out­side your group, away from where you hold sta­tus, exper­tise, power, etc.  Nor can you reject the urge to second-guess your audi­ence if every­thing you write, say, and do is aimed at impress­ing or manip­u­lat­ing them.

In short, the more hier­ar­chi­cal your value sys­tem, the more dif­fi­cult you’ll find “new mar­ket­ing.”

And yet, we’re prac­ti­cally pro­grammed to think hier­ar­chi­cally in school, at our jobs, and socially.  There are the alpha dogs and the under dogs.  The queen bees and the wanna-bees.  Think­ing hier­ar­chi­cally is the default posi­tion for most of us, and it’s what our lizard brain/yet­zer hara/Resistance steers us towards.

So there’s no jet­ti­son­ing hier­ar­chi­cal think­ing with­out replac­ing it with some other mind­set; self-identity has to come from some­where.  The other option, as Steven describes it in The War of Art, is to replace hier­ar­chy with ter­ri­tory: claim­ing a ter­ri­tory of practice/service and draw­ing your iden­tity through that prac­tice rather than your place in the peck­ing order.  As Steven writes:

We humans have ter­ri­to­ries too. Ours are psy­cho­log­i­cal. Ste­vie Wonder’s ter­ri­tory is the paino. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s is the gym. When Bill Gates pulls into the park­ing lot at Microsoft, he’s on his ter­ri­tory. When I sit down to write, I’m on mine.

What are the qual­i­ties of a territory?

1. A ter­ri­tory pro­vides sus­te­nance.  Run­ners know what a ter­ri­tory is. So do rock climbers and kayak­ers and yogis. Artists and entre­pre­neurs know what a ter­ri­tory is. The swim­mer who tow­els off after swim­ming her laps feels a hell of a lot bet­ter than the tired, cranky per­son who dove into the pool 30 min­utes earlier.

2. A ter­ri­tory sus­tains us with­out exter­nal input. A ter­ri­tory is a closed feed­back loop. Our role is to put in effort and love; the ter­ri­tory absorbs this and gives it back to us in the form of wellbeing.

When experts tell us that exer­cise (or any other effort-requiring activ­ity) ban­ishes depres­sion, this is what they mean.

3. A ter­ri­tory can only be claimed alone. You can team with a part­ner, you can work out with a friend, but you only need your­self to soak up your territory’s juice.

4. A ter­ri­tory can only be claimed by work. When Arnold Schwarzeneg­ger hits the gym, he’s on his own turf. But what made it his own are the hours and years of sweat he put in to claim it. A ter­ri­tory doesn’t give, it gives back.

5. A ter­ri­tory returns exactly what you put in. Ter­ri­to­ries are fair. Every erg of energy you put in goes infal­li­bly into your account. A ter­ri­tory never deval­ues. A ter­ri­tory never crashes. What you deposited, you get back, dol­lar for dollar”

Beyond that, a ter­ri­tory is where we can go in humil­ity, to serve our higher call­ing, not as a bid for atten­tion but as a gift to our tribe, specif­i­cally, and to the world in general.

As my men­tor and part­ner, Roy Williams says,

Any goal that begins with the words, ‘My goal is to have…’ is cer­tain to bring unhap­pi­ness. Goals that scratch your life-itch are the ones that begin, ‘I will serve peo­ple by.…’

…So who are your peo­ple and how do you plan to serve them?”

Yet even though it would seem your tribe would come first, and your method of ser­vice would come after­words, in rela­tion to the tribe, this doesn’t often work in a mod­ern and (in an anthro­po­log­i­cal sense) post-tribal world.  You find your ter­ri­tory first, and your tribe will be drawn by what your work has produced.

You iden­tify your ter­ri­tory by know­ing what you’d do if you were the last per­son on earth.  What would still be worth doing if there was no one to impress and no way to move up in the peck­ing order?

And you claim that ter­ri­tory through putting in the work, self­lessly, as a pro­fes­sional.  When that hap­pens you’re no longer afraid to share your best stuff, because you’re always get­ting bet­ter, always com­ing up with new stuff. Wel­com­ing new mem­bers becomes sec­ond nature, as does engag­ing in open con­ver­sa­tion with peo­ple regard­less of their sta­tus in the peck­ing order.

Territory-based iden­tity, as Steven defines it, makes Web 2.0-style mar­ket­ing work­able.  With­out it, you’ll be fight­ing your own instincts and, ulti­mately, sab­o­tag­ing your efforts.

And yet, even though fol­low­ing this path makes life eas­ier, Resis­tance – Resis­tance in the form of pro­cras­ti­na­tion, ratio­nal­iza­tion, and ego — gets in the way, mak­ing it feel like the harder option.  Focus­ing on claim­ing your ter­ri­tory through the work helps steel you for those bat­tles against resistance.

Sound like some­thing worth pur­su­ing?  Well, real­ize that this poten­tially life alter­ing stuff on Ter­ri­tory vs. Hier­ar­chy is com­pressed into only a few pages of a 165-page book – and the rest of the books is every bit as good, if not better!

Most of the The War of Art is about over­com­ing resis­tance, the nec­es­sary first step to doing the hon­est work needed to claim a ter­ri­tory, mak­ing it pretty much THE book for cre­ative entre­pre­neurs who strug­gle with procrastination.

If that sounds like a must-read book to you, YOURE RIGHT!  Go buy a copy.

Bet­ter yet, buy the new, dig­i­tal copy for your favorite e-reader for 1/5th the price of the paper­back.  The sooner you start read­ing this stuff, the faster you can begin mov­ing past resis­tance, to claim your ter­ri­tory, and achieve the real work you were meant for.

Comments

  1. Michelle Russell on 10.13.2010

    Oh. MY.

    Jeff, thank you so much for this. The War of Art is one of my most cher­ished and fre­quently used bibles…but I love the way you’ve clar­i­fied the dis­tinc­tion between authen­tic­ity as the ego-based cur­rent way to get noticed, vs. an inte­gral part of the ser­vice you’re pro­vid­ing to others.

    I think it’s just part of being human that the first type will invari­ably creep in…and prob­a­bly in as many sub­tle guises as Resis­tance likes to wear. But if we keep this ten­dency in mind, it should be help­ful in hold­ing the ego at bay…acknowledging that it’s there with­out allow­ing it to run the show.

    Thanks for such a thought-provoking analy­sis of a won­der­ful book!

  2. Tom Matte on 10.13.2010

    Jeff,
    Thanks for this know­ing post. I love when writ­ers com­ment on some­thing they know so they dont have to fill in with mean­ing­less fluff. you are clearly a fan or admirer.
    I have been fol­low­ing Steven for a few years now. I actu­ally start­ing com­mu­ni­cat­ing with him when I first pur­chased The War of Art back in 2008. He has answered every one of my ques­tions with hon­est open thought­ful­ness. I rec­om­mend him to so many peo­ple who are stuck. I mean stuck in life and not just writ­ing. it would apear that when Steven was work­ing on this book the muses were there in force hav­ing a hell of a time with him. I never get a com­ment back with a neg­a­tive tone-ever. This book has a revered space on my night­stand. I am look­ing for­ward to his next book. I am hop­ing he takes us back to Greece. We shall see.

  3. Jeff on 10.14.2010

    Michelle,

    Thanks so much for the com­ment and I quite agree with you: it’s all too nat­ural to think and feel in terms of ego and sta­tus. Its not until you’ve had some of that stripped away through painful dings that you look at alter­na­tives. The false vines have to get singed before we seek the true vine, so to speak.

    Tom,

    Steven’s a first-class guy that way, isn’t he? I can’t even begin to imag­ine his in-box, and yet, as an act of ser­vice and gen­eros­ity to his tribe, Steve is unfail­ing in his will­ing­ness to pro­vide answers, responses, etc. I’m also anx­iously wait­ing for his next book. Guess I’ll have to start in on The Tides of War while I’m wait­ing. Alcib­i­ades has to be one of the most fas­ci­nat­ing char­ac­ters in all of history.

  4. Andrew Nhem on 10.14.2010

    Jeff,

    Dig the post. As a young pro­fes­sional, I freak out nearly every day try­ing to fig­ure out what I want to do for the next chunk of my life– what to get bet­ter at, what to avoid, etc.

    The argu­ment of ter­ri­tory ver­sus hier­ar­chy is inter­est­ing as new work method­olo­gies and the inter­net change the way the tra­di­tional busi­ness is set up and run.

    I’ve wit­nessed the old school get the chop­ping block, buzz words fly abound about social media, but to no active avail, and over­all skep­ti­cism of newer media from some of my var­i­ous small busi­ness employers/leaders.

    Maybe as a mal­leable pro­fes­sional, I need to absorb a ter­ri­to­r­ial approach and spe­cial­ize– pick a lane so to speak.

    Just think­ing out loud here, mainly to tell you that your post has my gears turn­ing in new direc­tions. Now if Ama­zon would just put the dang book back on the Kin­dle market…

    Many thanks,
    Andrew
    .-= Andrew Nhem´s last blog ..If You’re Going to Write a Story– Write a Damn Story Then =-.

  5. Steve Shaw on 10.14.2010

    Hey Jeff,

    This one really hits home. Yes, I’ve been try­ing to be of ser­vice to peo­ple,
    but all the while know­ing I want to move up in the peck­ing order.

    But com­ing from a posi­tion of just being me, causes me to relax about things,
    and lets me con­cen­trate more on oth­ers, than myself.

    I was unaware of this book, I’ll be get­ting this one.

    Steve
    .-= Steve Shaw´s last blog ..Copy­writ­ing Made Easy – The Michael Camp­bell Way =-.

  6. Steven on 10.16.2010

    Key dis­tinc­tions here. I never thought about how ego-based ten­den­cies cre­ate a rigid hier­ar­chy and alien­ate oth­ers. It makes a lot of sense. I think real authen­tic­ity is when you seek to raise the value of not only your­self, but oth­ers too — your so-called “tribe” as Seth Godin might put it.
    .-= Steven´s last blog ..Prac­tice Inter­con­nect­ed­ness Through Empa­thy =-.

  7. Copyblogger Weekly Wrap: Week of October 11, 2010 | Internet Marketing Superstar on 10.17.2010

    […] The Psy­cho­log­i­cal Prin­ci­ple Behind Mar­ket­ing Suc­cess In a Net­worked World: This is kind of dense but worth the read, espe­cially if you enjoy play­ing around inside of other people’s brains. (Tip: When doing so, stay out of the medulla oblon­gata unless you have boots and a poncho.) […]

  8. Tom Pearson on 10.18.2010

    This is all really impor­tant advice. There is so much flaky advice going around about how to develop a ‘writ­ing voice’, it’s good to see some advice with some substance.

    Know­ing what your read­ers need, and giv­ing it to them, is always the best place to start.
    .-= Tom Pearson´s last blog ..Get The Most From Your Arti­cle Mar­ket­ing– Part II =-.

  9. Mike Reeves-McMillan on 10.18.2010

    The odd thing is, the last part of the book sets up what I con­sider a false oppo­si­tion between cre­at­ing for an audi­ence and being “true to yourself”.

    It’s good to know that Pressfield’s prac­tice has sur­passed his the­ory in the mean­time (I thought it prob­a­bly had).
    .-= Mike Reeves-McMillan´s last blog ..7 Steps to De-Sabotage Your­self Self-Sabotage– Part 1 =-.

  10. Kristen Lamb on 10.19.2010

    All I can say is WOW! This is an amaz­ing blog really makes one think. I preach a lot of the same advice (hav­ing a servant’s heart FIRST) but this is a new and fresh way of look­ing at some­thing that is so much a part of a writer’s life.…getting out there and claim­ing ter­ri­tory and suc­ceed­ing by serv­ing a need.

    Thank you for such a great blog. I look for­ward to return­ing for more con­tent like this. I wish I could com­ment with some­thing more pro­found, but my brain kind of needs time to chew on all of this. Again…WOW!

    Kris­ten Lamb

  11. Jeff on 10.25.2010

    First, Thanks to all who com­mented. My apolo­gies for not respond­ing sooner.

    Sec­ond, just a few thoughts for Mike and Andrew…

    Mike, I don’t think that Steven Press­field cre­ates the dichotomy that you sug­gest, or at least not in the way that you sug­gest. Here’s how I inter­preted his comments/chapters on this sub­ject mat­ter: what­ever truly inspires you and speaks to your daemon/genius/muse is what you should pur­sue, with­out com­pro­mise — but you should present that topic to your audi­ence with the pro­fes­sional con­cern for hook­ing them from the out­set and keep­ing them delighted. Most peo­ple do the oppo­site — they com­pro­mise on the mate­r­ial because they con­sider what truly inspires them to be un-marketeable, but then they don’t put the effort and craft in to make their so-called “mar­ketable” piece an enter­tain­ing suc­cess. All in all, I think Steve’s right on tar­get with his advice, and there’s no doubt that he’s speak­ing from per­sonal expe­ri­ence, as his nov­els Bag­ger Vance and Gates of Fire attest.

    Andrew,

    Daniel Pink has a great book out on career choices called, The Adven­tures of Johny Bunko that deals with what you’re going through right now. Highly rec­om­mended. Look it up on Amazon.

    - Jeff

  12. Mike Reeves-McMillan on 10.25.2010

    I may have been mis­in­ter­pret­ing, but to me that mes­sage came through pretty clearly: Don’t think about an audi­ence, just cre­ate for yourself.

    In any case, whether or not that was what he was say­ing in the book, that isn’t what he’s done, so good for Steven Press­field.
    .-= Mike Reeves-McMillan´s last blog ..How to be a Rebel With­out Applause =-.

  13. Jeff on 10.25.2010

    Hey, Mike, Thanks for the follow-up. I see you’re point, but I’d say that the word isn’t “think” but “sec­ond guess” as in, “Don’t (cyn­i­cally) sec­ond guess your audi­ence when decid­ing WHAT to cre­ate, for therein lies the prac­tice of the hack. Trust your muse and cre­ate what truly inspires you.” That’s what I got from the book. What I got from read­ing Writ­ing Wednes­days was the fol­low on bit: “When pre­sent­ing the mate­r­ial, make sure you do your part and present the mate­r­ial in such a man­ner as to hook the reader. No mat­ter how uncom­mer­cial you think a sub­ject mat­ter might be, when pre­sented prop­erly, the sub­ject becomes fas­ci­nat­ing. This is why a ten-penny nail and an egg car­ton can become fas­ci­nat­ing prod­ucts. It is in the area of craft that con­cern for the audi­ence becomes a virtue.”

    I real­ize that I may be read­ing my own inter­pre­ta­tion into this, but I believe that there is enough con­tex­tual evi­dence (both in the book and the blog) to more than ably sup­port that interpretation.

    - Jeff

  14. Mike Reeves-McMillan on 10.25.2010

    Thanks, it seems pretty clear I’d mis­in­ter­preted his point. I should go back and give the book an extra star on Goodreads!
    .-= Mike Reeves-McMillan´s last blog ..Review– Steven Aitchison’s Advanced Early Riser pro­gram =-.

  15. Ultimate Copywriters’ Roll Call: 100 Top International Copywriters and Content Bloggers | MarketCopywriter Blog on 10.26.2010

    […] Web­site opti­miza­tion and per­sua­sion from Future Now writer and con­sul­tant Jeff Sex­ton. Great post: The Psy­cho­log­i­cal Prin­ci­ple Behind Mar­ket­ing Suc­cess In a Net­worked World Twitter: […]

  16. Franck on 06.29.2011

    Good arti­cle. I’m agree

  17. Lotto Spiele on 04.16.2012

    Great blog post.Thanks Again. Keep writing.

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