Hi! I'm Joe, and I'm a writer.

3 steps to stop procrastinating

Published almost 2 years ago • 2 min read

Hey Reader,

There's a tension.

I mean of course there's a tension, because there's tension in all things.

But when it comes to art making, there's a tension between:

The original, the new, the unique, the novel, the things that no one has ever seen before, the "art."

And the familiar, the standard, the classic, the tropes, the formulaic, the "market."

Art vs. Market.

But if you try to resolve this tension in either way, you'll miss something.

If you stubbornly side with originality and "art," rejecting any feedback that would encourage you to follow tried and true patterns, abhorring the "meat grinder" of industry that would seek to make your work more "formulaic," you alienate not just the industry you will likely need at some point, but also your readers.

If you side wholly with the market, following every known formula, including each trope and relying solely on all the "tried and true," your work might make some money but it will be soulless.

No, you have to sit within the tension, leaning on both the writers who have gone before you and also on your own unique inspiration.

"The unfortunate truth," said Cormac McCarthy, one of the most inventive writers alive, "is that books are made from books."

If Cormac McCarthy learns from the writers who have gone before him, you can be sure you must as well.

It isn't easy to sit within this tension. It feels much better to choose one way or the other. But if you want to make good art, what other way is there?

This Week in Photos

It was a fairly quiet week, filled with preparations for our next cohort of 1 Year to Publish and enjoying the final weeks of school (before the horde of children descends back upon our house for the summer).

However, one cool thing that happened: a writing project I worked on a few years ago is going to be presented to the Pope next week and will be displayed in the Vatican Museum. Pretty cool, right?!

Anyway, here's this week in photos:

Talia and Marston got a wok a new cookbook and have been making dumplings, and I'm beginning to think this may be one of the best family investments we've ever made. So. Good.
We are starting a book club for the summer and reading The Judgment of Paris. However, this is mostly an excuse to do wine tastings (aka wine drinkings) with friends. We thought about making the book club center on one of these books, but figured lugging a big reference book around for a few months would be a little much for most people.

Yesterday I discovered a tree on our property has a cable line coming out of it and running into the house. Can you see it poking its way out of the tree? Even better, the cable is cut, so completely useless. Puts new meaning to cord cutter, am I right? (Cord of wood? Get it? I know, terrible. I'm embarrassed for myself.)

Alright folks, that's it from me. Have a great weekend, and see you soon.


Hi! I'm Joe, and I'm a writer.

If we haven't met, my name is Joe Bunting, and I'm a Wall Street Journal Best-selling writer, dad, the founder of The Write Practice, and the author of Crowdsourcing Paris. I've also been known to cry in every movie. In my newsletter, I share tips about the writing process and the business of being a writer. Sign up to get free emails about creativity, deliberate practice, and the writing process.

Read more from Hi! I'm Joe, and I'm a writer.

Hey Reader, This week I made one of the most difficult decisions in my career. I chose to end something that was important to me, something I had been working on for years, something I had spent a lot of time, money, and effort on. When I told a friend about my decision, they said, "It makes sense. Now you can focus on what you're best at." Best at. What are you best at? I'm not just talking about skills you have, but approaches, ways of doing things, such that when you show up, things just...

over 1 year ago • 1 min read

Hey Reader, Writing is an asset. A book can earn passively for decades. A blog post can get search traffic for years. Writing is an asset. But most people don't manage it well. I talked to a friend this week who used to have a thriving blog with thousands of readers per month. But then they got busy, stopped updating it, and let it sit idle. After a while Google updated their alorithms and stopped sending them new readers. Now their writing is lucky if it reaches a few hundred people each...

over 1 year ago • 2 min read

Hey Reader, Everyone thinks great writers are born talented. You either have what it takes to write a great book, or you don't. You either become successful, or you struggle and never break through. But the truth is great writers are made. Not by school or by luck. Great writer are made through deliberate practice. I was at a conference in Chicago a few years ago and got into a conversation with the organizer. When I told him that I had started a website to train writers called The Write...

over 1 year ago • 2 min read
Share this post