Steven Pressfield’s “Most Important Writing Lesson”

The Most Important Writing Lesson I Ever Learned

Here it is. Here’s the #1 lesson you learn working in advertising (and this has stuck with me, to my advantage, my whole working life):
Nobody wants to read your shit.
Let me repeat that. Nobody–not even your dog or your mother–has the slightest interest in your commercial for Rice Krispies or Delco batteries or Preparation H. Nor does anybody care about your one-act play, your Facebook page or your new sesame chicken joint at Canal and Tchopotoulis.
It isn’t that people are mean or cruel. They’re just busy.
Nobody wants to read your shit. […]
The market doesn’t know what you’re selling and doesn’t care. Your potential customers are so busy dealing with the rest of their lives, they haven’t got a spare second to give to your product/work of art/business, no matter how worthy or how much you love it.
What’s your answer to that?
1) Reduce your message to its simplest, clearest, easiest-to-understand form.
2) Make it fun. Or sexy or interesting or informative.
3) Apply that to all forms of writing or art or commerce.
When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction. The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer, must give him something worthy of his gift to you.

Brilliant advice, IMO, and this applies to all of life: no one – other than your mother or your immediate family, and maybe not even then – fundamentally cares about you. If you want their attention, you must make them care. Conversely, worrying about what other people think of you is generally a waste of time. Most people can’t even remember your name and are too busy thinking about themselves and their own lives and problems.


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