Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t
By Steven Pressfield
*A Book Review*
by Michael C. Gray
© 2023 by Michael C. Gray
As a professional writer, Steven Pressfield shares the harsh reality that writing as a profession is hard work. Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t is Steven's "tough love" advice for writers and professional writers.
The title of the book is harsh lesson #1. Nobody wants to read what you write. Nobody cares about you or what you write about unless you communicate as quickly as possible how it relates to them. Initially, this applies specifically to advertisements. Nobody cares to read or watch them. When (if) we watch commercial television and we see an advertisement playing, it's time to break out a beer or some ice cream or go to the bathroom. The job of the writer is to stop viewers in their tracks and show, "Here is urgent information to solve your problem or have fun making your life better!" It's not about you, or the product or service. It's about them. Above all, don't be boring!
The chapters are a series short tips to be a better writer.
For example, Steve worked five years writing nine spec scripts in Hollywood, with no sales. Sounds like a good way to starve? His agent suggested that he team up with an established writer who had a track record of selling scripts. This gave him a "seat at the table" for selling work. He describes this as "Sometimes you gotta be somebody's slave."
Steve's partner, Stan, didn't do much writing. Stan's role was to bring in the work. Studios and production companies wanted to work with him because he delivered two big hits. Stan was a brand. Steve's role was to do the writing and then go over the work with Stan. He earned enough to live well in the process.
According to Steve, writing advertising is great training for other types of writing. One of the lessons that he learned in advertising was to find a good concept. A "concept" is a theme that can be used over and over. For example, Nike used the concept, "Buy Nike and be like Mike!" to sell Air Jordans. Then they built similar campaigns "starring" Serena Williams, LeBron James, etc. You can use a similar approach to write stories. Can you find a concept in James Bond and Harry Potter stories?
A shortcut for writers is "stealing" from other writers. Most ad people have a "swipe file" they use to get ideas to adapt for their messages, design ideas, picture ideas, etc. Art director Zolton Medvecky taught Steve, "Kid, it ain't stealing if you put a spin on it!"
Nobody Wants To Read Your Sh*t is a quick, easy read that includes some valuable lessons for writers. If are a writer or want to be, get a copy, read it, and use the lessons to get better at the craft.
Buy it at Amazon: Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t: And Other Tough-Love Truths to Make You a Better Writer.
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