Charles Daly

Writer

Author: Charlie (page 1 of 32)

Reading List: How to be an Artist

“Your skill will be whatever it is you’re doing differently.”

–Jerry Saltz

 

The theme for this week is “making it”: how to make it, how to define making it, and how to eliminate the distractions that not only keep you from making it but keep you from making anything.

 

What I’m Reading

Deep Work: Rules for Focused Success in a Distracted World by Cal Newport – I try not to get hysterical about these book recommendations, and I want to avoid prescribing “absolute must-reads” or saying there’s something wrong with you if you haven’t read a certain book. But in the case of Deep Work, drop whatever you’re doing and read it.

This book will not only change the way you approach work, but it will change the way your brain allocates its precious attention and focus. After one week of implementing some of the distraction-cutting suggestions Newport lays out, I’ve almost doubled my word count per hour, and I’m getting more done in shorter workdays.

“How to Be an Artist: 33 rules to take you from clueless amateur to generational talent (or at least help you live life a little more creatively).” – A massive post that does just what it says–takes you through the stages of becoming an artist from starting out to navigating the politics of success. Most of Saltz’s advice can apply to writers or creatives of any type. He gives some outstanding creativity prompts that can work in a variety of media

“You Probably Won’t Make it to the Top” – Ruby on Rails developer and Basecamp founder David Heinemeier Hansson urges creatives and entrepreneurs to stop comparing themselves to others  and instead focus on the work itself:

“Luxuriate in the experience and flow of getting better. Stop playing games where you can’t set the rules. Start winning the ones where you can.”

“Don’t Save Anything for the Swim Back” and “Never Complain; Never Explain” – Words to live by from The Art of Manliness. The first is a philosophy of total commitment from the movie Gattaca. The second is the personal motto of Benjamin Disraeli and Winston Churchill which I have tattooed on my forearm. I plan to write something about that soon.

What I’m Listening To

Churchill: Walking with Destiny by Andrew Roberts – A 50-plus-hour audiobook on the life of Winston Churchill. I’ve found that by choosing long books on Audible I can let my free credits accumulate and end up with several free books every time I finish one. I plan on breaking up this epic listen with a few shorter audiobooks.

“Vice signaling” on the Joe Rogan Experience – Joe Rogan and math genius Eric Weinstein kick off their nearly 4-hour conversation by contrasting the merits of virtue signaling and vice signaling. Weinstein argues that vice signaling is a “growth industry.” In short, leading with one’s faults and vices is more honest, rarer, and more valuable than advertising one’s virtues and one’s ability to toe the line of inoffensiveness.

What I’m Watching

The American Meme – An almost too painful to watch Netflix documentary about social media stars and their lives off-screen. Fantastic motivation if you’ve recently quit social media and feel like you’re missing anything.

What I’m Writing

A Medium article about my first week off Facebook and why I decided to give it up.

I’m working on a post getting into “vice signaling” and how I’ve seen it play out in my own life. I’m also outlining my own reflection on the maxim “Never Complain. Never Explain” and why I decided to tattoo those words on my arm.

 

*Full disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog. 

 

 


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Reading List: If you Write, You’re a Writer

“If you write, you’re a writer. And no one can take that away from you.”

–Brian Koppelman

 

What I’m Reading

Rogue Heroes: The History of the SAS, Britain’s Secret Special Forces Unit That Sabotaged the Nazis and Changed the Nature of War by Ben Macintyre — “This book is about courage,” Macintyre writes in the introduction. I was expecting to nerd-out on some military history and got so much more. This book is about strategy, problem-solving, adversity, and how to influence people who aren’t ready for your vision of the future. If you’re into WWII you’ll love this book, but I’d also recommend it to founders, freelancers, and entrepreneurs. It’s basically the story of a military startup.

So Good They Can’t Ignore: Why Skills Trump Passion in the Quest for Work You Love You By Cal Newport  — As with Rogue Heroes, the long subtitle sums this one up nicely. This book is a must-read for anyone interested in finding work they love. It challenges the “passion mindset” with the “craftsman’s mindset.” The former focuses on what your work can do for you, the latter is about what you can offer the world through your work.

“What Happened After Jonestown?” — A nauseating look at the cleanup and controversy that followed the worst mass suicide in recent times. Not something to read over lunch.

Sam Shepard’s letters and a collection of his interviews.

Brian Koppelman’s Tweets — Just what the doctor ordered when you’re struggling with your creative work.

 

What I’m Listening To

“Jonestown” The Last Podcast on the Left — A five-part deep dive into Jim Jones, his cult, and their mass suicide. Listener discretion is advised, especially if you can’t take sick jokes.

What I’m Watching

Liz Wellington on House Hunters International — My friend, the travel writer and content strategist, Liz Wellington was featured on House Hunters International as she and her boyfriend search for an apartment in Madrid.

Kent William’s advice to aspiring artists — Two and a half minutes of awesomeness from a talented and successful painter.

What I’m Writing

Drafting some Medium posts in my free time after my fiction, nonfiction, and freelancing work are done for the day.

The Title Capitalization Tool — I found this handy site while trying to figure out how to capitalize the headline for this post. Plug in your title or headline and it will automatically convert it to the correct format in  AP, APA, or Chicago style.

 

*Full disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. Thank you for supporting my blog. 


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Writer’s Gift Guide 2018

The things that make someone a writer can’t be bought. There’s no Black Friday sale on heartbreak, introversion, or an unhappy childhood. You can’t buy inspiration or a gift card redeemable by the muse. But you can buy the writer in your life a few material things to make his or her work more comfortable and pleasurable. Here are a few gift ideas, most of which I use or have used.

For more suggestions be sure to check out Kaleigh Moore’s 2018 Freelancer’s Gift guide (and if anyone wants to buy me that chair she recommends…)

Pens

An inexpensive fountain pen like the Kaweco Classic Sport or the Lamy Safari. These are cheap but they last forever and write like something much more expensive. Both are considered new classics, and any serious pen collector will appreciate them no matter what else they have in their collection. Either one is a perfect everyday jotter for someone who already has something more expensive they’re afraid to lose.

For a stocking stuffer, consider the disposable Pilot Varsity or the Platinum Preppy.

The world of high-end fountain pens can be hard to navigate, and there’s a lot of overpriced gilded bullshit out there. Here are my three favorites.

The Sailor 1911 (this is the pen, with a medium-fine nib, is the one I write with)

The Lamy 2000

The Pilot Heritage 92

Both the Lamy and the Pilot are piston fillers, meaning they require ink from a bottle. The Sailor takes cartridges, so it’s better for travel in my opinion.

If you live in New York, you can buy your pens in person at Goods for the Study or the Fountain Pen Hospital. In Boston, check out the Bromfield Pen Shop. In Montréal, go to Nota Benne where they also sell refurbished typewriters.

 

Paper

My favorite leather notebook is the Leuchtturm1917. It has numbered pages, a blank table of contents, two bookmark ribbons and way better paper than a Moleskine. Obviously, you can get 240 sheets of bound paper for less than $20, but the way I see it, journals are R.O.I positive. I get more than $20 worth of ideas out of mine, I get more than $20 worth of enjoyment out of writing on nice paper, and I get more than $20 of productivity out of it by using mine as a Bullet Journal.

Yellow legal pads are the best deal in paper. My entire outlining process is designed for a single sheet of yellow legal paper. I get mine in bulk from Amazon.

Everything I write that’s longer than a few pages starts on index cards, and I’ve recently started using them to take notes on what I read. I like Oxford 3x5s. I don’t have big enough ideas for 4×6.

Books

The War of Art by Steven Pressfield — A book about resistance (writer’s block) and how to defeat it one day at a time. I recommend this book to anyone who thinks they’re too tough for writerly self-help.

Show your Work and Steal Like an Artist and Keep Going (preorder) by Austin Kleon — Motivation and inspiration in the form of books that are works of art in their own right.

Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott — A holistic approach to the creative life. A good one for the writer who needs to learn self-kindness.

Mastery By Robert Greene — A doorstopper about how we master skills and what we can learn from past and current masters in areas from sculpture to boxing.

Pep Talks for Writers By Grant Faulker — Just What it sounds like from the founder of NaNoWriMo.

A Waterproof Kindle — I’ll probably get one when I inevitably destroy my old one in the water.

An Audible Membership – You get one free book every month (or three if you get the Platinum plan) and if you’re like me and you read 30-hour+ books like Robert Greene’s Laws of Human Nature or the new translation of Don Quixoteyou end up amassing a bunch of credits as they roll over month-to-month.


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*Full disclosure: this post contains affiliate links. 

Reading List: Mood Tunes and a WWI Podcast

“You know who doesn’t go around calling themselves ’the boss?’ Bosses.” —Ryan Holiday

I’m still reading Sam Shepard’s The One Insideso I haven’t got any book recommendations for you this week. I do however have a bunch of articles, on everything from mortgage payments to bullies, and two of the best Spotify playlists ever made.

Enjoy.

What I’m Reading 

“Your Life in Weeks” — If this article from Wait But why? doesn’t motivate you to get busy living, I don’t know what will. Spoiler alert: we don’t have much time.

Frogman Comics — Entertaining my inner-boy and doing some research for the novel with these vintage comics about the real-life exploits of the Navy frogmen. The Frogman series was originally published in 1952 in the middle of the Korean War, shortly after the role of the frogmen in D-Day and the Pacific had been declassified. The reprinting features ads from the 1950s including mail-order fitness plans for kids who are tired of being picked on for being skinny.

“‘Never Forget’: the Story of Pete Davidson’s Father killed on 9/11” — My brother, Michael Daly, honoring a fallen hero in the Daily Beast. 

“The Tradeoff: The True Story of my $624 mortgage payment”–Catherine Baab-Muguira tells the story of a real estate bargain that gave her the freedom to travel and write more. This post and her piece on whether or not writers need to move to New York have been helpful to me as I figure out my next move.

Ryan Holiday:

  • “Living Like a Boss” — On why you should shut up, keep your head down, and let your work speak for itself. He also gets into why consultants and self-proclaimed experts tend to be “clueless assholes.”
  • “Maybe and Might” — On the virtues of ambivalence and loosely held opinions.
  • Means— Why you shouldn’t take advantage of a dip in the economy to upgrade your living situation any more than you should move your house closer to the water when the tide goes out.

Robert Greene has two fantastic posts on dealing with difficult people which draw from his latest book The Laws of Human Nature:

 

What I’m Listening to

Hardcore History, “Blueprint for Armageddon” A multi-part, 20+ hour deep-dive into WWI, it’s causes and implications extending to the present day.

Two Spotify playlists: Little Big Clap and Really Good Mood Tunes. If you’re getting married anytime soon, forget the DJ, don’t hire a band, all you need is an AUX cable and these playlists.

What I’m Writing

Deep in the re-writes of my dad’s book and a novel. Anyone can start two books in a year, finishing them is a challenge.

What I’m Doing

Exploring the Cape Cod National Seashore. Henry David Thoreau said of this stretch of coast,

“A man may stand there and put all Americans behind him.”

 


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Reading List: “Nobody Wants to Read Your Sh*t”

I’m keeping my head down this week, and getting back to not giving a fuck about anything but the work after I voted and fulfilled my civic duty on Tuesday and checked my phone for results all night.

Politics tends to be a blind spot in my reading as it will be in these roundup posts. That said, anyone interested in finding a non-obvious way to take on Trump should read Conspiracy: Theil, Hulk Hogan, and the Anatomy of Intrigue, Ryan Holiday’s account of the Hulk Hogan vs. Gawker lawsuit and its implications for next-level dissent.

What I’m Reading

Shoe Dog by Phil Knight — The story of how Nike was built out of Knight’s parents’ basement.

The One Inside by Sam Shepard — So far I’ve only read the lyrical introduction by Patti Smith who describes it as a work of a “loner who doesn’t want to be alone.” Who is “Captivated, confused, and amused by women, drawn toward them yet compelled to skip out.” Shepard dedicates the book to multiple women.

Nobody Wants to Read your Sh*t: Why That is and What to do about it by Steven Pressfield As in his other books, Pressfield preaches the gospel of showing the fuck up, overcoming procrastination, and organizing your work with a three-act structure. He talks about the various stages of his career and why copywriting is phenomenal training for an aspiring novelist.

“I’m a Millennial and I don’t Understand my Peers–  Not Even a Little Bit” By Ryan Holiday

Ryan Holiday’s advice on how and why to find a mentor and why you shouldn’t use the word “mentor” in their presence.

John LeFevre, Creator of @GSElevator,  just for fun. He has some solid advice about affiliate links (which, by the way my reading list uses) as a way to generate passive income for writers.

What I’m Listening to

A TED Talk about how and why to work for free some of the time.

Radiolab, “In the No.” a 3-part, NSFW, series about consent.

What I’m Writing

Lots of housekeeping this week:

I’ve been self-educating about SEO and setting up a new theme for my website.

I wrote a letter (okay, an email) to one of my favorite living crime writers, and he wrote me back. Made my week.

What I’m doing

Headed to New York for a fundraiser supporting my filmmaker friend Bridget Gormley‘s documentary about post 9/11 illness.

Reading List: Don’t Order Fish on Monday

“Your body is not a temple, it’s an amusement park.”
–Anthony Bourdain

What I’m Reading

Kitchen Confidential by Anthony Bourdain. A must-read for anyone who’s ever worked in a restaurant or eaten in one.  It’s where he explains why you should never order fish on a Monday. This is my first time re-reading it since he eighty-sixed himself, and I’m rapidly alternating between anger and admiration.

Bourdain’s Articles on Medium including one about #metoo and his feelings of personal responsibility for having perpetuated a culture of “grotesque behavior” in kitchens with his early writing.

 “Here’s what Happened when I Quit Drinking A year Ago.” Quitting drinking from a perspective that’s a little more relatable to nonalcoholics.

How to Read More–a lot More.” In a short post reminiscent of Orwell’s “Books vs. Cigarettes“, Ryan Holiday reminds us that reading is not a luxury.

What I’ve Been Listening to

 The audiobook of Kitchen Confidentialin which Bourdain voices the accents of his runners, busboys, and mob-connected purveyors.

The Velvet Underground & Nico.

Weezer covering “Africa” by Toto after being successfully petitioned to do so by a fan on Twitter.

What I’ve Been Writing

I’ve been taking notes for the first time while I read.


Reading List: Micky Avalon Revisited

Instead of talking about how much money we have, let’s talk about how much we don’t have.”

–Micky Avalon

 

What I’m Reading

Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance between the FBI and the Irish Mob by Dick Lehr and Gerard O’Neill. The true crime story that inspired The Departed and Black Mass. A must-read for new arrivals in Boston who don’t know the story of the city’s disturbing pre-tech past.

Just Kids by Patti Smith. On art, love, life, loss, and trench mouth.

5 Things Every Entrepreneur can Learn from Rappers Micky Avalon and Simon Rex.”

What I’m Listening to

McCauley Culkin on Joe Rogan. The Home Alone star has grown up to write, paint, podcast, and found an art collective.

Florence Welch reading “Lovesong” by Ted Hughes.

Micky Avalon.

What I’m Watching

The world series with my dad.

 

What I’m Writing

Working on a New Year’s deadline for dad’s memoir.

Finished marking up the rough draft of my novel. I’ll be posting my novel log, documenting the writing process, on Medium. Stay tuned.

 

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Reading List: Note to my 19-Year-Old-Self

“What one does is what counts. Not what one had the intention of doing.”

Pablo Picasso 

Here’s what I’ve been up to this week…

 

Lately, most of blogging has been on Medium. I’ll be linking to those posts in these weekly roundups.

 

What I’m Writing

“29 Writing Tips for my 19-Year-Old Self”

“Writing Tips I Put on my Wall 

How to Get Sh*t Done as a Freelancer” which was featured in Data-Driven Investor.

My dad and I are getting close to a submittable manuscript of his memoir–stay tuned.

I recently finished a rough draft of a pulp-style crime novel. It turns out writing two books in a year is easier than finishing one. As anyone who has ever run a race or climbed a mountain knows, the two hardest parts are starting and finishing.

What I’m Reading

Driven to Distraction: recognizing and coping with Attention Deficit Disorderby Dr. Edward Hallowell

Getting Off: One woman’s journey through sex and porn addiction  by Erica Garza

The First Quarry, by Max Allan Collins

 

What I’m Listening To

Charlie Parker. But I’ve started wearing earplugs while I’m working and reading–again, adult ADD.

 

What I’m Doing

Taking a free online studio art class through the Museum of Modern Art on Coursera: Postwar Abstract Painting. It’s like Bob Ross but in the style of Jackson Pollock, Barnett Newman, and Mark Rothko.

Send me an email if you want a painting.


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Email Personalization Guide — Campaign Monitor

Gone are the days of one-size-fits-all messaging. Consumers have come to demand and expect relevant and personalized content and experiences both online and offline.

To meet those demands, marketers are striving to leverage email personalization to move from 1: many messaging toward 1:1 experiences that not only meet, but exceed consumer expectations and set them apart from the competition. That’s why it’s not surprising that when asked to prioritize one capability that will be most important to marketing in the future, 33% of marketers answered: “personalization.” Furthermore, 74% of marketers say targeted personalization increases customer engagement, and they see an average increase of 20% in sales when using personalized experiences.

To help marketers slay their email personalization challenges and goals, we created a comprehensive guide that covers basic tactics like personalizing an email subject line, to more sophisticated techniques like using dynamic content or behavioral data based on how consumers are engaging with your brand. Marketers at every level and ability can reap the benefits of sending more relevant and personalized messages that get results.

 

Read on at Campaign Monitor

 

The Ultimate Guide to Entrepreneurship — HubSpot

*NOTE: I was the ghostwriter on this post, meaning the work is mine but the byline is not. 

Entrepreneurship is the process of starting (or improving upon) a business with the ultimate goal of making a profit. It often involves great risk and uncertainty, but it’s also an opportunity to overcome those challenges and to manage multiple aspects of a business operation. From marketing to accounting to logistics and beyond, entrepreneurs get to oversee the many facets of running a business.

But isn’t easy. In fact, data shows that 90% of startups fail. Despite this, entrepreneurship remains an extremely attractive path. Like many high-risk activities, it often draws people who see the risks as an exciting challenge — and not a disclaimer.

And while the risk might be great, so are the rewards. Entrepreneurship is easily one of the most creative forms of business — and it can be immensely satisfying on a personal level.

 

Continue Reading at Hubspot.

charles daly content marketing writer

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