One Question for Seth Godin

 
This blog owes its existence to the wisdom of Seth Godin. These posts are an exercise in what he calls “shipping.” I make something every day and put it out in the world in order to practice the vulnerability required to make art. I think out loud often enough and publicly enough that I lose any fear of sharing my words. Seth Godin’s blog is my model. 
 
For those of you who don’t know, Seth Godin is the best selling author of Poke the Boxthe Icarus Deception, and the Purple Cow. He is the founder of Squidoo and Yoyodyne, one of the first online marketing firms. Forbes Magazine described Godin as a “Demigod on the web… uniquely respected for his understanding of the internet.” 
 
Recently Godin reached out to his readers for questions to address in an online course on freelancing. Mine is one of the questions that he chose. Here’s what he had to say: 
 
Charles Daly:
If, starting today, you had to draw 100% of your income from writing fiction how would you go about doing that? As writers we’re told that only the outliers get to pay the bills with novels, is that true?
 
Seth Godin:
As I’ve said before, and I’m going to keep saying, being generic is a choice. Being average is a choice, being in the middle is a choice. Only outliers can make a good living as freelancers. Only outliers make a living writing fiction. 
[..]
It’s the outliers who succeed, so that’s not the question. The question is: what type of outlier are you willing to be? 
 
One type of outlier is to be the writer of a specific type of genre fiction that you can own, that you can be the leader of, that you can be on the edge of. There’s someone I was talking to the other day who writes adult fiction that involves men and women and various furry animals. Don’t ask me, but there are people who really want that and if you’re the one who owns that genre you can do just fine. 
 
The other alternative is […] to build a subscriber base. You, like Charles Dickens, can have people who sign up to hear from you on a regular basis. 
 
So our work, as a writer of fiction, is to build something people want to talk about and they want to sign up for. 
 
What I say to every first-time novelist is simple:  if you can’t get it sold to a big, fancy publishing house (and you probably can’t,) take your novel, print it to PDF–make it pretty–and then send your novel to a hundred people. If they share it with a thousand or ten thousand people you’re doing great and publishers will start calling you. And if they don’t share it, well, your novel wasn’t that good and you should start over. But either way, it doesn’t wait for you to sit around hoping to get picked. 
 
Seth Godin
 
 
Seth Godin’s Freelancer Course is available through Udemy. It is a must for anyone interested in freelancing and entrepreneurship. I can’t recommend it highly enough. Along with Seth Godin’s eighty-seven mini lectures (varying in length from 1 to 5 minutes,) you get an active and supportive online community, and assignments to evaluate your assets as a freelancer. 
 
There’s another lesson here: I almost didn’t submit my question. There was a deadline, so I didn’t think I had enough time to craft something perfect that would wow my hero (because that’s why you ask questions, right?) Besides, I’m not someone who wins contests anyway. My question was far from perfect–I think I sounded like a fourth grader on career day–but I shipped it.
 
Thank you, Seth. 

Wesley Rothman, Show us Where you Show up

To kick off our Show us Where you Show up series: meet Wesley Rothman, a Boston poet and “Baldwin disciple” originally from back west. You can find his work pretty much everywhere fine poems are printed, including the walls of Boston City hall later this month. Wes, take it away… 

1. Who are you, where can we find you and your work?

I’m a poet and critic. I’m a regular reviewer for American Microreviews and Interviews. Other critical work has appeared in Rain Taxi Review of BooksPrairie SchoonerSoutheast ReviewThe RumpusPloughshares, among other venues. Some interviews and essays are featured in Tupelo QuarterlyFour Way ReviewThe Missouri Review, and Connotation Press: An Online Artifact
2. What’s you’re creativity hack of choice?

If a poem or essay isn’t already churning in my mind, my go-to practice for generating work is reading. There’s always a new book of poetry or essays to read, and revisiting older favorites not only pulls me into the space of crafting, but often throws phrases, words, or reactions at me which spin out into new drafts, explorations of a new poem. I also love what visual art does for making a poem draft.

3. What are you working on?

I’m in the late stages of shaping my first collection of poems, SUBWOOFER–an exploration and interrogation of white privilege in America, a ‘prayer’ book to language and sound and voice and listening, an attempt to enter the ongoing process of redemption.

Wesley has work forthcoming in Narrative, Crab Orchard Review, Post Road, Waxwing, Mississippi Review,Poet Lore, and an anthology published by Math Paper Press, edited by Peter LaBerge and Talin Tahajian, called Poets on Growth.Facebook: wesley.rothman & poetwesleyrothman. Twitter: @wesleyrothman.

*Show us where you show up, brings you the work spaces and work habits of working writers and artists at work. Click here for details.

The Orange Typewriter joins the Springsioux Tribe

Springsioux
Alisa Gusakova
Rings by Springsioux
Photo by Sime Eskinja
The orange typewriter welcomes Pierre-Antoine De Myttenaere and Alisa Gusakova, founders of the lifestyle brand Springsioux. This summer they will launch a collection made by a ‘tribe’ of artists from Paris and beyond. Drawing from street art, tattooing, after hours culture, and music (with a mix-tape on their website). Springsioux began with an update on the rock and roll essential, the black t-shirt, adding creatures from Native American lore.

  Springsioux’s 2012 line features silk t-shirts, fish leather bracelets, and a capsule collection combining silver and fur by Orange Typewriter Guest and fur master Quentin Veron.

S&D: How did you assemble the tribe?

PA: Springsioux began with a t-shirts line I put together when I was playing in a new wave band. Alisa managed our Russian tour and during this trip we shared ideas and realized we had a lot in common. We found a perfect balance between creative energy and business so we decided to partner up and launch a jewelry line.

Our friend Photographer Pierre Yves Toledano was also with us during this Russian tour that gave birth to a team with the motto: work hard, party harder. 

Springsioux
Pierre-Antoine live in
St. Petersburg. 

S&D: What have been some influences on the style of Springsioux?

Alisa: We are influenced by underground subcultures linked to heavy metal, and by native American and Mexicans artwork. We try to combine both universes into something unique using unusual combinations of material like fish-leather and silver…I fell in love with fish-leather several years ago in Russia: we can credit Alexander Wang as a major inspiration for our work with this material.

Springsioux
the Tribe’s DJ Victoria Frangie

S&D: Has your personal look influenced Springsioux or visa versa?

Alisa: Our first creations were what we wanted to wear but couldn’t find in other brands. We don’t really think about what people are expecting to buy, we focus more on creating pieces we love. Springsioux gives us the opportunity to enhance and share our wardrobe and our personal style.

S&D: Tell us more about the Tribe’s Paris roots.

P.A: As the months passed, we gathered talented people who believed in us. DJ Victoria Frangie became our brand ambassador. Music video director Aurélien Offner joined the tribe, and we’ve recently started a collaboration with tattoo artist Eddie Czaicki on a t-shirt line which will be released in September. We are also currently working with fur designer Quentin Veron on an accessory line. As we collaborate we strengthen and expanded the tribe. This is what makes these projects totally exciting.

Springsioux
“Springsioux is a tribe, weaving through the crowd,
remaining alive in the darkness…”

S&D: The brand’s motto is ‘alive in the darkness’ describe what this means to you:

P.A: Springsioux has evolved in the shadows. We are not interested in the mainstream culture; our goal is to create something different and powerful, something for a person to wear while doing his/her own thing. We’re fighting against conformity and creating a community while we’re at it…Springsioux is a tribe, weaving through the crowd, remaining alive in the darkness.

Springsioux
Interview by Charlie Daly

Next time: The Orange Typewriter crosses the Atlantic and Lake Michigan to meet Craig Engel and Lorrisa Julianus: partners on stage, in the studio and in life.