nonprofit and literary ventures may put equal weight on artistic excellence
or related concerns of quality, they are not free from the financial realities
of the business. The focus of the financial calculus may simply be shifted,
from what publication will produce a profit to what project will procure
an NEA grant or large donation. In both cases, the sustainability of the op-
eration depends on consistently wise project choices. Good judgment is
essential, as is creativity in the use of limited time and resources.
One thing that surprises writers new to the
book auctions, 49, 96
book launches, 208– 22
book marketing, guides to, 294
book proposals, 110, 117– 27
book publishing: guides to industry,
294; viability of for income, 2,
Bowerman, Jeanne, 203
brand building, 15– 17, 73– 74. See also
budgets, publishers’ marketing, 46– 47
business, creativity vs., 8, 11, 26, 41
business models: advertising- based,
53, 54– 55, 64– 65; for digital media,
64– 66, 67– 68; for literary journals,
76; for magazines, 53, 54– 55; for
career building, 19
change, resistance to, 7
- nehisi - coates/, 3:16– 3:37.
5. Rosamund Stone Zander and Benjamin Zander, The Art of Possibility (Bos-
ton, MA: Harvard Business Press, 2000), 1.
6. Paul Graham, “How to Do What You Love,” January 2006, http:// www .paul
graham .com /love .html.
1. Clay Shirky, Cognitive Surplus: Creativity and Generosity in a Connected Age
(New York: Penguin Books, 2010).
2. Daniel Lyons, “Has Arianna Huffington Figured Out the Future?,” Newsweek,
July 25, 2010, http:// www .newsweek .com /has - arianna - huffington - figured - out
- future - 74833.
3. George Packer
many iterations. We
publish books of these ideas, fi x them in enduring forms, and disseminate
them as widely as we realistically can. In fact, it is this challenge that brings
us back to campus each day.
Scholarly editors sometimes hear new ideas as they are just forming. We
see prototypes of inventions that can be dazzling. We see the products of
enormous creativity as they are being created. By its very nature, acquiring
scholarly books can be a heady job. Our role is to help it all happen, to bring
our professional acumen to the table and publish all this
essay prompt that went like this:
Expertise in and experience with imagination, inven-
tiveness and resourcefulness: Illustrate to us the
things that intrigue you, devote time and energy to,
and have cultivated knowledge in. Please provide ex-
amples of your creativity and ideas along with your
eagerness to share these with others so they may
also learn from you.
Emma sent me a draft and said that her response was
ninety- three words so she had room for seven more. This is
what she came up with.
92 EMMA’S SHORTIES
For the past five years, a nonprofit in
consistently using recommended writing tools.
There are a number of books that may help you identify deeply
held beliefs that could be standing in your way, including Roseanne
Bane, Around the Writer’s Block: Using Brain Science to Solve Writer’s
Resistance; Victoria Nelson, On Writer’s Block: A New Approach to
Creativity; and Jane Anne Staw, Unstuck: A Supportive and Practical
Guide to Working Through Writer’s Block.
If you are working on a project you care about but are unable to
move forward with short, frequent writing sessions, invite your de-
mons in for tea
your head.”1 Anyone can say they have an idea for a book, but very
few make the effort to follow through and write it. The spark will
flicker out unless it’s acted upon with skill and determination.
And yet for some reason, ideas are the most publicly revered part
of the writing process. Read ten author interviews or attend ten au-
thor Q&As, and the question will come up at least nine times: Where
did you come up with the idea for your book? The question suggests
that prolific, successful writers have a kind of padlocked treasure
chest of creativity
of when you feel most and least productive in the course
of a week, and then use this knowledge to identify your best hours for
writing. What he is offering is a way to match your writing time to your
Call your most energetic hours A time. Your goal is to protect your
A time from all the B and C tasks that tend to fill it up. B tasks require
alertness and focus, but not necessarily your best creative energy.
C tasks are mostly rote— work that doesn’t require as much insight
7. Securing Energy 33
or creativity as writing does. Start valuing
. Eventually she learned how
to connect reliably with intellectual work. She went on to have a suc-
cessful academic career as a psycholinguist and writer.
Research on writing productivity confirms her experience. As
Boice (in Professors as Writers) and others have shown, brief daily
contact with a writing project results in more creativity and productiv-
ity than long intermittent writing bouts do. In other words, the binge
writing (up all night, against deadline pressure) we learned to do in
college doesn’t work in the long run. We do not need huge swaths of