7 Tips to Write a Better White Paper*

A “White Paper” is a long article that explains a new and/or better solution to a problem. Although White Papers vary somewhat in length, the average length is usually about 2000 words (or 8 pages, including a front cover and the back page that details the company whose technology or product is being profiled).

Other names by which “White Papers” are known are the “Special Report,” “Creative Brief,” “Guide to X.” Continue reading “7 Tips to Write a Better White Paper*”

Lacking the Motivation of a “Linchpin?” Resisting your Own Resistance in Seth Godin’s _Linchpin_ (Part Three)

In Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?, Seth Godin cites the late Steve Jobs of Apple (a definite “linchpin”) as saying “Real artists ship,” and that “shipping” (or getting things done) is difficult, because of the “resistance.” This blog posting will explore further Godin’s analysis of Creatives’ “resistance” and how it works. Again, his arguments defy easy cataloging, so I summarize here with examples familiar to you.  The “lizard brain” is the reason you’re nervous or afraid, why you don’t do the best art you can do, and why you don’t “ship” when you can.

Our “resistance” to our own creative, risky work, Godin writes, is predictable and understandable. After all, society pushes artists to “be” geniuses (e.g. “American Idol,” reality TV shows, and pre-school “education” for babies of ambitious parents). To be seen to be a genius is society’s concern and is opposed to the alternative of encouraging artists “to allow the genius within to flourish” (107).

Godin says that we have to think differently about failure as Creatives, and not let the risk of losing feed the “resistance,” to the point that you think “that you don’t deserve to win” and so that giving up begins to look attractive (115). The truth is that each of us does and will always fail at something, and “the key is not to let that wound you out of working.” If we discipline ourselves to write bad ideas daily, we’ll “eventually find that some good ones slip through” (117). But the “temptation to sabotage the new thing [idea or plan] is huge, precisely because it might work” (122). Continue reading “Lacking the Motivation of a “Linchpin?” Resisting your Own Resistance in Seth Godin’s _Linchpin_ (Part Three)”

Lacking Motivation that a “Linchpin” Needs? Resisting your own Resistance in Seth Godin’s _Linchpin_ (Part Two)

“The Thing you most need to do . . . is the thing the resistance most wants you to stop” (131).

Returning to Seth Godin’s manifesto on Marketing, Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?,  I want to review in this blog Godin’s ideas on how you can gain the self-acceptance and respect of a linchpin paradoxically by doing the things you least want to do, and that you know you will do imperfectly. This work requires us to counter our own “resistance,” that comes from the “lizard brain” (in Godin’s famous term), if we are to create art.

Godin divides the human mind into two parts—the “daemon” (Roman for “genius”), an “inner or attendant spirit or inspiring force” (OED), and the “resistance.” He says that the world forces us to “trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability” (1). A painful truth is that creative work of all kinds can threaten one’s mental health, partly because we feel anguish from the conflict between our ideas and the outside world. And, more importantly to this blog, we exert mental energy and feel stress when we experience the clash between the work of expressing one’s inner artist (i.e. to record what the “daemon” says) and the insistent force of “resistance.”

“Resistance” is the enemy of the “daemon,” and the daemon has no control over it. At the same time, the resistance is “afraid” of what will happen “if your ideas get out” and “your gifts are received” (107). How many of us haven’t felt that love/hate ambivalence of taking on a new (difficult) client or landing that very demanding project? Continue reading “Lacking Motivation that a “Linchpin” Needs? Resisting your own Resistance in Seth Godin’s _Linchpin_ (Part Two)”

Think you’re not a Marketing Genius? Reading Seth Godin’s _Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?_ (Part One)

American guru Seth Godin has written some of the most powerful and persuasive arguments on Marketing ever penned. Their application to the Business world and to professional associations is limitless. He powerfully analyzes the Psychology of Business and, in particular, how to be a “linchpin” in any business climate. In this blog posting (the first in a three-part series), I’ll revisit Godin’s analysis that we all have genius to offer, from the profoundly insightful study, Linchpin: Are you Indispensable? Godin’s thoughts defy linear cataloging, so I’ll summarize his arguments and provide examples familiar to you. I’ll focus particularly on what Godin means by the concept of the“linchpin” and how every Creative can optimize their genius to become one.

Which of us hasn’t felt insecure at some point, while working in an association or organization?  One well-masked but common insecurity is the niggling, underlying doubt that “Maybe I’m not smart enough.”  Not smart enough to spearhead that million dollar campaign; not smart enough to recruit that world-class candidate; not smart enough to work with that legendarily difficult (billionaire) client . . . . and on it goes. When Godin says that achievement in business requires “genius” of us, I can almost hear the groans of Creatives’ self-doubt, as if in a painful, collective, “Charlie Brown” sigh. Genius, we think, belongs to other people. Continue reading “Think you’re not a Marketing Genius? Reading Seth Godin’s _Linchpin: Are you Indispensable?_ (Part One)”

How to Tap into your Creative Energy (Part Three)

In my two last blog postings on Todd Henry’s The Accidental Creative, I visited several of Henry’s insights on how organizational tensions and negative influences (of “assassin”-like factors like dissonance, fear and unrealistic expectations) can impair the creativity of your association. But in today’s final installment, we look at positive and constructive strategies that Henry recommends, to stoke our organizations’ creative fires. He says that our default strategy of “working harder and staring more intently at the problem to achieve better results, is like trying to control the weather by staring at the clouds.” What’s called for is a change in strategy that could benefit all of our organizations. Continue reading “How to Tap into your Creative Energy (Part Three)”