Steven Pressfield shares his #1 lesson for anybody in the working world:
Nobody wants to read your shit.
The market doesn’t know what you’re selling and doesn’t care. Your potential customers are so busy dealing with the rest of their lives, they haven’t got a spare second to give to your product/work of art/business, no matter how worthy or how much you love it.
What’s your answer to that?
1) Reduce your message to its simplest, clearest, easiest-to-understand form.
2) Make it fun. Or sexy or interesting or informative.
3) Apply that to all forms of writing or art or commerce.
When you understand that nobody wants to read your shit, your mind becomes powerfully concentrated. You begin to understand that writing/reading is, above all, a transaction. The reader donates his time and attention, which are supremely valuable commodities. In return, you the writer, must give him something worthy of his gift to you.
In school anything you write or do will be read and graded by a teacher paid to do so. In the real world nobody wants to read your shit, and you have to earn their attention every single day.
Last year in a post titled You Have to Make People Give a Shit, I extolled blogging as a way to learn this value.
One way blogging makes you a better writer is it forces you to work hard for your readers' attention. On the web, it takes less than a second to close the page or click a new link. Your readers are busy and distracted.
This means you must engage the reader out of the gate and take nothing for granted. If you start sucking in the second paragraph, you'll likely lose the reader's attention. They click to a new page.
It's brutal. It makes you better.