Sunday, December 4, 2016

Lunch-pail Mentality

Playing the game for money produces the proper professional attitude.
It inculcates the lunch-pail mentality.
— Steven Pressfield

You can spot a pro a mile away. She carries a lunch pail.

The dilettante, on the other hand, carries a bag from Pret.

The pro shows up, rain or shine, and works her plan.

She persists.

The dilettante sits and waits—often in meetings—for the Muses (or the cavalry) to arrive.

He resists.

I love the name of conference planner Warwick Davies' company, The Event Mechanic! It perfectly—and authentically—describes Davies' lunch-pail attitude.

Journalist James J. Kilpatrick once likened the professional writer to a carpenter:

Our task is deceptively simple. It is as deceptively simple as the task of carpenters, who begin by nailing one board to another board. Then other boards are nailed to other boards, and, lo, we have a house. Just so, as writers we put one word after another word, and we connect those words with other words, and, lo, we have a news story or an editorial.

Jack London trained himself to write for money by copying other writers' phrases into notebooks, "strong phrases, the phrases of living language, phrases that bit like acid and scorched like flame."

And journalist Hunter S. Thompson trained himself to write for a living by typing for days on end the works of Faulkner, Fitzgerald and Hemingway.

That's persistence.
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