The “Middle Shit”, The Bane Of My Life



The cartoon above got me thinking…

The artist’s job is made up of two main elements: Making and Selling i.e. the internal and the external part of the business.

Even if a lot of artists don’t much care for the “selling” part, most of the sane ones agree that it’s necessary… which is why they have agents, managers, gallery representation, PR firms on retainer etc etc.

Now, for sake of argument, assume the internal stuff is the “X” in the cartoon, and the external stuff is “Z”.

That leaves “Y”…  the stuff in the middle, the stuff that is neither the art itself, nor the sales.

“Networking”, or whatever.

Of course, social media falls in the neither-nor “Y” category as well… you’re not actually making product, nor are you closing sales. But you are trying to move things forward, kinda-sorta.

You’re doing the “Indirect” thing. Kinda talking about the work, dropping the occasional breadcrumb here and there for potential fish to nibble at, spreading the word on new developments and seeing what the interest is, if any.

I don’t know about you, but of all the three elements above, I find “Y” is the most dangerous. You can spend hours in that zone, Tweeting, Instagramming, Facebooking,  self-promoting away, thinking that you’re getting something done. And the more you do it, the more addictive it gets, the bigger time suck it becomes.

The good news is, it’s normal. Every business, small or large, has issues with it.

But at least you know that now…


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Hugh MacLeod is a genius.  Genius.

Seth Godin
Best Selling Author

His work acknowledges the absurdity of workaday life, while also encouraging employees to respond with passion, creativity, and non-conformity...   MacLeod’s work is undeniably an improvement over the office schlock of yore. At its best, it’s more honest, and more cognizant of the entrepreneurial psyche, while still retaining some idealism.

The New Republic
Lydia Depillis

Last year my State of the College address was 76 slides loaded with data. This year it was 14 cartoons that were substantially more memorable.

Len Schlesinger
Former President, Babson College

"There are only two daily newsletters that I look forward to opening and reading every time they show up to my inbox: Seth Godin's and gapingvoid."

Tony Hsieh
CEO, Zappos

In moments of indecision I glance at the wall [to Hugh's work] for guidance.

Brian Clark
  • Seth Godin
  • The New Republic
  • Len Schlesinger
  • Tony Hsieh
  • Brian Clark