I present to you the project I’ve been working on for the last month and a half.
There’s a great task-planner called Timestripe. Inside of Timestripe there are climbs—short-term programs aimed at improving of a certain skill or a habit.
I happened to meet the guys who from Timestripe team: Sergey Kulinkovich and Andrey Maykov, both are creators of the product. I offered them my help with copies, and Sergey asked me, «Do you write in English». Apparently, I fucking do.
Within 21 days you’ll learn the basics of writing good and clear copies, and create a few pieces on the topics you’re passionate about. The climb consists of short theory basics and easy-to-do everyday tasks.
I’ve always hated standard wallpapers on any devices I had. That’s why in 2018 I designed minimalist wallpapers for writers. They were just dark background with short and sophisticated phrases in Russian about writing and editing. Many authors and editors loved them so much, that I made another version.
The resolution of desktop wallpapers is 2880×1800 pixels, and it’s 1125×2436 for mobile. All wallpapers are free to download, but I’ll appreciate it if you will mention me and my blog while sharing a link.
This manifesto has imbibed the experience and principles of the best Russian editors. I collected them for four years and presented them today as a list of 25 theses. These rules help me not to do bullshit and protect me from bad projects.
Before you start writing a copy, think about how not to make one.
Your text will not change the world. It’s just another text.
Don’t play with the words, don’t move them around. It doesn’t change much.
Don’t grind your copies to perfection. Perfect things exist only in your mind.
Publish your post while it’s burning and exciting.
Hire a proofreader so that you don’t have to argue with the client about spelling and punctuation.
Take responsibility for the result you provide, not for separate words, sentences, or the number of characters.
Ask questions and listen carefully to the client. He has answers and solutions.
Don’t be an asshole. Don’t go missing, and warn about troubles as soon as they arise.
Don’t teach your client how to write texts, and don’t be stubborn like a ram. Don’t argue about your unique vision of writing and style. No one is interested in it.
Solve the task and do not try to prove to the client that you’re the boss here.
Leave emotions behind the door when you enter the meeting. Reschedule the call if you are a little off the rails.
Don’t grovel and don’t settle for bad decisions. You have to defend your principles.
Always work on a contract, take an advance payment.
There is no such thing as a fair or average price for a text. A fair price is the one that suits you and the client.
It’s hard to make a living on plain texts. To make more, sell the service, not the text or the number of characters.
Develop skills in related areas: layout, management, design, code, typography, illustration, negotiation, law.
Never work with urgent tasks. You won’t make much money, but you’re guaranteed to eat some shit and be left holding the bag.
Work only on the projects you would not be ashamed of and that you can put in your portfolio.
Don’t get into a project with a bad context out of need. You won’t be happy with the money.
Remember you’re great. You make a living with your mind. Not everyone dares to do this.
When you don’t see a way out, go back to the initial brief and the task your client brought in. Usually, there’s an answer or a hint.
See all projects through to completion. Finish all your projects. In a difficult moment, remind yourself why you got into this project and keep the goal in mind.
Take care of your health: sleep at night, exercise, eat well. Make 10,000 steps a day, eat fruit, vegetables, and greens, drink more water and less coffee.
Be honest and frank with yourself. All problems begin with lies.
P. S. This year I’m going to talk to the authors, writers, and editors, even more, to fill the manifesto with new principles that I consider crucial and useful. I hope that in five years, when the fifth version of the manifesto comes out, we’ll be able to trace how the profession of the writer has changed.
In London I bought a book by John Hegarty, an iconic British PR-manager and advertiser. The book has only 125 pages, but it’s the most captivating piece on creative thinking I’ve ever read. I ate it during my three hour flight to Moscow, and funny but literally can eat this book, 'cause it’s printed without ink.
Hegarty breaks all templates and familiar patterns that stuck in our heads, and reminds about simple truths we know, but we are too afraid to follow.
The book is written in a modern and clear language. Anyone with an intermediate level of English can easily read and understand everything Hegarty says. Here’s one of the feature quotes from the book:
I have a Russian origin, so don’t freak out 'cause of my name. The English version of it is Eugene, and I hate it. So, when you contact me never refer to me like that, use the original version of the name. Or at least the Spanish one—Eugenio.
I grew up in Tobolsk, a small Siberian town and then moved to Tyumen, just 228 km to the south. But the weather is pretty much the same here. We have cold and snowy winters, and goddamn hot summers. Sometimes they’re so hot you wish it were a winter or at least a fall.
What is this site for?
In February I’m planning to start several projects in English:
Blog and personal newsletter about writing and design. I love sharing some good thoughts and notions about things and people around me.
Shortreads about life in Russia, stories of some Russians that touched me.
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I’ll finish this post with a quote of my favorite writer Ernest Hemingway.
Life should never daunt you. Never be daunted. It’s the secret of my success. I’ve never been daunted. Never been daunted in public.