Make a plan

Having a plan helps our mind avoid panicking and makes it easy to star acting. Stop wasting your time, make a plan. It’s the first step on the way to your goal.

Being wrong

The hardest thing to do when you’re wrong is to accept that it’s only your fault and responsibility, but no one else’s. It’s incredibly difficult to admit when you’re wrong.

It takes a great courage to stand up and say, “Yeah, I failed. I am sorry for that. I was wrong.” Very few people are capable of taking such a step. If you can do that, you have reason to be proud of yourself.

The value of life ★

The secret of happiness can be revealed with a simple thought. Life is always beautiful. No matter what shit may come and happen, life is good simply because being alive is better than being dead.

Our life is very erratic and inconsistent. You won’t have forever what you have now in your life. Someday it will end. All of it. And there will be nothing to enjoy, nothing to look at, and nothing to regret about.

Even though sometimes life puts us to the test it doesn’t make life less precious and amazing. To live is always good. Remember that both in the moments of joy and in the moments of grief.

The value of life is in life itself, not in how easy or hard this life is for you.

Never be daunted

It’s hard to think clearly in difficult times. Fear paralyzes, impotence suppresses the mind, you feel dropped out.

The main principle that helps me keep my mind clear and sound is: “Continue going your way and don’t lose heart. Never lose heart.”

Not to lose your way, manage your focus and keep moving towards the goal when the world is on fire is an invaluable skill and strength. To remember that difficult times are not forever is a sign of incredible resilience.

Be strong and resilent. Continue on your way. Never be daunted.

So you want to be a writer?

If it doesn’t come bursting out of you
In spite of everything,
Don’t do it.
Unless it comes unasked out of your
Heart and your mind and your mouth
And your gut,
Don’t do it.
If you have to sit for hours
Staring at your computer screen
Or hunched over your typewriter
Searching for words,
Don’t do it.

If you’re doing it for money or fame,
Don’t do it.
If you’re doing it because you want
Women in your bed,
Don’t do it.
If you have to sit there and
Rewrite it again and again,
Don’t do it.
If it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
Don’t do it.
If you’re trying to write like somebody else,
Forget about it.

If you have to wait for it to roar out of you,
Then wait patiently.
If it never does roar out of you,
Do something else.
If you first have to read it to your wife
Or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
Or your parents or to anybody at all,
You’re not ready.

Don’t be like so many writers,
Don’t be like so many thousands of
People who call themselves writers,
Don’t be dull and boring and
Pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-love.
The libraries of the world have
Yawned themselves to sleep
Over your kind.
Don’t add to that.
Don’t do it.

Unless it comes out of
Your soul like a rocket,
Unless being still would
Drive you to madness or
Suicide or murder,
Don’t do it.
Unless the sun inside you is
Burning your gut,
Don’t do it.

When it is truly time,
And if you have been chosen,
It will do it by
Itself and it will keep on doing it
Until you die or it dies in you.

There is no other way.
And there never was.

Charles Bukowski, 1920…1994

Trends are a trap

Never follow trends. Any design should start with a blank canvas, any copy should begin with a blank Google Doc with a blinking cursor in it. Solutions are born in the head, not on the screen.

It’s no use aligning your work with trends or reading another top-10-design-trends-of-the-coming-year article. No one who walked a well-trodden path has ever invented or explored something new.

The only way to create something unique is to think out of the box, to develop your own thinking that will lead to ideas completely different from those that trends dictate.

Trends are a mental trap. They limit designers to a range of customary, safe solutions that don’t excite people. How else to explain hundreds of thousands of identical landing pages, dull logos, and Corporate Memphis illustrations. All this is the result of following trends.

I publicly declare that trends are bullshit, and I allow you to score on them. If you look for a novelty, swim against the tide.


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Circus with animals

Circuses and moving zoos are the wildest misconception in 2021. I honestly don’t understand why they still exist.

What is the point to look at a dancing bear that was trained and forced to dance? Who has ever laughed at clown’s jokes? Aren’t they the most pathetic and lousy jokes in the world? What is the pleasure to stare at animals locked in small cells, dying of thirst or frostbite?

I would prohibit circuses just for their absolutely disgusting “wanna-gouge-my-eyes-out” advertising and terribly vulgar costumes, that kills the people’s sense of beauty. Not to mention the fact that being a person who commits and supports violence against animals in the 21st century is completely fucked up.

Here’s a fresh poster by Tyumen circus — make my eyes bleed

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Timestripe climb “Beat Writer’s Block” ⚡️

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.

One month and a half later I found myself finishing my own Timestripe climb about beating writer’s block in 21 days. This climb is a starting point for those who want to write regularly or become a commercial author, writer, editor, copywriter, etc.

My climb in Timestripe climbs' library

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.

If you’re interested in the topic, I invite you to try this climb and share your feedback with me via email → evgeny@lepekhin.me.


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Wallpapers for writers in Art Deco style

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.

Today I present brand-new wallpapers with a beautiful typeface called “Bad Russian” by Paratype. They look fresh, simple, and also please the eye with elegant forms of the Art Deco type.

Here’s an example of wallpaper from the set

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.

Download wallpapers →


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Author’s manifesto for 2021

I’ve been in commercial writing since 2017. I’ve come all the way from a freelancer to an owner of a design studio.

Here are 25 principles I’ve crafted over 5 years of my career. They’ll help you increase your value as a writer, and, therefore, your profit.

Editing

  1. Before you start writing a copy, think about how not to write one.
  2. Your text will not change the world. It’s just another text.
  3. Don’t play with the words, don’t move them around. It won’t make much of a difference.
  4. Don’t grind your copies to perfection. Publish fast, then polish. Perfect things exist only in your mind.
  5. Publish your post while it burns you from the inside and excites you.
  6. Hire a proofreader so that you wouldn’t have to argue with the client about spelling and punctuation.

Service

  1. Take responsibility for the result you provide, not for separate words, sentences, or a number of characters.
  2. Ask questions and listen to the client carefully. He has all the answers.
  3. Don’t be an asshole: don’t go missing and warn your clients when troubles arise.
  4. Don’t teach your client how to write texts, and don’t be stubborn like a ram.
  5. Don’t argue about your unique vision of writing and style. No one is interested in it. Solve the task and don’t try to show who’s the boss here.
  6. Leave emotions behind when you enter a Zoom meeting. Reschedule if you are off-balance.
  7. Don’t grovel and don’t settle for bad decisions. Defend your working routine, processes and principles.

Money

  1. Always work on a contract and take an advance payment.
  2. There is no such thing as an average price. Only a fair price. A fair price is the one that suits you and your client.
  3. It’s not easy to make a living on writing. To make more, sell the service, not the text or the number of characters.
  4. Develop skills in related areas: layout, management, design, code, typography, illustration, negotiation, law.
  5. Never work on urgent tasks. You won’t make much money, but you’re guaranteed to eat some shit and be a scapegoat in the end.
  6. Work only on the projects you wouldn’t be ashamed to put in your portfolio.
  7. Don’t get into a project with a bad context, especially out of need. You won’t be happy with the money made there.

Strength

  1. Remember that you’re great. You make a living using your head. Most people never dare to do it.
  2. When you don’t see a way out, go back to the initial brief and the task your client brought in. Usually, you’ll find an answer or a hint there.
  3. See all projects through to completion. In hard times remind yourself why you got into this project and keep the goal in mind like a lighthouse in the storm.
  4. 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.
  5. Be honest and frank with yourself. All problems begin with a lie.

Postscript

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.


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