Good Work—Edition Nº 25

A hand-curated newsletter devoted to exploring how we choose to spend the 90,000 hours that will make up our careers.
Andy Sparks

🎶 Dusk by Ford

No editor can ever afford the rejection of a good thing, and no author the publication of a bad one. The only difficulty lies in drawing the line.Thomas Wentworth Higginson*

Some of the most rewarding experiences in life are sitting right in front of us, but they're hidden because no one bothered to tell us they exist.

For the last year, I've been telling all my friends how incredible it's been to work with Rachel Jepsen. In title, she's our Senior Editor at Holloway. But she is so much more—a poet and a musician with a hauntingly beautiful voice. At her core, Rachel is a teacher. After more than a year of writing with her, I rarely sit down at a keyboard and find myself blocked with worry or without the tools to open up the elusive valve that controls the flow of words, and I went from having written twenty or so blog posts to publishing 340 pages in about a year.

People tell you about how important it is to find and work with a great co-founder, find the right life partner—but no one told me that, in order to be a writer, you need to find yourself a hell of an editor. There’s plenty of misconceptions about what editors do—that they merely fix misspellings and grammar, marking up your mistakes in red pen. Yes, they do those things (though Rachel mostly wields pixels instead of a pen), but that’s not where their magic lies. A truly great editor can tell you what’s missing, superfluous, or flat-out wrong about your writing while simultaneously pouring you a cocktail of positive emotions and pointing you in the direction of the solution.

Some work can be done in isolation. The myth of the lone genius pecking away at a keyboard in their remote cabin in the woods is pervasive but largely untrue. Writing is a team sport. And great work, Good Work, comes from a symbiosis of at least two minds encouraging, challenging, and inspiring each other.

This Week

  • I'd be remiss if I didn't share what the 340 pages were all about. On Thursday we launched The Holloway Guide to Raising Venture Capital, a current and comprehensive resource for entrepreneurs, with technical detail, practical knowledge, real-world scenarios, and pitfalls to avoid.
  • It turns out I’m not the only one with appreciation for Rachel’s work. In this tweet on Friday, Camille Ricketts called Rachel “one of the best editors I’ve ever worked with.” I concur.
  • “Charles And Ray Eames Made Life Better By Design; Their Home Was No Exception” is a great piece on my favorite example of two people pulling the best out of each other.
  • Partners In Crime: The Power of Finding Your Creative Collaborator by Jason Keath is a good practical resource for finding yourself a partner in creativity.
  • The Slate article “Two Is The Magic Number” is the first in a series covering new research into social connections and creativity, and how great partnerships yield unexpected results. “The stereotypes of miraculous breakthrough moments—and the incessant drive to locate them in the head of epic individuals—are slowly yielding to a portrait of complex, meandering, inherently social paths toward innovation.”

That’s Good Work for this week. Looking forward to what’s next.

Andy and the Holloway Team

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