43 Folders

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Merlin’s weekly podcast with Dan Benjamin. We talk about creativity, independence, and making things you love.

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”What’s 43 Folders?”
43Folders.com is Merlin Mann’s website about finding the time and attention to do your best creative work.

Mark Pilgrim, On *Really* Writing

Mark Pilgrim on The Setup

I'm a three-time (soon to be four-time) published author. When aspiring authors learn this, they invariably ask what word processor I use. It doesn't fucking matter!


Picking the right text editor will not make you a better writer. Writing will make you a better writer. Writing, and editing, and publishing, and listening -- really listening -- to what people say about your writing.

As I said in that interview with Seth Godin, most people are taken way aback when they unknowingly receive the advice they really need — rather than the advice that's just fun to listen to. Well, guess what, Fiddly McMaybewriter? Mark's your new coach, so get ready to run some bleachers.

I don't always agree with Mark (oh, brother, don't I), but I've always really admired his candor and fearlessness in speaking his mind about the stuff that really matters to him. In this instance, I double admire him for publicly challenging the crap myths of creativity pr0n that create way more fake barriers than books.

Like Mark said, the art here is to combine a thick skin with open ears and a great filter. Because, the real growth opportunities come from getting outside your own head and hearing what people really think of your work:

Learn how to respond to constructive criticism and filter out the trolls, and you can write the next great American novel in edlin.

Heh — edlin.

Also, do be sure to read Mark's whole UseThis interview (one of which Waferbaby and I are working on for me, as well). It's a great insight into how arriving at a streamlined, bullshit-free setup could make one guy hope to use precisely the same setup for the next 20 years. Super-interesting.


TOPICS: Writing

About Merlin

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Merlin Mann is an independent writer, speaker, and broadcaster. He’s best known for being the guy who created the website you’re reading right now. He lives in San Francisco, does lots of public speaking, and helps make cool things like You Look Nice Today, Back to Work, and Kung Fu Grippe. Also? He’s writing this book, he lives with this face, he suffers from this hair, he answers these questions, and he’s had this life. So far.

Merlin’s favorite thing he’s written in the past few years is an essay entitled, “Cranking.”




An Oblique Strategy:
Honor thy error as a hidden intention


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Merlin used to crank. He’s not cranking any more.

This is an essay about family, priorities, and Shakey’s Pizza, and it’s probably the best thing he’s written. »

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This is the video of Merlin’s keynote at Webstock 2011. The one where he cried. You should watch it. »