Sunday, August 03, 2008

An Artist Empowered: you can't outsource your soul work

Eden Maxwell

Many artists and writers have told me that they resonate with this excerpt from my latest book, An Artist Empowered:

Although the account described below is about writing, the point is vividly relevant for all creators. While reading about the travails of other artists, and how they overcame difficulties in their life quests is certainly inspirational, it is still, at the very best, secondhand information, which is exactly what it sounds like.

“In 1969, Steps, a novel, by Jerzy Kosinski, won the National Book Award. Six years later a freelance writer named Chuck Ross, to test the old theory that a novel by an unknown writer doesn’t have a chance, typed the first twenty-one pages of Steps and sent them out to four publishers as the work of ‘Erik Demos’. All four rejected the manuscript. Two years after that he typed out the whole book and sent it, again credited to Erik Demos, to more publishers, including the original publisher of the Kosinski book, Random House. Again, all rejected it with unhelpful comments—Random House used a form letter. Altogether, fourteen publishers (and thirteen literary agents) failed to recognize a book that had already been published and had won an important prize.”

—from Pushcart’s Complete Rotten Reviews & Rejections

Painter, writer, and kiteflier of some note, Eden Maxwell grew up on the mean streets of the inner city and fought his way out of the projects to find his walking shoes. He has contributed to many publications--from Popular Science to the Encyclopedia Britannica, and his art is in private collection here and abroad. Eden's the bestselling author of Kiteworks and The Magnificent Book of Kites, Sterling Publishing; he's also ghostwritten books for HarperCollins and Kensington publishers.

Eden blogs regularly about purpose, meaning, and persevering as an artist on his website--where you can also find out more about his exciting new book An Artist Empowered: Define and Establish Your Value as an Artist—Now (2008), you may email him at

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