The Writer Runs This Show

We have the technology.

We have the business skills.

We have virtual ink by the barrel.

The writer runs this show.

We’re the ones who command the attention.

We’re the ones who create the engagement.

We’re the ones who influence what people think and do.

The writer runs this show.

We won’t toil in obscurity waiting for a green-light.

We won’t submit to “creativity” by committee.

We won’t accept meager pay while others cash in our copyright.

The writer runs this show.

If you won’t read until your eyes blur.

If you won’t write more to write well.

If you won’t invest the blood, sweat, and tears . . .

Then you’ll have to work with real writers.

And pay those writers exceptionally well.

If they have the time, that is.

Because the writer runs this show.

About the Author: Brian Clark is founder of Copyblogger and CEO of Copyblogger Media.

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Reader Comments (72)

  1. says

    Interesting post, Brian. If you’re not willing and able to do the writing, to build the story and to learn the audience’s trigger points then it’s tough to build a business. And if you can’t do it you need to hire a professional to convey your business goals to the outside world. But that “time or money” tradeoff is dangerous because an outsider still needs to have the same mindset and point of view in order to be able to properly represent your company on paper.

    How do you see those risks and rewards playing out?

  2. Merryl Rosenthal says


    Now, put this wonderful post on CD and play it under the pillow of every single businessperson.

    Cheers. :)

  3. says

    Brilliant. Motivating.

    Not only is this on its way to FB and Twitter, I’m printing it off and leaving it around the house for my other half to notice as well 😉

  4. says

    Nice manifesto! Very inspirational. It reminds me of the Harlan Ellison “Pay the Writer” video that’s been flitting around the Intertubes lately. “Just pay the damn writer!”

  5. Melissa Rohwedder says

    Thanks for this. I passed it…in paper form…to the other writers at my company. Color me empowered. Great post.

  6. says

    Wow! Wow!!
    This is very encouraging for young writers like me. I am not giving up! And just like Lucy, I am printing it out. A good motivation for me to keep writing.


  7. says

    Hey, a poem! :)

    And a fun one too! Well, not the point of it obviously, but imagine reading that aloud and stressing the first word in every line… ha! Fun :)

    This would make a great motivational speach :) All the writers would be jumping and shouting “Hell YEAH!” The crowd would be buzzing as people repeated each line to themselves and then the whole bunch would chant “The writer runs th… Okay I’m getting carried away.

    Good post.


  8. says

    Shane, more like the “going forward” story than any back story.

    Jon and Thorey, I wouldn’t call this a poem (especially with people like McGuinness and Robert Bruce around). Let’s go with manifesto. 😉

    All, thanks for the nice comments… I hope everyone is charged up to do some writing today.

  9. Michelle says

    I read this post (and all the comments). Then I watched the Harlan Ellison video. And now I’m doing my monthly billing.

    Honestly, I owe you all a drink.


  10. says

    Love it. Tweeted & shared so my writer friends can enjoy as well. So appropriate for the Friday before the 4th of July.

    Made me want to say, “Damn straight!” raise a glass of Jameson’s to toast kickass writers and then, after my courage has been jumpstarted by the liquor, kick the asses of the folks who undervalue them.

  11. says

    yep, i’m living proof of that because a week ago i’m put out an online book about corruption that buried my life in 1998 (involving a woman currently running for California Atty General) and it’s the turning into a writer that saved my sanity…you don’t know how true what you wrote is for me & mine !

  12. says

    Awesome piece Brian.

    I’ve been tossing this concept, “writers run the show”, around for last few days. Seriously, if you can write, you can dominate just about anywhere, not just the internet.

    The timing of this was perfect for me. Seeing this from a guy I respect will give me the confidence to know I’m moving in the right direction.

    Thanks man!

  13. says

    Just what I needed to hear today. Been thinking a lot about the autonomy of writers. And how slapping on business capacity leads to revolution.

    Starting up my newsletter felt like a big accomplishment, but I can’t help but think about other ways I could better structure, pitch, name, and time it! The more I write, the more I have to learn. I better get back to more reading and writing…

    Thanks for the inspiration Brian!

  14. says

    Good now can you tell people that having a computer doesn’t make you a writer. There are writers and there are writers and only one kind can run the show.

  15. says

    Thanks Brian… that was a great way to finish up the week. I think that there needs to be more value put on writers these days. People are forced to give their services away in order to compete, but in the end, the one that converts gets all the gold.

    -Joshua Black
    The Underdog Millionaire

  16. says

    @Joshua Black I think that applies to all ‘creative’ jobs. People argue us down on price but would never do that to their plumber or lawyer.

    There is a perception that we do it for love. Which of course we do:)

  17. says

    @Joshua @Lena @Sonia

    We may do it for love, but we also do it to make a living.

    The challenge with what we do is that it’s so intangible to most people. They don’t understand what goes into the work, they only see a few words on the page and can’t equate the value in their minds. Plus, as you said Lena, too many people think they can write just because they have a word processor. You wouldn’t attempt brain surgery just because you have a scalpel, or legal defense just because you know where the courthouse is, but people don’t seem to have that same inhibition when it comes to writing.

  18. says

    @Jamie, Joshua, Sonia

    Absolutely. They don’t understand what goes into the work, hence the number of people who think any old English grad can write commercially. I have over ten years in blue chip ad agencies and another dozen or more working for serious names in all media. In a contracting economy all marketing type people are the ones squeezed first. Yet they pay a useless management consultant a fortune to say execrable things like “In this ever changing world the only constant is change itself” and nod.

    I think they don’t understand that there is writing and then there is seriously effective commercial writing where every word has a purpose.

  19. says

    G’Day Brian,
    I don’t usually dig blank verse,,,,,first time for everything! Y’know, I’ve been a published author for over 50 years. That doesn’t mean I’m good. I just started young.

    I’ve even had a go at writing The Great Australian Novel. But it got bored with me long before I got bored with it. I still have one client who pays me to write his customer newsletter four times a year. Not quite Peter Carey but….

    I’ve written a couple of business books and innumerable articles, course notes, self instructional texts, eBooks and all that commercial sort of stuff. At various times, I’ve had regular columns in business magazines.

    Fact is, I write for a living. Nothing fancy, nothing Booker, nothing Pulitzer. But if people don’t like what I write, I don’t eat.

    I regard all writing as “creative,” especially if it’s lucid and cogent.

    What I’ve never been able to understand is why so many writers and would be writers take themselves so seriously. After all, It’s like any other endeavour. You do it as well as you possibly can for the audience that you’re aiming it at. It’s just like plumbing and housepainting.

    Be serious about your writing by all means. But don’t beat up on yourself. That’s all.

    and make sure you have fun.



  20. says

    Love it. All the world’s a stage, and the writer runs the show. The idea, its creation and implementation is in the words. The writer runs the show!!

  21. says

    I got chills (they’re multiplyin’) when I read this. Really. The first thing that caught my attention – no photo. Huh! This has got to be something different from Copyblogger today. And it was. Bravo.

  22. says

    very interesting indeed. Hmmm…. I think I am already spending time, sweat, blood etc in blogging.:) Thanks for inspiring us Brian!!!

  23. says

    @sonia, not sure there’s a difference. But who knew Brian was a (fellow) poet?

    Curious how this appeared as I’m starting an outline for a CB-inspired piece on… writing. My plan for the piece: shamelessly imitate CB style. My natural style is somewhat different; time to expand my repertoire.

  24. says

    A sing-song refreshment!

    As you know, Brian, us writers really had to earn this coveted position. It was those designers and programmers who were running the show in the early days. Grit and patience for the win!

  25. Sally says

    Whoa. I have to comment after coming across this post yesterday.

    It’s been reverbating since then–I recognize myself in your words. Thank you.

  26. says

    Brian, Now I see your quality and creativity and why so many of us would love to get a blog article on your site
    I offer 180+ blog articles for book and blog writers too at my bookcoaching site. Mine are mostly how to articles that help writers run the show! smile.

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