This is my last newsletter for a little while.

Maybe next year.

I have a utility closet in my writing room that sits in front of my writing desk behind a pair of opaque colored doors that keep its innards out of eyeshot.

Isn't this behavior so uniquely human? Building cupboards and drawers and closets and basements to keep the ugly behind a neatly painted veil?

Every time someone tells me that they're 'organizing their closet' or 'cleaning out their closet', what I'm hearing is that they're therapizing themselves. 

I think cleaning out your closet is just as much a form of therapy as sitting in front of a therapist.

Cleaning out your closet takes right around an hour, and an hour alone with nothing but your thoughts is more time than most people spend alone with their thoughts in any given year.

So, when you're feeling fucked up, phone your therapist. Or, grab a trash bag and see to your closet. 

Today, I moved the L-shaped couch that sits in front of my writing room's utility closet (in desperate need of cleaning).

Inside, I found a large rectangular picture I had bought at a steep discount from an Urban Outfitters here in Nashville.

It's a black and white photograph of approximately eleven alpacas staring curiously at the camera. 

I unearthed it from my closet and I placed it on the floor, leaning it up beside a wall that holds an old yellow Schwinn Le Tour bicycle. Then, I just left it there. I hope to leave it there for the remainder of my writing career. 

When I purchased the photograph, I had every intention of hanging it somewhere but then I began taking myself too seriously. I'm not sure where this happened. But, it did and I'm sorry that it did. 

I've always thought it to be in good practice for a creative to take his work seriously and himself less so. When this gets flipped, what happens is the creative's work begins to suffer. 

The other day I was on a hike with one of my best friends, Ian Holbrook. He's studying to become a psychologist but he is also a very gifted guitarist and songwriter. Earlier this year, he started posting Tik Tok videos of himself riffing on his guitar. When I watch him play, I'm blown away at how much he has improved over the past year with this simple daily practice. 

On our hike, he asked me an interesting question... 

"I feel like I'm a good enough guitarist and a good enough songwriter but I'm worried I don't have anything to say. How do you know if you have something to say?"

What I told him, in not so many words, is that you shouldn't worry about whether or not you have something to say, as long as you're saying exactly what you mean without holding anything back. 

The writers that are holding back are the writers that are taking themselves too seriously. 

I went on to tell him that I've written a lot of poetry about cunnilingus. And, somewhere along the way, I had to let go of the fact that one day, my mother would pick up one of my poetry books and read about her son partaking in cunnilingus. 

And, that while I don't want to spend the rest of my life writing poetry about cunnilingus, there was a period in my life, in my early twenties, where this was my truth and I'm very proud of my past self for speaking this truth without holding back.

If you want to be a good writer, if you want to be a writer that has something to say, you can't be afraid to write your truths, even if these truths are going to hurt some people around you. 

Good writers hurt their friends from time to time, this is the cost of doing business, this is the cost of writing truths. 

This year, somewhere along the way, I stopped writing my truths because I started taking myself too seriously.

(Again, I can't remember where this seriousness began but if I were a betting man, I'd wager it was somewhere around the time I ended up in the tabloids.)

However, today when I stepped into my utility closet and looked down at the dust-covered picture, I realized it would be awfully hard to take myself too seriously if I had a photograph of eleven alpacas in my writing room.

It'd be writing to an audience that doesn't give a shit about me or anything I write...

So, what is there to lose? 

All that to say, I'm going to go MIA for a little while. I'm going to read and, of course, write. I'm going to run. I'm going to listen to some music. I'm going to, hopefully, write some poetry that makes me wince before I hit "send". And, when I return in the new year, I'm going to return with a different approach to all of this.

While there is still more reflection to be had, here's where I'm at as of now...

I think it's time I stop writing so much about other writers and I start becoming one of those writers I'm writing about. 

2022 will be the year I'm playing it big, bigger than I ever have before, and that might just mean stepping away from advertising for good. 

We'll see. 

By Cole Schafer.

P.S. If you need some writing while I'm away, please follow my dear friend Ian Holbrook on Tik Tok

It gets the people going.
This week on Twitter.
Genius Lyrics...

"Schafer, battling with a bit of melancholy on what appears to be a Wednesday afternoon around 1:34 p.m. Central, silently explores the relationship between short-term pleasure and long-term pain."

Cole (but bite-size).
Hopefully, this shit is still here when I come back next year. 

If grandma slipped a little extra dough in your coat pocket this year and you'd like to blow it all on some good, certified-organic, keto-friendly, vegan, gluten-free, zero-carb goodies, here's what I currently got in stock over at Honey Copy... 

* Snow Cones (my copywriting guide). 

* $100k (my freelancing guide). 

* Don Draper (my cold-emailing guide). 

* One Minute, Please? (my first book of poetry).

* After Her (my second book of poetry).

* Chasing Hemingway (my paid newsletter). 

Or, just buy me a Moscow Mule.
Here's to you, Joan Didion.

Griffin Dunne is enamored with his aunt, a writer you’ve very likely heard of, Joan Didion. So much so, that he started a crowdfunding campaign a good while back to make a documentary about her, her work and her life which has had more than its fair share of trauma.

The campaign was a success, going on to raise $200,000, and later being picked up by Netflix. One evening, I happened upon this gem and for the next hour and a half, I found myself entranced, falling in love with this writer and cultural icon.

I won’t attempt to recite all the details of the documentary here. But, there was a story that I thought was peculiar and hilarious and lovely. It was about how Didion would cope with writer’s block.

When Didion found herself feeling stuck, she would do the exact opposite of what most writers do. Instead of hammering away at the page, she would place her manuscript in a Ziplock, seal it, stick it in the freezer and then step away.

It’s a bit absurd and dramatic. But, at the same time, a beautiful metaphor for life… If something isn’t working, stop working, put it on ice and walk away for a little while.

Stop slouching.

P.P.P.S. Once again, if something I ever write resonates with you, please share it via the icons down below and encourage others to subscribe here

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