Electric Speed: resources for creative people

[Electric Speed] Don’t look at the peak | Chocolate!

Published 4 months ago • 6 min read

Electric Speed is a biweekly newsletter that shares resources for creative people (since 2009!), brought to you by Jane Friedman. Sign up here.

A note from Jane

Process, not outcome.

I am forever looking for new ways to express this sentiment, to help creative people retain their focus and reduce anxiety. If you’re only interested in the outcome and hate the process, that’s quite problematic for a writing career.

I recently stumbled on an interview that expresses this beautifully, with the late Japanese filmmaker Akira Kurosawa. Here’s what he said.

“When you go mountain climbing, the first thing you’re told is not to look at the peak but to keep your eyes on the ground as you climb. You just keep climbing patiently one step at a time. If you keep looking at the top, you’ll get frustrated. I think writing is similar. You need to get used to the task of writing. You must make an effort to learn to regard it not as something painful but as routine. But most people tend to give up halfway.”

Watch the full interview clip.


P.S. Most popular blog post this month: Thriller and Mystery Twists That Work

Bob Eckstein


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Jane’s Electric Speed List

Here are some of the latest things I’ve discovered. (I am not paid to mention any of these resources; there are no affiliate links.)

Do you have an LLC? There’s a new federal filing requirement known as BOI.

This was not on my radar at all until a reader asked me about it. In January 2021, the Corporate Transparency Act (CTA) was enacted by Congress, which requires business entities to file a beneficial ownership information (BOI) report with the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network within the US Department of the Treasury.

The CTA went into effect on Jan. 1, 2024. If you have an LLC, you have one year to file your BOI. There is no fee to file, but you may be fined if you don’t file on time.

If you’re thinking, “Surely this does not apply to my little LLC,” I’m here to tell you that it likely does. Here is an article from The National Law Review that explains the details. Consult with your CPA or business attorney, if needed; your Secretary of State may also offer guidance, as mine (Ohio) does. H/t reader Wendy Sunshine.

A printable single-page calendar

This is the sort of thing my husband loves. Go get it. You might not realize you want one until you see it!

The best show notes I’ve ever seen for a podcast

Last year I read Outlive by Dr. Peter Attia, then signed up for his newsletter to keep tabs on new health studies, since he’s fairly obsessed with reporting on them. He’s also a professional podcaster using a freemium model, but since I am not a podcast listener, I was never tempted to subscribe. However, I was persuaded recently when I realized he has extensive show notes for each podcast—meaning I don’t have to listen to the show at all. I can read the takeaways. It’s glorious. Here’s an example from an episode that is currently free. With the growth of generative AI, I have to wonder how long it will be before these show notes can be generated with little or no labor involved.

Publishers Marketplace now features AI-powered search to help you find an agent

Publishers Marketplace has long been my suggested (paid) resource for researching literary agents. However, it does require combing through the deals database and narrowing your search to specific categories or genres, or keyword phrases, then reading through dozens (or hundreds) of deals. Recently, the site debuted an AI-powered search called “Matcher.” Now you can type in a natural language description of your work to find the right agent based on deals logged in the system. You can try Deal Matcher, which brings up potentially relevant deals (with the agent/editor associated with them) or Agent Matcher, which produces a list of most likely agents for you. As always, keep in mind AI tools can be horribly wrong, plus the feature remains in beta. Still, it could surface results you might otherwise miss, or cut down on your research time.


Feb. 6: Pitch, Publish and Get Paid with Allison K Williams

One of the surest ways to sell your book and build your writing career is by sharing your “big idea” with the world. Publishing a strong, short piece in a major media outlet can get attention from agents and publishers as well as building your own audience—witness how many New York Times Modern Love columns have become books.

This class will teach you how to sell essays and op-eds—both already written and “on spec”—and the key components of a strong editorial pitch. You’ll also learn how to write a reader-centered blog in an hour (really!), tailor your essay to your ideal publishing venue, and construct a powerful, provoking op-ed.

Your turn: chocolate for special occasions 🍫

In the last issue, I asked you to share your favorite purveyor of chocolate for special occasions. The response was enthusiastic; here is a small selection of what you said.

  • For quality, sensory appeal, innovation, and phenomenal flavor, you can’t beat Highland Chocolatier. My once a year treat is the São Tomé truffles. —Grace Burrowes
  • I am a huge fan of Bridgewater Chocolate. The sampler box is a good intro (it was for me!) and I stan their peanut butter cups. —Tiffscribes
  • L.A. Burdick is my go-to for special occasion chocolate gift giving. Not only are they adorable and delicious, but the penguins and mice come in a wooden box with a beautiful ribbon and wax gold seal that elevates the celebration. —Corrine Li
  • Purdys chocolate hedgehogs (an odder form of mouth bliss) are not to be missed by the savvy. And, of course, Cadbury’s chocolate bar—but it has to be direct from Britain, or you’re cheating your tastebuds. —Michael Bowden
  • Favorite gift chocolate: Cacao & Cardamom. Founded and locally owned by a woman who stumbled into chocolate making taking a break after the LSATs. Glad she did. They ship, but the chocolate is delicate, so getting to the recipient is a bit of a trick in summer. —Kelly Turner
  • Garcia Nevett. Two sisters that produce exquisite chocolate boxes, cakes, etc. with the best cacao in the world: Venezuelan. 🇻🇪 like me. —Janine Vici Campbell
  • Donnelly Chocolates, made in-house in Santa Cruz, California, are celestial—your mind and body will sing upon the eating. Even though it was more than 15 years ago my memory is sharp: my girlfriend and I lived on a tiny, food-deprived island in Micronesia, and when someone sent us the chocolate brownie mix from Donnelly’s we nearly cried at the ecstasy. We’ve visited—and delighted—many times since. A bit pricey, but worthy every dollar. —Tom Bentley
  • I used to work in author relations and bought gifts for authors to celebrate their book releases. My go-to chocolates were from Recchiuti and Phillip Ashley. Since then, Mokaya opened in my hometown and turned my foodie friends into artisan chocolate evangelists. —Miranda Gardner
  • Do you know Peace by Chocolate? A Syrian refugee family, now settled in Nova Scotia, has rocked the world of chocolate. After being welcomed into their new home town, they built a chocolate shop and now donate their profits back into the town and towards other charities. Their tagline is “One peace won’t hurt.” Their product is excellent and it is my go-to for gifts. —Martha Grant
  • Leonidas: Many years ago, a friend brought Leonidas back from a trip to Belgium and I fell in love. They used to have a shop in NYC and had been sold at Whole Foods at one point. Now I think you can only order them online. –Jenifer Vogt

Browse the full and glorious list.

Next question: Tell me about a documentary you’ve seen and appreciated that is under-recognized or not well-known. Hit reply to this message, or head over to Discord to share.

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“At electric speed, all forms are pushed to the limits of their potential.”
—Marshall McLuhan

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I report on the publishing industry and help authors understand the business of writing.

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Electric Speed: resources for creative people

by Jane Friedman

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