Author Archives: Logan Young

About Logan Young

I come from a family of 7. Growing up I had four sisters and I developed a keen insight into a woman's brain (okay not really but I like to pretend). I'm all about sports, movies, books; family, friends and God. I have a heart shaped birth mark, and have never lost a head-stand contest.

Lamps, Genies, and Writer’s Block

One night a man is out walking the streets when his feet stumble on a metal object.  He looks down and see’s a lamp.  The man sheepishly picks up the lamp and rubs it.  Poof!  A genie pop’s out.

Magic-Lamp

“All right!” the man exclaims.  “I get three wishes right?”, “No, no,” the genie replies “you’ve been watching too many movie’s kid.  I’m a genie, not a miracle-worker.  You get one wish”.  “One wish” the man laments, “that’s right, one wish.” The genie says, “So make it good”.

“Alright” the man says, “I think I’ve got it.  I wish there was a bridge from my house in Arizona that went all the way to Hawaii.  That way, anytime I feel like it I can hop in my car and drive to Hawaii.  No airplane’s, no travel expenses, just my own exclusive highway.”  “Are you kidding me?” the genie scoff’s.  “Do you have any clue how much hard work that would be?  Do you realize the materials that would take, how deep I would have to bury the pillars into the ocean floor, how sturdy I would have to make the bridge to withstand the elements?”.  “It’s just too much” he continues, “I’m sorry, think of another wish.”

The man thinks for a while and then again in excitement says “okay, I know what I want my wish to be!”  “Alright, let’s hear it” the genie replies.  “I wish I could understand women” the man says.  The genie looks at him skeptically.  “Yeah, you know, I want to know what makes them tick, what makes them laugh, what they like, what they hate; I just want to know everything there is to know and understand about women.  That’s my wish.”

The genie strokes his chin, thinking.  Finally he replies “so this bridge, did you want it to have two lanes or four?”

(cue laugh track)

So why do I share this joke with you?  A few reasons.  First, I love jokes (I consider myself somewhat of a joke connoisseur).  And more than that, I love jokes that have a bit of a story to them.  One-liner’s are great and all, but I like my jokes to have substance.  Some meat and potatoes on them if you will.

So why else did I share this?  It certainly wasn’t to convey a “be careful what you wish for” message, or to cast light on men’s plight of understanding women.

The reason I shared this joke is because I had writer’s block.  Sitting down tonight I knew I wanted to write a blog post.  And as it is a blog, rather than an essay, a prompt, or some other assignment, I essentially had a blank canvas before me.  Yet I had no clue what I wanted to write about.

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Everyone has suffered writer’s block.  Even the professionals I’m sure, J.K. Rowling, Stephen King, Stephanie Meyer (I’m only joking about  the latter of course).  There have been articles, and I’m sure even books about how to overcome writer’s block, “How to unblock your words for dummies”.  You get the picture.

For me, there has only ever been one way.  I don’t walk around my apartment complex (as my favorite songwriter Rob Thomas would).  I just start writing.  I get the words down.  Whatever comes.  If it sucks, that’s okay.  I’ve found once I start writing I will eventually find a rhythm.  And tonight was no different.  I thought I should tell the genie joke, not knowing how I would connect it.  I followed my instincts and wha-la here I am, another successful blog post to show for.

(Cue cordial applause)

So next time you find yourself spinning your wheels, simply spew out whatever comes.  And don’t be surprised when your writing picks up traction a few minutes later.  Who know’s, it might just turn out to be the greatest piece you’ve ever written.

Front-runners vs. Underdogs

Last night was the College Championship Game between Alabama and Clemson.  BYU didn’t make the playoffs so as I fan I was sitting on neutral ground.  But between you and me I found myself rooting for Clemson.  If only for the sake of tiring from Alabama.  I mean it feels like they win the dang thing every year!  I’m sure many of you felt the same.

Alabama is undoubtedly well coached and a classy organization from top to bottom.  But they are a program of front runners.  Because of their reputation and recent success they have a strong advantage over most other universities, including Clemson’s, in their recruiting.  Alabama had 43 former High School Under Armour All American’s on its roster last night; Clemson had 8.

Although Clemson was the higher seed, you could very well make the case they had no business winning that game.  And of course, the results are in, they lost 45-40.  But what about all the countless other underdogs of the world?  Do they have a chance at success?

Many of our cultures famous figures have notedly been underdogs.  You’ve heard the stories.  Michael Jordan was cut from his sophomore basketball team.  Albert Einstein dropped out of school at 15, and later flunked his entrance exams for a polytechnic school in Zurich.  Thomas Edison famously highlighted his discouragements by saying “I have not failed.  I’ve just found 10,000 ways that won’t work”.

One of my personal favorite tales is of Reggie Miller.  He was born with hip deformities.  When he was five doctors told his mother he would likely never be able to walk normally.  He overcame those odds and went on to become one of the all time great shooters and competitive players in the NBA.

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So what about the rest of us?  Are these stories of meekness turned to greatness applicable in our lives or only outliers?  Now I’m not going to sit here and feed you some line about “follow your dreams, and anything is possible” etc. etc. lest I lose my credibility.

I will say this; in my own experience I’ve come to emphasize with Mr. Edison’s words.  There is something to be said about having the determination to pursue your ambition even when your first, second, fifth, twelfth, and thirtieth attempts are unsuccessful.

I attend BYU.  They boast having the best advertising program of any undergrad school in the nation.  It is only partial enrollment.  The first time I applied, I was not accepted.  I did get in the second time.  Next I wanted to apply for the creative track to be a copywriter.  I worked hard, prepared well, and knew the professors.  I applied but was not accepted.  I re-committed myself, continued to develop my craft and applied a second time.  Again I was not accepted.  Since that time I have had two paid jobs copywriting for ads that have been published in a number of different mediums.

I believe there is no learning without failure, at least not for me in my life.  I’m not afraid of failing anymore.  I don’t view my defeats as failures, but opportunities.  Not getting accepted has pushed and motivated me to work harder at my craft and inspired me overall to grow as a person.

Failure is part of life, but don’t let it derail you from your journey.  Enjoy the journey, failures, successes, side-excursions and all.  Whether you aim to write a novel, or a blog; paint a portrait or a sketch; or dare I say to make a positive change in the world.  Pursue it, make an effort, always keep trying.

Personally I’ll never consider myself a front runner.  Not in advertising, garage bands, or on the basketball court.  But I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Pursue Vulnerability

There is a somewhat common, and somewhat cruel practice often found in writing.  Author’s of novels, movies, and even advertisements use this tactic.  First, take the main character of your story, next think of the worst possible thing you can do to him/her.  And then finally, do it.  This was recently done in The Revenant, starring Leonardo DiCaprio.  It isn’t a new practice though.  Wuthering Heights, Star Wars Episode 3, Gladiator, The Truman Show, etc. all employ this style of story telling.  Even advertisements have dabbled with this strategy.  I think we will all remember the Superbowl spot Bud Light produced 2 years ago where a rancher loses his puppy.

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This ad put both the dog and the owner through the refiner’s fire.  People loved it!  We love these narratives, we eat them up!  But why?  Is it because humans are pessimistic, sadistic or revel in others misfortunes?  Quite the opposite.

I suppose there are many reasons people enjoy these kind of stories.  It is encouraging to watch someone overcome obstacles on their way to success, after all everyone loves an underdog.  But I believe more than this, we are attracted to vulnerability.

In all of our day to day encounter’s people put up a front.  Ask someone who is suffering how they are, and they will respond “fine”.  It is rare to find vulnerability.  So when we see the layers of someones life peeled back to reveal the raw, human emotion and vulnerability underneath, we are instinctively pulled in.  People relate to vulnerability, and for writers it is important to learn how to incorporate vulnerability into your writing.

So want to make your story’s more compelling?  Wether you’re writing a novel, a blog post, an ad, telling a joke, or a personal story on a first date there is a sure way to do this.  Pursue vulnerability.

Hook, Hook, Hook, Jab!

In his book “Jab, Jab, Jab, Right Hook” Gary Vaynerchuk teaches an effective concept for businesses to practice in their social media strategy and content marketing.  The basic premise is simple.  People don’t enjoy constantly being sold to, if at all.  So produce interesting or compelling content as your “jabs” then occasionally put in a plug for your business (i.e. your right hook)!  This way you will not annoy your followers or turn people off to your brand (for more info on how to do it right, follow Old Spice).

While Vaynerchuk’s philosophy makes sense fundamentally, this is a problem for me.

Scrawny

You see that scrawny kid right there?  Yep, you guessed it.  That was me 8 years ago.  I’m 25 now, but not much has changed.  I’m still a 5.7, scrawny, buck-twenty-five guy.  I’m a scrapper.

I don’t have the power of tyson, and while my ego’s not to be under-estimated, it of course pales to Mayweather’s, but I got the fury of Manny Pacquiao in me!  I always go all out.  So naturally I’ve re-written my own philosophy for my personal content and branding; hook, hook, hook, jab.

I’m a communications student and an advertising fanboy.  I detest what I believe is shameful advertising (e.g. Carls Jr.) While I applaud creative, innovative and fun advertising (i.e. Old Spice, Arby’s, Under Armour, Got Milk, etc.).  I’ll regularly post about great ad campaigns, agencies, trends in the communication world, and other ad niches like copywriting.  But, love advertising as I do, I need a break from it occasionally.

In my free time I’m very passionate of my hobbies.  I’m a sports fanatic (particularly the NBA, NFL, and golf).  I’m a movie buff and, (I won’t say an avid reader), but I usually have a few books I’m working on at any given time.  I’ll post about all of these occasionally as well.

If you ever have any comments, questions, feedback, etc. please reach out to me.  You can also follow me on Facebook and Twitter.  Until next time, stay classy.