Snow Leopard: Why Legendary Writers Create A Category Of One

Nicolas Cole
4 min readJul 29, 2022
Snow Leopard: How Legendary Writers Create A Category Of One

Most writers spend their entire lives trying to become “great.”

But what does being a great writer mean?

  • Is it when you go viral, and accumulate over a million views on something you’ve written?
  • Is it when a major publisher gives you a book deal?
  • Is it when a magazine says you’re “talented?”
  • Is it when your parents (and all their friends) applaud your work?

At what point is a great writer, “great?”

Let’s skip to the answer: Great is relative.

The word “Great” implies competition.

In order for you to be “great,” that means someone else has to be “not-great.” Which means the entire goal of becoming “great” is a never-ending cycle of comparing yourself to anyone and everyone around you, and then trying to figure out how you can “out-great” them—until the next person comes along, and who you have to “out-great” changes, and so on.

As ridiculous as this sounds, this is how most writers spend their entire lives & careers.

Comparing themselves to others in search of “greatness.”

Forever stuck in a game of competition.

Legendary writers, the ones who stand the test of time, do none of this.

Who is a better writer: David Ogilvy or Charles Bukowski? Most sales copywriters rush to say the former and don’t even know who the latter is. And most people in the literary world rush to say the latter and don’t even know who the former is.

Who is a better writer: Malcolm Gladwell or James Patterson? Most people rush to say the former, but the latter has sold 1000x more books. So how are we defining “great?”

If you look closely, what you’ll notice is that the most influential writers of all time are impossible to compare. They aren’t “regular leopards” (regular writers, all competing for who is a better novelist, who is a better journalist, who is a better copywriter, etc.). They are Snow Leopards — and they stand alone.

Nicolas Cole

100M+ Views | 5x Author | Co-founder of Ship 30 for 30 | Want to start writing online? Get the Ultimate Guide: