Monday, February 11, 2013

How to be Successful in Two Easy Steps

How to be successful in two easy steps.
1.      Work hard
2.      Be kind
Work hard. Make a plan. Work the plan. Make the plan the work. Commit to it for a specific time. Write down what you did and the results so you can measure if your plan is working. If it’s not, in time, create a new plan. I could talk a lot more about this, but I really want to talk about step 2. It’s the step most often forgotten and probably the most important. Remember the cliché, it’s nice to be important, but it’s more important to be nice? Turns out it’s really true.
A number of months ago I wrote a blog post with 5 writing tips. You can read that here. My first and most important tip was not to fight.

 “This is pretty basic, but it’s important to remember. If you’re like me, the perfect retort to a rude comment isn’t always at my tongue’s tip at the encounter. If you’re fuming and rummaging through your head trying to formulate the perfecting stinging comeback, you won’t be in tune with your story or characters. It’s impossible, for me at least, to feel in sync with my writing if I’m too busy mentally constructing closing arguments. I’m not advocating being a pansy, I’m just saying learn to be a peacemaker. It’ll help you be a better writer (and a nicer person.)”

The truth is the world not only helps those that help themselves, it also helps those who help others.

My friend volunteers on her homeowner’s landscape architectural committee. This means that she sits on a board with other volunteers and makes sure that the slopes and corners in the city look lovely. She has a number of allotted slopes and corners that she’s responsible for and a budget to keep them planted and pruned.

Unfortunately, a woman on the board likes to go behind her back, use her budget and pull her plants. And she’s not only adversarial on the sly—she’s openly hostile at the planning meetings.

And so my friend has a counter attack plan. Every time this woman says anything my friend plans on complimenting her before offering her own input. For example: “You have the most creative ideas—now what about the ivy?” Or, “I can tell you really put a lot of time and thought into the needs of those roses, have you considered geraniums?” You get the picture. It might not work, but it’s a whole lot easier to steal the budget from someone who is throwing you daggers than someone who’s complimenting your creative use of groundcover.

And if that doesn’t work—ask your writer friend to mention the landscape architectural committee control freak in her blog post that will be read hundreds of people, because everyone wants the nice guy to win.

It’s trite but true—you harvest what you plant. And it’s just as easy (probably easier) to plant seeds of kindness as it is plant contention.

And when you lose your temper—you lose.

There’s more than one way to be a loser. In my latest book, Losing Penny—Penny is a loser of a different sort. Cooking show diva, Penny Lee, loses fifty pounds, and gains a stalker. To avoid the attention of her most devoted follower, Penny concocts a plan: while pretending to take a culinary tour, traveling the world, collecting recipes and posting them on her blog, she hides at a remote beach house in Rose Arbor, Washington, where she spends the summer compiling her cookbook.
When English Literature professor Drake Islington is offered the chance to spend the summer at a remote beach house where he can write in peace he happily accepts, never dreaming that he is a pawn in a match making scheme. His encounter with Penny promises a delicious summer, until uninvited guests arrive forcing Penny and Drake to cook up a scheme of their own. When Drake’s mother, a stalker and a donkey named Gertrude join the mix, the town of Rose Arbor sizzles with another tale of romance and suspense.

And so, I’m kindly offering a smashwords coupon to anyone who would like to read and review Losing Penny. If you’re interested, please leave your e-mail address and I’ll send a coupon.

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