Wouldn't it be great to be enchanting?
Enchanting people find it easier to attract others, to schmooze.
And, of course, if you'd like folks to notice you, to read your book, your short story, your anthology, being enchanting helps.
(Perhaps that sounds predatory, but I don't mean it to be. Being enchanting would be lovely in and of itself.)
Sadly, I'm part of the less-than-enchanting crowd. So are most writers I've met. Perhaps it comes with the territory. Anyone who writes several hours a day about worlds conjured from their imagination can be forgiven if they emerge from their writer's cave with all the charm of a starving bear.
At least, that's what I tell myself.
Except I know it's not true. I found Robert J. Sawyer enchanting. Mesmerizing even. Not only is he one of the better known science fiction writers alive today, not only has he been engaged in many side projects, not only does he regularly take time out of what has to be an insanely busy schedule to teach other writers, he comes across as a genuinely nice, funny, absurdly intelligent, person.
Is there any hope for the rest of us less socially gifted writers?
Fortunately there seems to be. I just read a great blog post by Penelope Trunk: How To Be Enchanting. She says that people who are enchanting do 4 things:
1. Say yes.
Opportunities to enchant happen all the time.
- a retail transaction
- a high-level corporate negotiation
- a Facebook update
Perhaps even ... a blog post? (grin)
But that doesn't answer the question: Why say "yes"? After all, saying yes involves us in more work, more time spent, and we have precious little of that.
Here's Penelope Trunk's answer:
“A yes buys time, enables you to see more options and builds rapport,” is what Guy writes. “By contrast, a no response stops everything. There’s no place to go, nothing to build on and no further options are available. You will never know what may have come out of a relationship if you don’t let it begin.”Though if you say yes it's a good idea to follow through.
2. Be passionate.
Penelope Trunk writes:
I was coaching this guy, Jonathan Mann, and the first thing I learned about him is that he has written a song a day for 1500 days in a row and they’re all on YouTube. That is immediately enchanting because determination and commitment are enchanting.I agree! Passionate people do find it easier to connect with each other because of a shared way-of-being. Even if we aren't familiar with what the other person is passionate about we connect with their drive, their commitment, their fire.
People want to be close to passion because passion is contagious. Also, when you are passionate about something you can find an immediate connection to other passionate people, because commitment to a cause and the drive to get there are scary to own, so people who are doing it feel an immediate bond.
For me, one such person is the singer/songwriter for The Land of Deborah. The Land of Deborah is more than a band, it's a way-of-being, an approach to life. Just being around Deb makes me feel re-energized creatively.
Penelope's blog post doesn't stop there, she goes on to discuss two more traits of the enchanting and they're well worth reading. Penelope's post is wonderful, and as always I love her quirky links.
Penelope left her readers with a song she loved, so I thought I'd do the same. Here are four songs by The Land of Deborah; they're free! My favorite is Should've Stayed In Bed. Enjoy!
Other articles you might like:- The New Yorker Rejects Its Own Story: What Slush Pile Rejections Really Mean
- Writing And The Fear Of Judgement
- The Rules Of Romantic Comedy
Photo credit: "* * *" by aussiegall under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.