Showing posts with label penelope trunk. Show all posts
Showing posts with label penelope trunk. Show all posts

Monday, March 25

4 Ways To Enchant Others

4 Ways To Enchant Others
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.

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.
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.

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.

Friday, January 11

Link Mashup: The Million Follower Fallacy, Showing Not Telling, Goals Not Dreams

Link Mashup: The Million Dollar Fallacy, Showing Not Telling, Goals Not Dreams

I've received some great, fantastic, fabulous news today and, as a result, I have the attention span of a humming-bird at a candy factory. I would love to tell you all about it, but I can't.

It's nothing super big, but it is super big to me. I'll tell you all about it in a few months. :-)

SO, instead of writing anything of my own, I'm going to give you some links to articles I thought were fabulous.

The Million Follower Fallacy

In this post John Ward talks about The Million Follower Fallacy. The short version: It isn't how many followers/friends you have, it's how connected you are to them. Well worth the read.

John also put together a great post about how to build up a community. This is something John Ward knows a lot about so, again, well worth the read.

Finally, here's a post from John Ward and Nathan Lowell about why books bomb.

How To Elicit Emotion With Your Writing

Yesterday I wrote about how to make your readers cry and, today, found this amazing article on the subject written by writer and editor Kim Aippersbach: Writing Emotion: How do great writers do it?

Kim talks about how to elicit emotion through physical sensations, metaphor, gestures, objects, other characters and dialogue. And she includes LOTS of examples. I can't recommend her article, or her book review blog, highly enough.

Penelope Trunk: Don't Be A Dreamer

Penelope Trunk's blog is amazing. Really. She covers a diverse range of topics. Sometimes she'll write about bedbugs--and make it interesting!--sometime she talks about time management, sometimes about writing, and sometimes about the difficulties she's having in her relationship.

Today Penelope blogged about how dreams can be a distraction. The trick is to come up with a plan, to make goals, to achieve your dream.

Penelope writes:
Goals are dreams that have a plan. Goals get done. Dreams don’t get done. 
My son is obsessed with the apocalypse. I’m not really even sure what the apocalypse is. I thought it was peak oil, but increasingly I think that it’s zombies. At any rate, he has joined the ranks of those making extensive preparations. At first I ignored his rants about off-the-grid heating and stockpiling food. But then I thought: learning moment. And I showed him how to use Microsoft Project to turn his dream of survival into a plan.

Now each family member has assignments, and, surprisingly enough, we are doing them. The Farmer just bought a generator, I found Enerhealth’s bucket of food for forty days of survival (it’s organic!),  and my son is investigating Radiant Heating for our floors.
Penelope's links are great too, that's one of the things I love about her articles. Be warned, though! They can be where your free time goes to die.

Well, that's it for today! What are your dreams? How have you translated them into goals for 2013?

Other articles you might like:

- Chuck Wendig On Writing: How He Writes A Novel
- The Starburst Method: The Hero's Journey, Part 1
- 7 Tips On How To Get Your Guest Post Accepted

Photo credit: "Adventure Time And Relative Dimension In Space" by JD Hancock under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0.

Saturday, October 13

Penelope Trunk: Blogging And Branding

It's raining.

I love rain and the gentle patter it makes on window panes. I don't love bundling up and sitting, damp, in my favorite coffee shop sipping overpriced espresso. So this Saturday morning I stayed home, curled up with my iPad, and caught up on reading Penelope Trunk's blog.

Penelope can make anything interesting! One of her posts was about bedbugs and I was fascinated.

I've posted about Penelope's blog before, but today I noticed she has a page devoted to the topic: How to blog. Why hadn't I seen it before? Anyway, as you'd expect, she gives great advice, and I'd encourage you to read it, but what I want to talk about is something Penelope said about branding.

Penelope didn't call it branding, she talked about picking a topic for your blog, but what she said made me think. She writes:
Pick a topic — you can change it when you know what you’re doing.
This is like dating. Pick something that seems good, and if it isn’t, try again. Don’t get hung up on topic. As in dating, you’ll know when you’ve found one that’s the right fit. There are some obvious things, like pick a topic you have a lot to say about, pick something that interests you, pick something that will help your career. This is great advice, but you already know that if you look for a perfect match you’ll never actually go on a date. (The easiest instructions for how to start a blog)
I think this advice applies not just to picking a topic for a blog--making a blog a cooking blog, or a book blog, or a personal finance blog--but also to picking a public face, for building a platform, for branding.

It turns out Penelope has written a post about this: Tips for building your personal brand. If you're in the process of building a community it's worth a read even though it wasn't written specifically for writers.

Other articles you might like:
- 12 Writing Tips: How To Be A Writer
- NaNoWriMo: 5 Tips On How To Get Ready
- 7 Tips On How To Get Your Guest Post Accepted

Photo credit: Amanda Slater

Monday, July 30

Penelope Trunk: How To Win In Life? Trust Yourself

This is a blog post I wish I'd read when I was in my 20s. I wouldn't have changed any of my choices but I would have worried about them less. Penelope writes:
“What should I be doing now?” is a question I get a lot from people in their 20s. The answer is that you should be respecting yourself as you learn about yourself. You should give yourself the space to do anything and then look closely to see what you enjoy. You do not need to get paid for what you enjoy, but you need to find a way to commit to what you enjoy, and then use that as a foundation to grow your adult life.
Read the rest here: Best advice to twentysomethings: trust yourself.

Related reading:
- 50 Shades Of Alice In Wonderland: Another Indie Success Story
- Forget NaNoWriMo: How To Write A Novel In A Weekend
- 8 Ways To Become A Better Writer

Photo credit: RenoTahoe

Sunday, July 8

Penelope Trunk Discusses Time Management

A few months ago a friend sent me the link to Penelope Trunk's blog and I've been reading it ever since. This is easy to do since Penelope only posts every few days. Her articles are long and rambling, but in the best of ways. They are the kind of posts/stories you don't read so much as fall into. She has the knack of making you feel as though she's speaking right to you and, though I don't agree with everything she says--wouldn't that be boring?--I at least find it interesting.

This morning I realized I hadn't checked her blog in a couple if weeks and was pleasantly surprised to find a few new articles. I love it when she writes something relevant to writers, or that is relevant to me, and since I'm a writer, I hope it'll interest others.

One of the Penelope's new articles was on time management (Time management tips that'll work for your life). It's excellent. I think I like it so much because it's filled with what I think of as common sense. For example, she writes:
Tim Ferriss, (who I have complained about in the past) also, provides the fastest, easiest way to lose weight. He’s a time management guru and he’s extended that to weight loss. You don’t have to spend time at the gym. Instead, you can do stuff like eat in extremely restricted ways and binge one day a week. But how do you do this with a family? What do you tell your kids when you’re eating like a crazy person?
- Time management tips that’ll work for your life
The text I just quoted was written about her first point which was: Experiment in ways that won't risk the sanity of the people around you. Too few people say things like that.

As I read this I thought of some of the nutty things writers do. Sure there's the quasi-normal things like staying up all night to meet a deadline and sitting in front of a computer monitor typing away non-stop on a little keyboard for hours each and every day--I mean, students do this all the time. But we do other things, things like trying to write a novel in a month--whether for NANOWRIMO or not (and I don't meant to bash Nano! I think it's terrific.) But many of the things we do routinely could be said to risk the sanity of those around us.

The rest of Penelope's article is good too, and I'd encourage you to read it for her time management advice, although she does say more about what not to do than how to make it all work, but I'm not sure anyone can do that. I did especially enjoy her post about what it's like to have a film crew come and stay for a few days and film a reality TV show (it's called How to choose a new career).

Well, I'm off to get some grist for my writing mill by visiting a local Farmer's Market. Isn't research great?

I hope the weather is gorgeous where you are and that you can get out to enjoy it. Cheers!

Related articles:
- The secret to making a living as a writer: work for free
- Pixar: 22 Ways To Tell A Great Story
- Henry Miller's 11 Writing Commandments
- Penelope Trunk's Blog

Monday, June 4

The Secret To Making A Living As A Writer: Work For Free

Penelope Trunk writes,
High performers work for free. The difference between working for free because you’re a loser and working for free because you’re a high performer is what you get from the deal.

People often ask me how to become a writer. The answer is to write for free. You won’t get paid for years. I wrote for decades before I saw any money from my writing.
- How to decide when to work for free?
I guess this is what you would call a long term plan for writing success. On the other hand, if you've written for years--blogging, journaling, scribbling on the walls, whatever--you can count that as part of your unpaid apprenticeship.

In any case, let's say someone approaches you with a project, it's something you wouldn't mind doing, but you would be expected to work for free. How do you know whether this opportunity would represent a stepping stone or just one more thing to take you away from that novel you swore you'd finish this year?

I'm reminded of Neil Gaiman's recent commencement address where he compared ones goal, whatever it is, to a mountain. He said, and I'm paraphrasing: If you have a choice to make ask yourself, If I do this, will it take me farther toward, or farther away from, the mountain?

Simple, huh?

What follows is an unholy mashup of Neil Gaiman and Penelope Trunk. Here are guidelines on how to tell whether working for free would take you farther toward, or farther away from, your mountain.

1. Is the path to your mountain jammed with other people or is it an empty thoroughfare?

The more crowded the path, the more attractive free work becomes because it allows you to build your resume.  Penelope writes:
But you know how you can tell when it’s a job no one else wants? It’s really easy to get. If you are having trouble doing the work you want to do then it’s a pretty good bet that it’s not easy work to get.
- How to decide when to work for free?
If it's not easy work to get then working for free can help you fly about the crowds as you work you way closer to your mountain.

2. This job will get you closer to your mountain, but will you starve along the way?

Do your research. Make sure the path you are on really does lead to your mountain and not into a quagmire.

If you're a photographer, taking free pictures for Penelope Trunk's blog makes sense. It's read by thousands of people, potential customers, who will see your work. It's great advertising.

On the other hand, taking pictures for Jane Doe's blog who has 1 subscriber, someone who is currently lost in the subarctic, doesn't make a lot of sense.

3. Will this job help you establish contacts with other people who are heading in the same direction you are?

Everyone is the hero of their own journey and every hero needs a mentor. If working for free will help you meet people you can learn from, perhaps people who would be valuable business contacts for the rest of your professional life, then what are you waiting for?

4. Is the mountain your mountain?

Sometimes we think our goals are the ones we chose when they're really the ones our parents picked out for us, or our society wanted us to have. Perhaps we got swept along a certain path without actively choosing it for ourselves.

Say you want to go into business for yourself. Taking a free internship that will allow you to observe business leaders in action, that will allow you to learn about various aspects of an actual business first hand, could be great experience. Not only if you keep entrepreneurship as your goal, but perhaps as a test to see if going into business for yourself really is your mountain.

Best of luck on your journey toward your mountain.

Other articles you might like:
- Penelope Trunk Discusses Time Management
- Pixar: 22 Ways To Tell A Great Story
- Kristen Lamb: Don't Let Trolls Make You Crazy