Thursday Thought-Self Help: A Whack on the Side of the Head

Years ago, in my incarnation as a local TV worker bee, I went to a conference for promotion and marketing types. I wasn’t really a promo person, but the TV station’s general manager decided that since I was a writer, I could do the station’s promo. I was also a smoker in those days. I didn’t know anyone at the conference, but struck up conversations with people in the smoking section of the lobby.  Net working with those folks was more valuable than the workshops.

I ended up with my very first laptop as a result of that conference (and when I left the station, I negotiated the laptop as part of my package). And I learned about A Whack on the Side of the Head.

The book isn’t self-help for personal or even profession growth in the traditional sense. There is no advice about how to manage your in box, your email, or delegating to your underlings (of if there is, the rest outweighs the arrogance). Instead, Whack is about learning to look at situations from another angle. Turning problems upside down, sideways, and inside out. Stretching the limitations of your creativity.

I rushed home and ordered the book and the Creative Whack Pack from Amazon.  The Whack Pack, according to my favorite on-line merchant, is going or has gone out of print. It’s a deck of cards using the methods/ideas from the book to assist in choosing a method to deal with your situation. Example: I just drew the SUBSTITUTE card. There is a small blurb, then the question: “What can you substitute?” The purpose is to not only get the reader to think outside the box, but in some cases, destroy the box.

The book is full of gems, such as “Sacred cows make great steaks.” (Richard Nicolosi, businessman), and “All art is a series of recoveries from the first line. The hardest thing to do is put down the first line. But you must.” (Nathan Olivera, artist).

The book is from 1983, so parts of it are dated, especially when it comes to technology, but the premises are sound. And I believe it has been updated and expanded.

 

 

Office Update-July

I have made significant progress in my office reclamation/redo project. I completely cleared out the area in the hall where the printer and all the old RWRs sat.

Next, I tackled one of two bookcases belonging to my husband that reside in my space.

The book case hid behind the door, and was literally crammed to the ceiling.

Cleaning it off took an entire Saturday.  And yes, the shelves are warped. Replacing the bookcase isn’t in the budget right now.

The bookcase now resides in the hall where the old magazines and printer once took up space.  It took the good chunk of a Sunday afternoon to move all the books.

As the bookcase is not only taller, but more solid than the printer stand, it seems as if there is less room in hall, but that’s an optical illusion. The bookcase is actually narrower than the printer stand. It just takes some getting used, especially when coming out of our bedroom.

But it’s done!

Self-Help Review: Why Good Girls Don’t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do

Why Good Girls Don‘t Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do by Kate White is probably the best self-help book I have ever read. And re-read. And studied. Analyzed. Used to get a raise.

It’s an older title–1996. Someone in my local RWA chapter gave a presentation on the book, and I was fascinated. At the time, I was still working in local TV and still on my Big Business Career Track. The book is full of sound advice. Years later, I still offer its wisdom to my husband when he’s perplexed by something at his Day Job.

My copy of the book is dog-eared and bulging with sticky notes. The pages are a rainbow of colored highlights because something new struck me each time I read it.

Yes, the book is geared toward “executive” women, so there’s a lot of “delegate it downward”attitude, but there is also a lot about how to hoist yourself out of the crap pile.

I loved this book so much, I bought the author’s next self-help book and was disappointed. It seemed more about how wonderful she is. When she spoke at an RWA PAN session, I purchased the recording, and while I’ve listened to her speech innumerable times, again I was struck by her almost smug attitude. She should have quit while she was ahead.

Still, the nine “secrets” revealed in the Good Girls book are solid advice. Skimming the pages as I write this inspires me to read the book again: “The secret is to stop trying to do everything and start concentrating only on the essential steps that will allow you to achieve your goal. Anything more is a waste of valuable time and energy.”

Amen.

MJ Monday: MJ’s Motivation-2020 Vision

It’s that time of year again, when people make their New Year’s resolutions. My friends and I continue to set goals for the coming year. How could I not play off the year and call my plan for the next twelve months my 2020 Vision?

Pulling together an action plan for the next year requires thought and reevaluation.  I study my successes from the previous year. I envision what I’d like to accomplish. I re-prioritize my weak spots. I have combined or deleted categories until I now have only four:

  • The Writing Life
  • It’s All About Me
  • Maintenance
  • Miscellaneous

Some things never go away: a monthly date with my husband, regular contact with my elderly parents, server maintenance.

Some things I simply stopped doing this year. Time became a precious commodity, and I was spreading myself too thin.

The Writing Life continues to be my largest category, because there are specific steps that need to be taken. I have definite ideas about what I want. I try to recognize my missteps and take action to correct them.

I have two new biggies for 2020:

  1. I want to transform my office/writing room into my own space. Yes, I have a room. But my husband has bookcases in there, eating wall space where there should be white boards and planning calendars.  Nothing has been painted since we first bought the house several decades ago. I’ve been making lists, then breaking the lists into steps I need to take. I plan to blog about my progress in months where there are five Mondays.
  2. I need to focus on professional development. I’ve already taken steps to implement this. I have taken one on-line class and have registered and paid for a second one starting in January.

Taking stock of my life matters to me. I think it helps me be a better person.

 

 

MJ Monday: MJ’s Motivation: Happy 100’s Update

Only eight days remain in the current Happy 100s Writing Challenge. We write 100 words a day for 100 days. I’m still hanging tough. I haven’t missed a day of 100 words since November 30, 2018. That’s new manuscript words. It doesn’t include blogs or revisions or rewrites. Simply 100 brand new manuscript words each and every day.

I took my small laptop with me when I went to my film festival. Another participant has something on her phone that allows her to get in her 100 words. Another participant claims it’s only 15 minutes. Some days that is true. Other days, not so much. But words are being written, the mind is immersed in the story at least a little bit every day.

That’s what counts.