Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Writing Wisdom–Mark Victor Hansen

I spend a great deal of time involved with writing. Sometimes as an author, others as a reader, occasionally as a teacher to adult writers, often as a teacher of student writers. You’d think I should already know everything there is about being a writer, but I still like to learn from others who have themselves had successful writing careers. Each year I attend writer’s conferences both as a speaker and as a student. Regularly I listen to conference calls or teleseminars about being a best-selling author. Because I know that one of the best ways to internalize the things we hear is to teach them to someone else, I thought I might use my Tuesday blogs to share some of the important lessons I’ve learned about writing and publishing with you, my readers. That way perhaps we can both benefit from thinking about the things I’ve heard. Hopefully, you’ll find something in these messages that sparks an idea that gets your career going, author or not, into a path of success you never dreamed about before. And as for me, I hope reviewing the things I’ve learned will add to my motivation to complete the hundreds of projects I have on my list of things to write. Here’s to a great start for all of us!

Today I’m going to write about the Wealthy Writer’s Seminar I listened to today by Mark Victor Hansen (Chicken Soup). Mark has written 305 bestsellers, many of which are multi-authored books. His books have regularly made the New York Times lists, taken him around the world, and given him voice in a variety of venues. I’ve read books co-authored by Mark before, but even with that previous experience, I learned some new things from him during this teleseminar.

Mark describes himself as a book addict. He can’t go into a bookstore without leaving the store with several new purchases. (Boy, do I understand that idea.) His favorite types of books to read are biographies where he can learn about the lives of other successful people. Among those people he most admires is his long-time friend and mentor Buckminster Fuller who once said, “A book is your baby and will outlive you.” Look at your own bookshelf. How many books do you find there that were written by authors who are dead? I guess we’d have to say he is right.

Mark tells us that we should set 101 goals, making a list of book titles we intend to write. We should astonish ourselves by writing too many titles, pre-selling them, then get busy and write. Books do not have to be long to be books, and with today’s electronic age, we should rethink the way we look at writing, promoting, and learn to market to the world instead of just our own backyard.

George Lucas once told him, “Don’t write anything that you can’t sequel or prequel.” When you think about it, Lucas has followed his own advice to the tune of millions of dollars, sometimes without writing a word of it himself. Every time another author uses his Star Wars or Indiana Jones characters in a book, comic, TV series episode, or feature film, Lucas makes money. Branding is the key to marketing success.

Another superstar of branding that Mark quotes is Oprah Winfrey. He tells the story that Oprah writes in her journal every day, not only to record what she is doing, but to express her feelings and to find out more about herself. In addition, Oprah reads two books a week, which gives her even more to write and talk about. The things she writes in her journal often become the basis for the “What I Know” column in her own O Magazine.

A magazine that is targeted to women–who Mark Victor Hansen says comprise 88% of the book and magazine buying audience. If you want to sell lots of books, that’s the audience you need to also target, but he emphasizes you’ve got to be original. A book is a business, and your purpose is to bring the audience to yourself and your book. He adds, “It takes no more effort to think high, grand thoughts in life than it does to think poverty, so why not set your goals high?”

You have a story to tell, and you are the only one who can create it. A lot of money is sitting out there with your name on it that just needs to be released to flow to you. He tells about comedian, songwriter, musician, author, and television personality Steve Allen who, despite his battle with dyslexia, wrote over 50 books and 14,000 songs. He never experienced what many term writer’s block because he always had around 28 projects in the works at any given time. His philosophy? “How can you have writer’s block on twenty-eight things at the same time? It’s impossible!”

As an author, Hansen says, “You are the wealth of the world. Successful people decide fast and change their minds slow.” Will you decide today to become an author? What changes will you take to catch up to the ever-changing fast-paced publishing world? I know where I’m headed, and I plan to world hard to make it there.

Will I see you at the top?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Been There, Done That—Bruce Willis

My husband is a set medic. For those of you who aren’t familiar with film crew jargon, that means he is on call on film, television, or commercials sets for any medical needs and emergencies. The job sounds glamorous and exciting, but in reality he spends most of his time sitting around, waiting for someone to have a headache, stomachache, or get a splinter that needs to be removed.

Sometimes he has an exciting moment—like the day he resuscitated Hillary Swank’s dog who had electrocuted itself by chomping on a live wire, the time he had to convince Shirley MacLaine that he did understand the concepts of holistic medicine but all she really needed was to be helped up from where she had fallen, or the hours he spent massaging Liza Minelli’s legs to keep them from cramping—but most of the time the days are long and he is far from home.

Back in the days when we were first married, and before we were raising a houseful of boys, I used to travel to be on set with him. And that’s how I happened to see a different side to both Bruce Willis and Nick Nolte from what I ever expected as my husband worked on the set of Breakfast of Champions.

We had a long weekend from school, and I drove to Twin Falls, Idaho, to meet up with my husband for a few days together. After wrap the first evening, we just chilled at the hotel, enjoying the hot tub and talking about our week. The next two days, he didn’t have to work, but that’s where the real fun began.

On Saturday night, Bruce Willis was hosting a wrap party—something that usually happens before the filming is done, despite the fact it is meant to celebrate the end of the shoot. The location: The Mint Bar in Hailey, Idaho, one of his own business interests.

I had been to wrap parties before, ones that were hosted by either the LDS Motion Picture Studio, other LDS producers, or a bevy of Osmonds, which meant that this party was already going to different—it was at a bar and the L.A. based crew was going to be drinking. Call that the understatement of the year—they were soused by the time we arrived, not too long after the scheduled time for the party.

The place was packed and it was hard for Mike and me to walk around together, despite the fact he was holding my hand for dear life. I knew he needed to go around and chat with these people since they were the ones he was working with, so he sort of “parked” me at a back table, got me an un-spiked soft drink of some kind, then left me there alone to enjoy the music.

Also provided by Bruce Willis—himself. Seriously! He was playing the piano and singing away—if you can call either activity that—somewhere across the room. It wasn’t especially great entertainment, but what can you say. The guy was footing the bill for much of the shindig, so I guess he’s allowed to indulge himself however he would like.

I spent quite a bit of my time looking around the room, trying to scope out if his then-wife, Demi Moore, was anywhere to be seen, but when Mike returned to rescue me, he told me the couple was already experiencing conflict and there was no way she would be there. Somewhat disappointed, but not surprised, I enjoyed a few more minutes just watching the people, catching a glimpse or two of Lukas Haas, and generally being amazed by the drunken state some of the crew had managed to get themselves into.

The next morning we drove around downtown back in Twin Falls, looking for a place to grab some breakfast. That’s when we happened to see Nick Nolte walking down the street, holding a cup of coffee, and dressed in his pajamas, robe, and slippers. He was muttering script lines—something my husband told me the actor often did in the mornings dressed in this very same way. We stopped by him long enough for my husband to call, “Mr. Nolte, do you need a ride?” Nick said “No,” waving us off with his coffee cup—the same thing Mike said he did every day. I guess Nolte is living proof that actors can sometimes be eccentric.

And sometimes that’s the very reason my husband, or other set medics, are hired. Somebody has to be there to deal with the crazies. And you thought actors and actresses were normal people, just like you and me.

Press Release: Coincidence or Purpose: It's All in Your Mind

A thought comes into your mind. You don't know where it originated, but you feel compelled to act upon it. Sometimes you do, and interesting experiences or opportunities come into your life. Sometimes you don't, and you sit back and reflect later about how life might have been different if you had only. . .

Psychic and mentalist Jim Karol believes "everything happens for a reason." Our brains have more capability than we could ever imagine, including the power to show us where we should be and what we can become. "No matter what you want to become in this life, you can do it," Karol says in Psychic Madman, his newest book with co-author Lu Ann Brobst Staheli. "You don't need a special gift if you only discover how to interpret the messages that are already given to you—those bits of inspiration that come into your heart and mind."

Everyone experiences this insight, even if they seem to be of little importance at first. Check the door to make sure it's locked, set the timer before settling down to watch a video in bed, or using the car's parking brake when on a hill may all seem like trivial thoughts that pass through our minds. But what if we didn't follow those prompts of inspiration? Someone breaks into the house, you wake in the middle of the night disoriented by the blank television screen, or the car rolls down the hill, becoming one of those examples in an insurance commercial.

Perhaps your flashes of thought are of more significance. Call Mom, apply for a new job, or write a press release. The positives might be an important moment of time with your Mom, a great new job, or increased sales for your business. If you fail to follow that inspiration, it could be that nothing happens and you wonder why you considered acting at all, or it could turn out to be the last time you spoke to your mother alive, you are let go from your job without any new possibilities, or your company experiences a dip in revenue.

Granted, not every random thought that comes to mind is the key to a successful and abundant future, but you never know. Acting upon them certainly can bring about change in our lives. But what if you still don't believe your psychic moments are anything more than crazy thinking? Perhaps the only way to find out for sure is to test them. Start with something small—call this person today—and see where the results can take you. Karol encourages readers to "Become aware, stay positive and learn to use them."

Maybe these flashes of direction or insight are more powerful than you ever imagined. Perhaps you too have psychic tendencies. "It's possible you have been experiencing psychic moments without realizing it because you never knew it was possible," Karol adds. "Have there been turning points, little hinges that have swung a different way or a little farther, opening doors you never imagined to opportunities in your life that have made a difference in who you are and who you might yet become? If so, maybe it's time you recognized those gifts and talents, just like I did."

And if you do, you never know what will happen because in reality, everything is possible.

If you'd like to know more about Jim Karol and the way you can change your life by learning to recognize those moments of insight and developing your super mind, read Psychic Madman, available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Sourced Media Books, JimKarol.com or LuAnnBrobstStaheli.com.

(ArticlesBase SC #2811436)