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Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Secret Formula to Success

Last week I started a running class. To distract myself from my heavy breathing (imagine a beached wheel gasping desperately for breath)and pounding heart (think war drums being beaten at a frenzied pace) I eavesdropped on the conversations of my fellow classmates.

I was amused by the way one woman was grilling the instructor. She asked him a dozen questions about how he'd become a runner and lost a significant amount of weight. How long had it taken many miles did he run each week...what were his diet secrets...etc. etc.

What she really wanted to know was, "What's the secret formula to success?"

I think most of us would like to know the secret forumula for succeeding at something in our lives, whether it's writing a novel, losing weight, being a better spouse/parent/child/friend, entertaining effortlessly, moving up the corporate ladder, wrapping gifts, keeping house, helping the environment, achieving inner peace, etc.

Personally, I feel like I fail a lot more than I succed. I don't have a secret formula for anything, except "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again." (But don't try the same thing again and again, because as they say, "the definition of insanity is doing the same thing and expecting different results"".)

I'm taking this running class because I've tried (and failed numerous times) to learn to become a runner on my own. I've completed two half marathons as a solitary walker, but I'd like to improve my time, so I'm hoping this class will be my "secret formula".

In January, my next novel, CONFESSIONS OF A SLIGHTLY NEUROTIC HITWOMAN will be released by Avon Impulse. The secret formula I used for writing this book was a combination of 1) writing the book I wanted to write, not the one my former agent approved of 2) breaking the novel down to a four act structure instead of three 3) Using WRITING THE BREAKOUT NOVEL by Donald Maass BEFORE starting the manuscript.

What do YOU wish you had the secret formula for? Even if you don't have the formula, what tricks/tips have you found through trial and error that work for you?

My tips are:

-- I was not born with the housekeeping gene, but I've found FlyLady to be very helpful as a system to keep my home running smoothly.

-- I find that using Jennifer Louden's THE LIFE ORGANIZER helps me to get back on track when I feel as though I've gone off the rails.


Toni Anderson said...

I think I need the LIFE ORGANIZER :) Thought provoking post, JB. Writing the book you love is always important. Not always an option if you want to sell it. Sigh. Good luck with your next release!

Misty Evans said...

Ah, the ultimate knowledge. Everyone's formula is different and yet we all keep hoping there will be one magical formula we all can use. My formula changes daily, but includes showing up and doing the work whether I feel like it or not. Can't wait to read your new book. Sounds like fun!

Elise Warner said...

Doing what you love whether it's a novel, article or performance always shows. On the other hand I'll never be great at cleaning but what man ever said, I love the way you wash the floor, give me your body?"

JB Lynn said...

Toni -- Writing a book you truly love can be priceless

Misty -- IMHO it's all about showing up, no matter what you're trying to accomplish. The new book IS fun!

Elise -- ROFL I'd love to use "I love the way you wash the floor, give me your body?" in my next book!

Rita said...

Perhaps the good stuff as a reward for doing the things we don’t want to do?
The Secret Formula to me is getting back up no matter how many times you get knocked on your bight and shinny hiney.

Jennifer Hillier said...

Great post! I'm going to have to try that Maass book for my next novel. Anything that keeps me a bit better organized would be most welcome.

JB Lynn said...

Rita -- When I was a kid, I had toys called Weebles. There slogan was, "Weebles wobble, but they don't fall down"...sometimes that's a mantra I have to use for myself, lol.

Jennifer -- I like the workbook better than the actual book. Let me know if you end up trying it out.

B.E. Sanderson said...

Great post, JB. I wish I had the secret formula for getting published (or is that a magic spell thing?) Since I don't have that, the only thing I can do is just keep driving ahead, learning as I go, so that in the future I discover the formula. ;o)

JB Lynn said...

LOL, B.E. if you figure out the "spell" for getting published please share it!

Jane said...

Sometimes it would be nice to know exactly the appropriate thing to do and say at any time. That way I won't ever say or do anything wrong.

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