June, 2011

the art of being different: why you shouldn’t compare and compete, but seek to change the game

For a woman to triumph, she cannot play by the rules of the game. They are not her rules, designed to enhance her strengths. She has to change the game. – Harriet Rubin

Virginia Woolf wrote, “Across the broad continent of a woman’s life falls the shadow of a sword.” On one side of that sword, she said, there lies convention and tradition and order, where “all is correct.” But on the other side of that sword, if you’re crazy enough to cross it and choose a life that does not follow convention, “all is confusion. Nothing follows a regular course.” Her argument was that the crossing of the shadow of that sword may bring a far more interesting existence to a woman, but you can bet it will also be more perilous. – Elizabeth Gilbert

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Some of the most important lessons I learned presented themselves as lessons in style.

The first was from a woman I met once and never spoke with again. The second was from a woman I never spoke with at all.

The first woman was blonde, wealthy and in her late forties or maybe early fifties. I was about three decades younger, lean and leggy in frayed denim cut-offs with my hair falling down my back. My boyfriend and I were spending two weeks in Nantucket. We met this woman at a dinner party; I remember her intellect, her cosmopolitan air, her click for more

Jun 29, 2011 · 26 Comments / ADD YOURS

the art of creating an authentic belief system (otherwise known as a ‘brand’) for fans friends + followers

I was reading the blog Transmythology when I came across this:

“Part of the reason that a number of recent theatrical releases have failed to entice a younger demographic is that a 90-120 minute story – when unsupported by larger engagement – is a tricky sell to audiences who are accustomed to being engaged around the clock.”

Which made me think about how it’s a new world now. Audiences expect a deeper sense of ‘engagement’ with your writing — and with you. If they love your book, they don’t want the experience to end when they turn the final pages; they expect that experience to carry over online, with the story of you.

The most amazing thing about social media is that it gives you the chance to invent yourself, your – for lack of a better word – ‘brand’ – and connect with your audience before you’ve even published anything.

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Jun 21, 2011 · 11 Comments / ADD YOURS

“well-behaved women seldom make history”: redefining what it means to be bad

I posed topless for a female photographer who specializes in boudoir. I’m lying on the bed in a man’s velvet smoking jacket, hair blown across my face. I look at the camera. It’s a beautiful portrait (the photographer is very talented) and I’m proud of it. It reminds me slightly of Manet’s Olympia. That painting caused a scandal at the time — not because the subject was nude — but because of how she stares at the viewer instead of looking away demurely.

It’s that act of shameless eye contact that makes her – according to the moral dictates of the era — truly “bad”.

I once said to someone, “I don’t know if I’m a good girl with a bad streak, or a bad girl with a good streak.” But I was being ironic. My real point was that, like any other woman (or man), I am both and neither.

In fact, it’s kind of amazing to me that the good girl/bad girl dichotomy still exists. It came up again when movie star Reese Witherspoon…click for more

Jun 10, 2011 · 59 Comments / ADD YOURS

why perfectionism is so totally overrated

I was at a week-long writer’s retreat at a villa in St Tropez. We played two truths and a lie. The point was to speak and go deep.

Some of us might or might not have said things like:

My friend knows that I slept with her husband.
I’ve been in prison twice.
I’ve been lonely my whole life.
I feel secretly responsible for the death of my child.
My English teacher seduced me when I was sixteen.

The point was to create an atmosphere of intimacy and trust that would allow us to pack as much progress as we could in the time that we had together.

If we couldn’t share work that was still in the vulnerable early stages, or tell each other the truth…click for more

Jun 6, 2011 · 12 Comments / ADD YOURS

how your mistakes + failures point the way to your success

I was in an apartment in downtown Manhattan talking to a friend about a chunk of my life I felt I’d lost to an unhealthy relationship. I could have done so much more, I said, if I hadn’t allowed myself to get so sidetracked, my self-esteem yanked inside out until I didn’t think I could do much of anything.

She mentioned that regret is nothing but an energy drain.

Duly noted.

She pointed out how much deeper my relationships are now because of everything I’ve been forced to learn about myself and my fear of intimacy and my attraction to difficult situations. If anything, she said, I am likely to become an expert on authentic, loving, nurturing relationships, not in spite of but because of my spotty history with them.

This is the flip side, the gift side, of our mistakes and failures…more

Jun 3, 2011 · 15 Comments / ADD YOURS
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