Thursday, November 4, 2010

Mary's Rants

I have been asked, no nix that, let me be honest. I have volunteered to give our November PRO meeting for the Utah RWA Chapter. The topic is: 'How do you act, dress and play the part of success?'

I'm in the research stages--which really means I'll be busting my buns late the night before trying to write up a lesson. Yeah, procrastination is my middle name, when it comes to things like this. Now give me something fun, or something I'm motivated to do, like get a picture for the M&M blog header and I've got it done two seconds after it was suggested.

When I say act, dress and play the part, what do I mean? Exactly what it say's. Pick your favorite Best Selling author, how does he or she act? Shy? Aloof? Intimidated? Does he or she dress like a slob? Or do they play the part of a buffoon?

Now think hard, the last time you went to a writing function and you ran into a Bestseller, what was your impression? I'll tell you mine, after all at the last National RWA conference I ran into several, listened to their workshops, etc. All of them were dressed for success, meaning in nice business suits. They acted confident and they did not need to play the part of being a successful author.

If you act confident, dress appropriately and play the part of a successful best selling author, eventually you'll be that person. Sound easy? Well it's not, just ask any one of the successful authors you meet. Every single one of these people have to write, edit, write, edit, toss in the garbage, and start over.

No one does it for them. Part of the 'part' of being a successful best selling author is exactly what we do every day. And if you're not, then you will never be where they are. In my opinion if you practice acting, dressing and playing the part, you'll already be there when you hit the NY times best seller list.

And for the rest of my lesson I'm here seeking inspiration from my friends. When you meet someone, how can you tell if they are success? And what do you believe makes a person a success? Any suggestions for me to add?


Cassy Pickard said...

Mary: You have brought up a topic that I have lived with for so many years I can't count them. As a dean at Yale I was always thinking about my pumps and my pearls--along with what I was going to say.

My husband and I have almost gone the other way. I watched him leave yesterday for an important meeting at his office- big time clients coming in- he had on his jeans (!). I was totally surprised. This is Brooks Brothers meet Italian style kinda guy.

His comment was, "I have a cold. I don't feel well and if they judge me only by my clothes and not by the drawings I have stacked up for them to see, well, that's just too bad."

It's a juggle. My take is--do what works for you when it works for you.

Thanks for bringing this up. We all worry about how we appear to others.

Mary Martinez said...

Good point. You're right. Appearances have changed over the years. When I was a child my mother was always in a dress. I'm sure there still a few of us who remember 'Leave it to Beaver' June NEVER was in anything but a dress and her pearls. And this was at home. Now the business dress is more casual. Maybe I should not have used a business suit as an example. Even though your husband was in jeans, I bet they were nice jeans and he still looked successful, am I wrong?

Lindsay said...

I gave up dressing for people years ago. Now I wear what I want, when I want. Which means most of the time it's tshirts and jeans when I go out. Home-sweats.
The only time now days that I'll wear a dress shirt and necktie, ugh, is when I'm at a conference.

Mary Martinez said...

But it's really not about the clothes. Okay apparently I need work on the deliverance of my meeting I'm giving. It's about wearing and attitude of success. And I guess if you're confident and act successful you could probably wear a gunny sack. Though I'm not aware of any successful people who do.

Rochelle Staab said...

I have a postcard on my desk I saved for years. A kid on a street corner bustling with men in suits with briefcases. But the kid was wearing a gold crown and a purple robe. The caption: Dress For The Job You Want.

My test for success? Eye contact. A successful person will look me in the eye as we talk. A poser will be looking over my shoulder to see if there's someone more important in the room.

Fun post Mary!

Liz Lipperman said...

Mary, great blog. I find the most successful people are usually those who could be your next door neighbor. Their acting, dressing,etc for success is merely being themselves. They don't have to put on airs or pat themselves on the back, because other people do it for them.

And most are just as insecure about their writing as the rest of us. In the words of one successful author (forgot her name) with every new book she writes, she debates whether or not to send the check back.

We're not alone!!

Mary Martinez said...

Rochelle and Liz, thanks for responding. I asked my husband what I had said wrong that everyone so far had been focusing on the fact I said 'suit' he said you forgot to tell them you were referring to the 'dress' the part metaphorically. As in dress yourself in confidence. This is why I gave my workshop/meeting for PRO a dry run, to make sure what I want to say is coming off.

It's not 'what' you wear, it's how you wear it? Maybe that's what I should say. And Rochelle, I really like that: Dress for the Job you want. May I use that?

Marilyn said...

Whew! I'm glad I'm not a romance writer! I'd need to find plastic and bariatric surgeons stat! ;->