Tracking the Successes and the Not-So-Much Encounters - Joanna Campbell Slan

Tracking the Successes and the Not-So-Much Encounters


Patricia Terrell is better known as p.m. terrell, author of Taking the Mystery Out of Promoting Your Mystery. I was lucky enough to chat with her the other day–and we have a meeting upcoming–so I’ll be sharing some of the great ideas I learn.

But after looking at my schedule, here’s one that immediately comes to mind–tracking your responses.

Patricia keeps a file where she “debriefs” herself after an event. This shouldn’t have come as a surprise to me, because that’s what savvy motivational speakers do. In fact, one of the absolute best in the business, Jeannie Robertson would note which stories she told and how they went over. If she learned a new line to add, she’d make note of that as well.

And when I did something like this after Love Is Murder, I saw that by stepping away and out of the fray and examining what worked and what didn’t, I really forced myself to be honest, to evaluate with care and to make “mid-course” adjustments.

You see, an author can be a nimble unit of one, or a bull in a china shop. I hope that if I pause, reflect, and make note, I can use a technique NASA calls “downmoding.” When a mission isn’t going as planned, the powers that be at NASA pause and decide what’s important, what can be salvaged and what objective should simply be dropped.

As I panicked over my huge “to do” list today, my husband asked, “And what happens if you don’t get all that done?”

I thought a minute. The answer was, “Nothing. I might disappoint a couple of people, but it’s no biggie.” And he nodded and said, “Exactly.”

So bring it on. I’ll be chugged Emergen C and Airborne, and trying to have a whopping good time. Which reminds me of another tidbit of wisdom. I recall hearing that during the filming of Nine to Five, that “old” movie with Dolly Parton, Lilly Tomlin and others, that Dolly never, ever complained about anything. One of the younger actresses remarked on this, and Dolly said, “Before I was famous, I promised myself that if I’m ever lucky enough to make a movie or be somewhere, that I’d always just be so grateful and never complain.” Now, that’s not probably EXACTLY what she said, but I bet it was something pretty close.

So here’s to being grateful, to making adjustments, and to debriefing AFTER the event so that I can spiral up instead of plummeting down.

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