17 Tips From Noah Lukeman

17 Tips From Noah Lukeman

WordDreams...

writing Literary agent Noah Lukeman’s clients include Pulitzer Prize nominees, Pushcart Prize winners and American Book Award recipients. He’s written several popular books for pre-published authors, including How to Land and Keep a Literary Agent and The Plot Thickens .

His how-to book, The First Five Pages: A Writer’s Guide To Staying Out of the Rejection Pile (Fireside 2000), is an essential tome for every writer’s bookshelf. It not only reminds us that the characteristics of good writing don’t change (picture nouns and action verbs are still in vogue), but includes exercises at the end of each chapter to help newbie writers develop their skills. The tagline–If you’re tired of rejection, this is the book for you–should get the attention of 90% of the writers out there.

I should mention: The book has been updated (February 2010, Oxford University Press), but I haven’t read it so can’t comment on…

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Ancient Armenian bracelet (3rd-1st century BC.)

Ancient Armenian bracelet (3rd-1st century BC.)

PeopleOfAr

Armenian bracelet from the 3rd-1st century BC. Depicting two beautifully crafted rams heads on both sides. From the Harvard Art Museum.

Brass, silvered with traces of gilding
4.3 x 4.2 cm (1 11/16 x 1 5/8 in.)

Armenian bracelet (3rd-1st century BC.) Depicting two rams heads on both ends. Armenian bracelet (3rd-1st century BC.) Depicting two rams heads on both ends.

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The Value of a Good Reputation – and How to Build One

By Mihran Kalaydjian, CHA

Consultant, Strategist, and Writer

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“The way to gain a good reputation is to endeavor to be what you desire to appear.” – Socrates

All of us have friends and family with different reputations.

Some of our friends and family are rock-solid people that you know you can rely on when you need them. All you have to do is give them a call and they’ll be there. If there’s a project to be completed, they’ll help out. You turn to these people when the chips are down and on the rare occasion when they ask for help, you’re quite willing to help them.

Some of our friends and family, though, are far less reliable. They might be fun to hang out with, but when anything with responsibility comes up, you know not to include them. When the chips are down, you know these people are unlikely to come through.

Now, let’s say you have an investment opportunity sitting before you, or you’re looking for someone to join your company. You have a reliable friend and an unreliable friend who both have what you need.

Who are you going to call? Who’s going to get the reward?

This might seem a bit dramatic, but the core of this idea happens over and over and over again in life. When something important comes up, the opportunities tend to go to the people with good reputations before they go to the people with questionable reputations.

The person with the good reputation is the person you’re going to invite to social gatherings. The person with the bad reputation might get invited to a cookout, but there will be a lot of invites that they miss.

The person with the good reputation is going to get introduced to lots of people with a positive referral. The person with the bad reputation won’t get those positive introductions.

The person with the good reputation might have someone speak up on their behalf during a hiring process. The person with the bad reputation might have someone speak up against them during a hiring process. (The person with no reputation won’t have anyone speak up for them at all.)

A good reputation is valuable. It’s something you’re going to want on your side.

Building a Good Reputation
Many people, as they enter adulthood, do not have much of a reputation at all. Sure, some people have already done exceptional things and have a bit of a positive reputation, and others may have done some silly things during their teen years and developed a bit of a negative one, but both of those can be wiped clean by moving to a new area. There is always a chance to improve your reputation.

So, how do you do that? I’ve found that there are five key things anyone can do to move their reputation in a positive direction.

Emulate those you know that have earned your respect
Think of the handful of people in your life that you respect the most. What do you respect about them? What do they consistently do that make you think of them in such a positive light?

Cut out the negative talk
Don’t talk negatively about anyone in any situation unless you’re facing them alone one-on-one or you’re in a group environment where they’ve requested criticism. If you can’t think of good things to say about someone, don’t say anything at all.

This can be very hard for some people to do, but it’s a key part of building a good reputation. People who are constantly negative rarely have a positive reputation.

Avoid behaviors considered negative in the culture you want a good reputation in
You might personally find no problem with a certain behavior or even find it to be a positive, but if you’re looking for a good reputation in a certain group, you should avoid those behaviors.

It’s really hard to give a list of what such behaviors might be because it depends heavily on who you’re trying to build a positive reputation with. In general, if you’re uncertain, ask yourself what the leaders of this group would think of the behavior you’re questioning.

A few negative behaviors are fine if they’re counterbalanced with the other items on this list, but piling them up will create a negative reputation that you won’t be able to overcome.

Take on responsibilities, but be sure you can follow through on them
Some people fail to build a reputation because they never take on any responsibility. Others build a bad reputation because they offer to take on big responsibilities and can’t follow through. There’s a happy middle ground there and that’s what you should shoot for.

When people need things and you’re sure you can help them with what they need, volunteer to handle it and then follow through. The follow through is the key part of building a positive reputation.

An occasional failure is acceptable and expected, but it should usually come on top of a large pile of successes. Also, it’s often worthwhile to silently take on responsibilities that need to be handled. You don’t need to shout what you’re doing from the rooftops – in fact, that’s often detrimental.

Be involved – increase your points of social contact
This involves both being social and participating in community events. They’re both vital in building a good reputation.

For starters, it’s hard to build a good reputation if no one knows who you are. You have to speak up. Introduce yourself to people you don’t know. Learn how to converse with people you don’t know and practice it as much as you can.

The best way to do this is to participate in community activities where you’ll have the chance to meet a lot of people. I’ve met dozens of people simply by coaching youth soccer, as I’ll interact with parents and grandparents of all of the kids on my team. I see them again and again at community events, like the annual community celebrations that happen in the towns in our area, and when I see them, I greet them and ask how their kid is doing.

It doesn’t take much effort on my part, but there are a lot of people out there in the community who have a more positive view of me because of it. Repeat that over and over again and it just builds on itself.

That’s really all there is to building a good reputation. Figure out who you want to have a good reputation with, emulate the leaders of that community, trim out the negative talk, be social, take on responsibilities that you know you can follow through on, and follow through on them. It’s a pretty simple recipe and it’s one that, over time, will start earning you dividends in many different aspects of life.

Those are the things that you should be striving for. Act like them. Imitate them. If you’re not sure what to do in a situation, ask yourself what you think that person would do. Don’t hesitate to ask them for advice on difficult challenges you face.

V.S. Naipaul

V.S. Naipaul

Carol Balawyder

There is much to say about V.S. Naipaul.

Some grand. Some not so grand.

His reaction towards women writers strongly provoked me. It made me think long and hard on whether I wanted to give space to a man with such misogynist attitudes towards women writers.

In reading his essays Literary Occasions,  and the various interviews he gave I came to understand how great a literary giant he is and that,  if I was to write this post, I needed to separate V.S. Naipaul, the man from V.S. Naipaul, the writer.

Naipaul the man

Women writers “unequal to me” says V S Naipaul

Such is the headline in The Bookseller  where Naipaul goes on to say, “I read a piece of writing and within a paragraph or two I know whether it is by a woman or not. I think (it is) unequal to me.”

Lylia M. Alphone…

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10 Things I Miss About Smoking

10 Things I Miss About Smoking

Thought Catalog

shutterstock_99499550

1. Always having a friend. 

Or at least the illusion of one. My ciggies were with me every single morning for that long and depressing walk to the G train. If I felt lonely, they kept me company. When I had a bad day, there they’d be, waiting outside with open arms. Through thick and thin, they never once let me down.

2.  Being skinny

Hungry? Just have a cigarette! After a while my taste buds become practically non-existent causing everything to taste like a mix of burnt coffee, bad scotch, and nausea. Add to that the fact that smoking had thrown my entire digestive system out of whack, and suddenly food didn’t seem so appealing. Sure my skin was gray, but my ass looked amazing!

3.  Losing my sense of smell.

Trust me, In New York this can be a blessing.

4. Being in the Secret Society of Smokers

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17 Struggles Only Cats Know

17 Struggles Only Cats Know

Thought Catalog

AlanAlan

1. Hey man, mind if I sit on your neck? This is cool, right? Hey…so I’m gonna rub the side of my face in your mouth if that’s okay. Oh, sorry I forgot that I shed, because I’m covered in hair. My mistake.

2. So…that computer. Looks so warm, I think that it might be cool if I sit right where your hands are. Yeah. Perfect. We both like this, right? Stop yelling at me, this is my house too.

3. What if I jus stayed up all night and ran around in the dark?

4. Hey I’m going to head outside…Um, excuse me. I want to go outside now…Do I have to yell? OK. Thank you. WAIT IT WAS ALL A JOKE LET ME BACK IN RIGHT NOW…ok, well now that i’m inside…actually come back in like 30 seconds, I’ll make a decision then.

5. Hey, I’m really…

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Loveliest, Again

Loveliest, Again

M. K. Waller

Loveliest of trees, the cherry now
Is hung with bloom along the bough,
And stands about the woodland ride
Wearing white for Eastertide.

Now, of my threescore years and ten,
Twenty will not come again,
And take from seventy springs a score,
It only leaves me fifty more.

And since to look at things in bloom
Fifty springs are little room,
About the woodlands I will go
To see the cherry hung with snow.

By kconners - via morguefile.com By kconners – via morguefile.com

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You Don’t Need New York

You Don’t Need New York

Thought Catalog

shutterstock_129141452

You don’t need New York.

There’s a mistaken notion that you have to go to New York. Like salmon going upstream, college graduates flock to (un)paid internships in New York with their ambitions and dreams burning bright in front of them.

But you don’t need New York. New York needs you

No, it doesn’t care about you, but it needs you all the same. See, New York needs you the way a body needs calories. It needs to use you, to burn you, to devour and replace you like the food you are. New York is a monster, and like all great monsters, it comes with a mythology. There is a glorification, praise and even worship of the beast. But take it from a man within its stomach; you don’t need this.

That’s not to say you don’t want it. You might; you really might. But it’s not a given

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