6 Things to Improve Your Success in Life and in Writing

I arrived ten minutes early for my doctor’s appointment, hoping I’d get in and out quickly. The appearance of only one other vehicle in the parking lot supported my goal. When I walked into the waiting room, there was only one guy there. Sitting in the dark. Alone. The receptionist office window was closed with a sign that read: Gone for Lunch; Back at 1:15.

I knew it was around 12:30. My appointment was 12:45. I started to think I had made a mistake. I questioned the only person in sight. “Are they still taking patients even though everyone’s gone to lunch?”

“Yeah, they are,” he said. “But instead of the receptionist, I saw a doctor come out and take in two patients.”

“Good. I was worried.”

“Me too until I saw the doctor.”

I sat and looked up at the TV screen and saw a show I had never watched before. After fifteen minutes, nothing had changed. I was still in my seat, the man was still sitting a few seats away, the room was still dim and the doctor had not yet emerged.

More TV Watching

After another 15 minutes, other patients started to trickle in, and another show I had never seen came on the television: the Marilyn Denise Show. I only watch one show—Agents of Shield—now that Corner Gas no longer runs, so almost every show is one I’ve never seen or heard of before.

As the clock ticked away and more patients entered the waiting room, my plan for a quick get-away vanished. I resolved to listen to the show because their first guest—Amber MacArthur—was providing five expert tips for personal and professional success.

By the time she was on tip #3, I hoped the doctor wouldn’t call me in until I heard all five. Lucky for me, she didn’t, so I got a life lesson while waiting.

The Five Tips with My Thoughts Added

Quit Bad Habits

This is instead of making good habits. Sometimes the bad habits are the ones holding us back. This could be drinking, smoking, making excuses, procrastinating or a number of other things that keep us from what we really want to do. In our case, that’s writing.

Limit Energy Vampires

You know those people. They are the ones who bring us down even when we are on a high. Their negative energy cancels out our positive energy. In the past two years, I removed two people from my life because they had caused nothing but false drama and negative thoughts. I am happier without them.

If someone is sucking the energy out of your writing life, limit your exposure to them. Writing is hard enough without someone telling you it’s a waste of your time and you’ll never succeed.

Exceed Expectations

chocolate chip cookiesYou know those people who you ask for help, it might be something simple—bake me some cookies for the bake sale—and they not only bake the cookies, but they make three different kinds, deliver them early, help set up the display and stick around to sell them. They exceed our expectations and make our lives better. We must strive to be like them.

In regard to writing, we should always try to exceed the expectations of readers. Go that extra mile to make the reading experience the best you can deliver.

On the other side of the spectrum, have you asked someone for details about their author event and received scant pieces information even though more details would help the author immensely with book sales? This lack of enthusiasm only hurts them and discourages others from helping promote their books.

I am busy, and I will not send multiple messages to re-ask questions when all the questions I asked were in the first message. I’ll either post the lack-lustre information as is or I won’t post it at all. If it’s not worth their time, it’s not worth mine.

Prioritize Your Health

Coincidentally, I’ve been putting more focus on my health the past couple of years, and this year I’ve decided to make it a top priority. I’ve neglected my fitness level over the past 19 years and at the moment, it sucks. I’ll be half a century old in a few months, and I still need to hike the Scottish Highlands. Giving my family’s longevity (my grandmothers lived to 92 and 97, my mom is 89, and I have cousins who lived to over 100), if I don’t reach at least 80, it’s my fault.

I’ve been told before that a healthy body works more efficiently and is a more creative vessel, so not only will my improved health get me to the Highlands, it should make me a better writer.

Love Your Champions

Gravitate to those who fuel your energy and who are your greatest supporters. That might be your parents, your spouse or your best friend. Surround yourself with positive people and support their efforts, too; two-way streets are better than one.

I scribbled down these five items while I listened, and they were all noted on the link above. However, one that was mentioned during the interview is missing from the list.

Eliminate Unnecessary Stuff

6 tips for successWhen I heard this, I initially thought about how I’m decluttering the house of unnecessary items, reducing the things I own, so they can fit in the back of a pick-up truck. It’s my future goal as a minimalist. However, MacArthur wasn’t talking about physical items. She was talking about time-consuming activities.

Instead of adding more things to your to-do list by increasing the more things you’d like to do, start removing things from your to-do list that you really don’t want to do in the first place.

This suggestion stuck in my mind because as of January 1st, that’s what I’ve been doing: removing myself from situations and commitments that don’t interest me or nourish my soul. By removing these things from my schedule, it opens up opportunities that do interest me and will further my writing career.

In fact, I’ve made a simple check list:

  • joy
  • writing
  • money

If the activity doesn’t give me a least one of these things, then I will recommend to myself that I don’t do it.

Money was a priority because I’ve been asked to do and haven taken on so many things that cost me money that it negatively affected my writing and my life. So, by the end of this year, these things will be gone. Like many other humans, I like to eat, and I like a new pair shoes every other year or I get…tendinitis.

Although I spent 2 1/2 hours at the medical centre—most of that waiting—I felt as though I walked away from there more confident in my path and armed with new information I will carry with me. Oh, and a diagnoses of tendinitis in my right ankle. At least it wasn’t gout as someone told me.

5,000 Word Evaluation

Are you looking for an unbiased, honest evaluation of your writing? Check out First 5,000 Words Evaluation. [Note: I will be taking the month of July off. I have one opening for August and two openings for September.]

Cup of Tea

If you found this information helpful, please consider buying me a cup of tea ($1.50) as if we had chatted at a cafe and I shared this with you. [Payment is through PayPal.] [Thank you to everyone who has graciously purchased a cup of tea for me.]

14 thoughts on “6 Things to Improve Your Success in Life and in Writing

  1. Prioritizing my health is a constant struggle for me, Diane. Writing is so sedentary. I know that I won’t be able to enjoy writing if I don’t take care of my health, but I can find a hundred reasons to finish a chapter instead of hop on the treadmill. *Sigh* Great advice all around.


  2. Limit Energy Vampires – I have some experience with this one. A long time ago an older teacher advised me to stay away from negative people. Usually teachers lounges and cafeteria were hotbeds of negativity. I stayed away from them and had a happier career.


    • Ernesto, I believed — for some odd reason — we were stuck with these vampires. I mean, how can you avoid them if they travel in your circle or belong to similar groups? Then I got desperate because these two people were causing so much stress and making me think things I normally wouldn’t. Although I was raised to be nice and polite, I finally gave it up. It’s difficult for me to be rude, so I simply removed myself from their circle and groups they too were involved with. That included blocking them on Facebook and other social media. I lost nothing but gained peace of mind.

      It was wise of you to heed the older teacher’s advice. Negative people really are downers.


    • Thanks, Tracy. When I made the list of three things many months ago, I wanted to keep it as simple as possible. Joy incorporates everything from spending time with family, watching a good movie, camping, canoeing, reading, writing and making chocolate cake. I found I was joining organisations or spending my time in groups more as an obligation rather than anything else. And I found the money to attend was only adding to my unhappiness. Most of those groups are out of my life now, and the rest will end in December.

      I get a lot of joy from writing and helping others with their writing. It’s a high. This fall, once a few other commitments are meant, I’ll be able to do more of that.

      I believe joy should be at the top of everyone’s list. After all, if we’re not happy with what we’re doing, perhaps we’re doing the wrong thing.


  3. These are great points and a good way to spend time waiting in a doctor’s office. I always take a book along just in case. I don’t do waiting very well.


    • I often take a book too, but for some reason, I thought I’d be quick this time because the past few appointments for the kids were quick. I was so wrong. If not for watching that show, I would have done wait a lot worse. I’m going to post this list of tips on my cupboard to remind me. When days get tough, I sometimes forget these tips. Having them in my face every day will keep me on track.

      Thank you, Darlene, for the lovely cup of tea.


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