Why I Won’t Marie Kondo My Books


Photo by Cynthia Price

I am a semi-practitioner of Feng Shui, Marie Kondo, minimalism, and anything to do with making my environment Zen.

Books, though, will always hold a special place and are not likely to be removed.

As an author who aspires to be published, I am inspired by the authors I meet. I enjoy hearing what drew them to writing, where they find their characters, when they write, and where they write.

I enjoy attending author lectures and book signings. I’ve become quite savvy at navigating the queue for the book signing so that I’m not waiting hours.

Almost every author I have met has not only signed my book but has offered writing tips, suggestions to find an agent, and groups to join.

I learned about Sisters in Crime through Janet Evanovich. It was many years later before I connected with the group but I always knew I would because she had recommended them.

Whenever I see Adriana Trigiani she reminds me that the best writing advice is simple, “Write!”

At a Malice Domestic conference, I bumped into Michael Connelly and, to make a long story short, he paused to chat with me for about five minutes. This was when he only had a few books to his name and their was no Prime show called, “Bosch.” He didn’t hesitate to encourage, offer advice, and share a story or two.

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Lisa Scottoline signs my book and offers advice. 

The other week I heard Lisa Scottoline speak as part of All Henrico Reads. I joined a small queue to have my book signed during a pre-event. The next thing I knew she was offering advice as we posed for pictures. Her inscription in my book inspires, too. She wrote, “You go girl!”

As I sit and write, I look across my desk to a bookcase filled with books signed by the authors. No matter how much I downsize, I won’t downsize my inspiration!

Invest in Yourself

If you receive a tax refund this year, what are you planning to do with it?

20190421_173625One of the best things you can do is invest in yourself. Think of it as human capital.

Join a professional group. “The importance of professional organizations is taken for granted,” says Dorie Clark, author of Reinventing You and Stand Out. As a member of a professional group, you have opportunities to develop new skills and to lead an organization, all of which can help your career.

Attend a conference. If your company limits conference attendance, you may want to invest in one yourself. Conferences enable you to stay current about trends and to develop contacts.

Obtain training. Maybe you are thinking about venturing into a different field. Use your refund to learn valuable skills. I plan to work full-time as a coach in the future. I want to be sure I set up my business legally and efficiently so I invested in a full day seminar on how to start my own business.

Pay for tuition. Use the refund to pay for tuition, whether it’s to learn a new skill related to your current job, to learn a skill for another career, or simply to learn about something you’ve always wanted to know more about. Learning is always a good investment.

Investing in yourself can pay off for years because of an increase in your paycheck and greater job stability.

You’re worth it!

How to Successfully Flex Your Networking Muscles

Do you know how many people you are connected to on LinkedIn? When is the last time you reached out to most of them? For that matter, when have you last been in contact with anyone in your network?

I know there are about a dozen individuals in my network with whom I consistently in staying in touch. But after participating in a webinar with Jordan Harbinger as part of the Career MasteryTM Kickstart 2019, I realized I was woefully neglecting my network.


Photo courtesy of Jordan Harbinger

Fortunately, Jordan, who is a podcaster and radio personality, had great advice to share. The Jordan Harbinger Show “distills untapped wisdom from the world’s top performers.”

To reengage your network, Jordan said to send a text or email, noting where you met the person, asking what’s new with them, and letting them know there was no urgency with a follow-up. Most often the individual responds fairly quickly.

Networking often has a negative connotation, but it shouldn’t because it plays an important role. “If we are not generating relationships, we are not immune to the consequences of isolating ourselves,” Jordan said.

As you get closer to the top of the corporate ladder, networking becomes even more critical. “The more senior you get, the more you have to interact with other companies,” he said.

When you need the relationship, you have an agenda, Jordan said, which is why it’s important to pave the way by being generous with your own social capital. Jordan also suggested making a list of 10 to 15 people you would connect with to solicit their advice if you were laid off. The time to reach out is now when you don’t have an agenda. Jordan said, “It kicks the rust off our networking muscles.”

When you are networking at conferences, he suggested several questions to begin the conversation, including:

  • Why are you at this conference?
  • Who did you come with?
  • What are you looking forward to hearing?

He also encourages individuals to be systematic and opportunistic with network maintenance. I know my network is due for a tune-up. How about yours?