If you know me even a little bit, you know that I have a somewhat sick addiction to reality TV. The Bachelor. Dance Moms, Millionaire Matchmaker. Judge all you want. But believe me when I say that I regret not a second of this viewing, because it’s through reality TV that I learned about businesswoman extraordinaire, Bethenny Frankel. When I first started watching The Real Housewives of NYC, Frankel hadn’t reached the level of success that she now has, so there was this joy for the viewer in being along for the ride. Years later and she’s had her own show, published multiple books and has a number of products on the market.
The book that I want to talk about today is called A Place of Yes: 10 Rules for Getting Everything You Want Out Of Life. Frankel is brutally honest, both on the show and in her writing. Watching Bethenny Getting Married, viewers had the chance to go behind-the-scenes and see this book being edited, burned on a barbecue and, ultimately, rewritten. I adore this book. I love the many lessons that Frankel shares from her own life, lessons which can be relatable for almost anyone.
Here is what I’ve learned about writing thanks to A Place of Yes.
Accept the Noise and Move On
Through her first book, Naturally Thin and now in A Place of Yes, Frankel describes “noise”. It can be food noise, family noise, career noise, etc. We all have our own noise which fights to be the loudest, and some of us let that noise bring us down. I know I do. For me, writing noise is huge. So and so is getting published. What if I never find an agent? What if I self-publish this book and then nobody reads it? What if I do get published but people think my book is terrible? These are all real examples of writing noise that I have experienced… regularly. Frankel often talks about accepting your noise, but helps provide solutions to deal with your noise. In my case, my solution is in her rule “find your truth”. My truth is that I need to write these books. Whether or not anyone reads them, whether I am mocked mercilessly in the streets for them (ahem – this is another weird, delusional piece of noise), I need to write these books for myself. They are my truth. They are how I see the world and stories of the world that I need to share.
Does this mean I won’t continue to hear the noise? Hell no. It’s there every single day, but instead of feeding the beast, I can just accept it and move on. One book at a time. One blog post at a time.
A Book Can Be Garbage… and That’s Okay!
If you’re a Bethenny fan, you know what episode I’m talking about. Bethenny was in Montauk and burned her manuscript on a barbecue, referring to it as garbage. If the book that I have in my hands is only here because she burned the original, then I’m truly grateful, as it’s a great piece of work. With my second book, I was on such a roll. I wrote 40,000 words with love, only to realize that they were the wrong 40,000 words. The character motivation was wrong. My protagonist wasn’t as likeable as she needed to be. It wasn’t bad, but for all intents and purposes it wasn’t good either. Ergo… it was garbage. And do you know what? That’s okay! It’s okay to throw it out and start again, because I know the finished product will be ten times better. Who doesn’t want ten times better? If Frankel can start from scratch when she has a million business projects on the go, I can start from scratch too.
Life is an obstacle course. You succeed at one thing and then you move on to the next. When an obstacle is tough, you try harder. When an obstacle is insurmountable, you change course. But you never sit down and refuse to finish. – Bethenny Frankel
Stay In Your Lane
In the book, Frankel talks about staying in your lane. Don’t distract yourself by looking left or right at what everyone else is doing. The person you need to focus on for success if yourself… in writing at least. This isn’t to say that I can’t learn from other writings, other authors, but I can’t let their pace upset me. Just because someone has published three books doesn’t make my book less likely to succeed. What won’t help my success is dwelling on the negative and focusing on other people. I need to put in serious effort and focus if I expect to reap the benefits. Staying in your lane doesn’t mean that you don’t interact with others. In fact, for the upcoming Camp NaNo word challenge, I fully intend to do some group writing sessions, but that doesn’t meant I will let other people’s goals, successes or failures deter me from my own.
A Big Idea Is Worth Very Little Until You Act On It
Frankel is known for her big ideas. It’s her genius ideas that have brought her major success, like the Skinnygirl Margarita. But, what if she’d never acted on it? What if she’d just had the idea, as so many of us do, but didn’t really do much about it. Sound familiar? I have about ten story ideas kicking around my head and only one and a half down on paper. That’s a pretty crappy percentage, if you ask me. If I think they’re all great (and I’d like to think they are), then these ideas are only worth something if I put my butt in that chair and write them down. I need to act, not just to write these books, but to aim to publish them. I recently got my first rejection letter from an agent. Do I let that deter me from my dreams? Of course not. Another one of Frankel’s rules is to Go For Yours, to follow your dreams relentlessly, putting in the time and effort to achieve your goals.
There are many other lessons that you can apply from this book to your life in general, but for me these were just some of the lessons I could relate to my writing. Thanks, Bethenny!
Can you relate to any of these?