Monday, March 26, 2007

Donald Trump: The Writing Teacher

Posted by Lisa

Sure, he has bad hair days. But what millionnaire needs to worry about his hair? He's got money and cars, mansions, not to mention his own TV show. Let's face it, Donald's got it figured out. His mantra, if you don't watch the Apprentice, is this: "It's not personal it's business." Every writer should learn this lesson from the get-go. Why? Because every writer has reacted, at least once, probably more times, to a rejection letter as a personal affront.

So, sign me up. Get Grub Street's Muse & the Marketplace conference to put him on a panel. I imagine how he could help we needy writers. In fact, let me propose just what lessons he would want to get across to us:

Lesson #1: Never, Ever Quit
Donald HATES quitters. How, he asks, will you succeed at business if you give up before you reach your goal. If every person who hopes to write followed this single rule, you just know, most of them would succeed.

Lesson #2: Work Well Together
My writers' group is the one factor that made the difference for me between writing a lot of words and writing a novel. Constant support and solid constructive feedback raised the bar for me. I honed my craft and improved my final work.

Lesson #3: Don't be Late
Though there's no clock to punch, that laptop and chair are waiting for us. Structure. Dedication. It all adds up to pages and revision. That's the business side of it. That's the math.

Lesson #4: Be Confident
Taking chances. Testing new waters. Writer's ideas, their images and imaginations, suggest plots and characters that may seem too extraordinary. If Michael Lowenthal was never bothered by the plight of women detained with venereal disease in the Second World War, the beautiful novel, Charity Girl, would not have been written.

Donald Trump would help us. Surely, he's a mentor, a Muse even? Maybe not (the hair may be too distracting). But maybe lessons from business are fruitful to writers. In any event, it would be neat to meet him. I'll mention it to Chris Castellani, Grub Street's artistic director. Who knows? Next year's conference, maybe?


Anonymous said...

"It's not personal it's business."
True, it's not personal and should never be taken that way. But when I hear/read "I like it but don't love it" coming from a agent/editor, something down in the darkest part of me snaps. I finally addressed the issue in my blog "Read It and Weep" Blog post "I Like It But Don't Love It."

Check it out, you might get a chuckle.

I hope it's OK to add both "The Writers Group" and "Jungle Red Writers" links to my blog. Thanks

Larramie said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Marnell said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Lisa Marnell said...


Thanks for your comment. It is hard to think about our work from a business frame of mind. Especially when others tell us how much they do or don't love it.

Larramie said...

Serendipty is alive and well on this post!

The subject of Donald Trump and success in writing reminded me of Bill Stephens who I featured in An Online Debut. Here's a writer not about to perhaps The Donald could revise his The Art of the Deal to include literary art as well. ;o)

Tracy said...

Very Amusing! Maybe The Don can start his own writers' group. The attitude I've begun to take in regards to agents and editors is that it's their job to find reasons to say "NO." They're gate keepers. But it's my job to sneak through the back door!

Unknown said...

I love it! Hilarious! Thank you.

The rule I try to remember is Never Quit. The great writer and writing teacher Free Leebron told me that writing is a game of perseverance and that eventually, if you stick with it long enough and work at it, you'll make it.

He also said to write with a "screw you" attitude (actually, he used the f-word) to ward off self-doubt.

Therese said...

Lisa, this is great! And dead-on; it pertains well to writing in general--even more so, though, to the concept of writing as a profession.

Many people have told me I got as far as I have up to now in large part because I treat my efforts as seriously as any business person.

Patry Francis said...

Fun and inspiring at the same time. Thank you, Lisa!

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