It’s my dear friend Teresa’s book birthday, but YOU get the presents. Enter below to WIN THINGS! 🎵Happy picture book birthday to me, happy picture book birthday to meeee🎶 and to celebrate, I’m having a… More
Once again, we are skipping COVID-19 (sung to Gen-X anthem Come On Eileen) for mindless, pointless prattle: interacting with medium-level celebrities on social media!
My husband does it all the time. He’s become twitter-friends with New York celebrities Roma Torre, Amy Freeze and Sean Allen Krill, to name a few. I, on the other hand, barely used twitter until December when I sought DAYS fans who had access to super-secret fancy spoilers, and then fell ass-backwards into an awesome #writingcommunity.
In my teeny, tiny corner of the internet, I’m getting bolder with social media. I think my shyness comes from my boomer parents who think everyone on the internet is the government trying to “get you.” (Get you how? For what? No one cares what you’re doing on yahoo mail, Mom.)
But first, a reminder that President Obama follows me on Twitter.
Anyway, a couple of weeks ago, I pivoted from fear and tweeted about my new blog. I tagged a certain two millennials whose definitely to blame for all of this newfound boldness.
Only 1 like. I know, I know: pretty lame. But it’s the quality, not the quantity, amiright? (No. I’m not right. It’s the quantity. )
Alyssa’s like is a gold star to me. I crave gold stars. My husband even bought me a gold star necklace so I’d always have one. Now I want more likes! More gold stars! MORE, DAMMIT! MORE!
In Episode 76 of The Freddie & Alyssa Show, they asked their listeners to post questions that they’d answer in future podcasts. I boldly went where no me has gone before: the comment section of YouTube.
In Episode 80, whose question was answered at 9:38?
They picked my question and talked about it! What do I win?!
Discovering new music is something I’ve struggled with since the disappearance of record stores as I’ve previously posted. Ever the dutiful student, I downloaded TikTok. (I haven’t played with it yet, but I downloaded it!)
Pandora is best at predicting music you’d like to hear, which creeps me out, but that’s my parents talking. No one is trying to “get me” with songs, Mom!
This is way more fun than I thought it would be. So, the next step in my newfound celebrity stalking… Should it be to get another question answered? To get a reply to a tweet? Get them to follow me back? Comment below or send me a message!
For the record, there’s another fabulous celebrity Freddie in my twitter-verse. The one who’s already tweeted me back twice.
If FPJr. can get past my horrible Fedtival typo, so can you.
I am definitely not Coronavirus-ing today. Instead, let’s do Chapter 8 Pivot Your Activity. Drop some knowledge, Alyssa and Freddie!
There are 3 kinds of activity that make your plans come to life. C activity, B activity and A activity.
C activity is research. Immersing yourself and learning as much as you can. Freddie uses baseball to illustrate: learning the rules, reading books, studying statistics, watching baseball on TV.
B activity is preparation. Buying a glove and bat, getting a group together to play at a park on the weekend.
A activity is action. Showing up at the park and playing baseball.
Freddie’s point is you can research and prepare ’til the cows come home, but you won’t know how to play baseball until you play baseball. His illustrates this further with his web series Addicts Anonymous.
He and his friends wrote the scripts, raised money, hired actors, got cameras, sweet-talked their way onto a college campus to film it and just did it, learning about marketing, fundraising, acting and directing along the way. Sure, they could have helped themselves a bit if they’d researched and prepared for some things in advance but the point is, the best teacher is experience.
My parents used to make elaborate plans to renovate our house. They would draw floor plans, argue over sofa styles, and have serious discussions about whether or not to add a bay window to the south side of the house. They made these sort of plans through their entire marriage. Once in high school I went to a friend’s house and was astounded to find his mother peeling wallpaper off the walls of their dining room. Mrs. Hymowitz was sick of it and was changing it. Right then and there. I was stunned. People actually made changes to their houses without months or years of design plans?
Mrs. H was all about A activity. Renovation plans were basically foreplay for my parents.
So, it’s no surprise that I hang out a lot in B and C activity. Especially when it comes to writing. I make schedules, I google stuff, I spend time following writers on twitter (#writingcommunity), I strategize how to query an agent… all before I have any completed writing to share, much less sell. For me, B and C activity help mask fear, which must be pivoted from!
So how do you get yourself to do A activity? Researching how won’t help – hey, that’s B activity (or maybe C activity?) Whatever, it’s not A activity!
Do your thing. Write a page. Submit your resume. Pick up the guitar. Run the Couch-to-5K app.
The only way to do A activity is to do it.
I can’t deny it. Pivoting my mindset to live like a millennial has really turned my life around. Since November 16, 2019, I’ve lost over 20 pounds, upgraded my employment, seriously improved my social media, and faced some of my worst bullsh*t.
But, I am starting to question this decision. Because even though my millennial gurus are self-quarantining in LA (omg they are so cute, check out their podcast), the rest of you millennials are freaking selfish, or crazy, or oblivious! Look at you with no sh*ts to give about spreading the coronavirus:
Dr. Deborah Brix continues to appeal to the millennial ego. “I’m going to call on that group…we need them to be healthy,” she coyly told America during today’s Presidential coronavirus press conference, “We cannot have these large gatherings that continue to occur throughout the country for people who are off work to then be socializing in large groups and spreading the virus.”
Get it together, millennials! Even Hilary Duff is yelling at you!
It seems millennials aren’t taking the coronavirus seriously. Instead of self quarantining, they’re taking advantage of cheap flights and making travel plans. I get this mentality, considering millennials are drowning in debt. Get the cheap rates while you can, live while you can, because the future is not guaranteed.
The baby boomers in charge know how to appeal to the millennial ego.
“Right now we need the army of millennials out there doing everything that they can to protect themselves from getting infected because we know a lot of their cases will be mild or asymptomatic, and making sure that they’re doing every single precaution to protect their parents and grandparents.” White House coronavirus response coordinator Dr. Deborah Birx details new plans to curb the spread of COVID-19. Good Morning America 3/17/2020
Boomers aren’t doing too good of a job self-quarantining either, and they’re freaking out their millennial offspring. Millennials have to tell their boomer folks to turn off Fox News and take the coronavirus seriously.
“I can report the sky is absolutely falling, we’re all doomed, the end is near,” Sean Hannity said on his show February 26, adding, “Or at least that’s what the media mob and the Democratic extreme, radical socialist party want you to think.”
And Generation X? We’re bragging that we can entertain ourselves thanks to our latchkey-kid upbringing. Millennials hit back:
“I think Generation X is the last generation to grow up in the real world,” a girlfriend said over lunch. “We actually talk to people. In person. And on the phone. My kid never answers her phone. She refuses to call anyone, especially a business. If she can’t find it on the internet, she’ll go without. She’s on her smartphone obsessively but won’t ever use the phone part.”
“Why are you so obsessed with millennials?” my husband demanded. “They are the worst. They’re so entitled! And not for nothing, but avocado toast is just guacamole on bread.”
“You know what Generation X gave the world?” my friend Phil asked. “Internet porn. You’re welcome.”
It’s been 114 days (3 months and 22 days) since I decided to change my life by thinking like a millennial and follow Freddie Smith and Alyssa Tabit’s The Pivot Principle (audiobook here).
Millennial-ing: When I needed glasses, I went to Warby Parker. Easiest exam and glasses purchase I’ve ever made. I now adore ThirdLove bras. I’m not a fan of having so many monthly subscriptions: quip toothbrushes, Harry razor blades, ipsy makeup samples, YouTube, amazon music, DisneyPlus, CBS… I feel out of control of my money. And I haven’t had avocado toast yet. That sh*t is expensive in NYC.
New Job: It’s been up-and-down, getting used to a new commute, new office, new people and new responsibilities. I think I’ll get the hang of it after I’ve been there for a full year. This is a test of patience and perseverance. (Finally being paid what I’m worth ain’t too shabby.)
THE PIVOT PRINCIPLE
Chapter 10, Pivot Your Health: I’ve only been able to go to my new gym twice. My job’s busy time is February and March, unfortunately, so there have been way more late nights than I expected. I hope my schedule evens out – Snatched in Six Weeks starts today! Since November I’ve lost 20 pounds and can wear my sparkle coat, two victories I’ll gladly take!
Intro: I have a post-it with Alyssa’s quote at my new office…
Chapter 1, Pivot from Fear: How to work the rejection muscle as a writer? I’m tweeting short stories I wrote that were vetted by my writing group. I tweet them one at a time, line by line. I finally got a couple of likes last week, but overall it’s been a one-sided experience.
Chapter 2, Pivot from Excuses: My ego is still sore learning that I’m full of lame excuses. Now that I know, I can’t make those excuses anymore. My plan of action: my brain is better in the morning than at night. I set my alarm 30 minutes earlier so I can budget a full hour of writing before work. It’s working! I’ve already revised two short stories and began a world-building document for a time travel novel.
Chapter 5, Pivot on Purpose: This one still stings too, worse than Chapter 2. Replacing “I don’t have time for _____” with “_____ isn’t a priority” is burned into my brain. I’m glad for it because it’s forced me to face a lot of my own bullsh*t.
Chapter 11, Pivot to Social Media: I WIN!
Chapter 5, Pivot on Purpose, is a spiritual kick in the stomach. With stilettos.
At 8:12, Alyssa says:
Any time you catch yourself about to say, “I don’t have the time for _____,” stop and say “_____ is not a priority.”
I don’t have the time to work out. My health isn’t a priority.
I don’t have the time to write. My art isn’t a priority.
I don’t have the time to meal prep. Nutrition isn’t a priority.
Oh, Alyssa. I adore you. But today I kind of hate you.
At 9:00, she says, “It stings to hear, but it’s a necessary lesson.”
I jumped to Chapter 11, Pivot to Social Media. Alyssa talks about how your social media profiles are your calling card to the world, and how knowing how to use social media tools is vital for employment, collaborations, and connections. She then goes over ways to present yourself positively, from variety in your profile pictures to posting as if you’re having a conversation rather than posting “at” someone. There’s a lot of great advice, especially for beginners like me.
I’m not nearly as social media savvy as most millennials or even Generation X. I can’t blame this on a generation thing. My husband handles most of our social media. Back in November after listening to the Intro chapter (which was a very powerful experience), I tweeted my very first tweet tagging a celebrity:
Ehrmahgaaaaah, Alyssa liked my Tweet!
Then I got bolder and a few weeks later, this happened:
Ever the dutiful student, I poked around Twitter and found some incredibly enthusiastic DAYS fans to follow. It’s super-fun to see what is live-tweeted when an episode airs.
I also found a great community of fellow writers. We hold each other accountable to deadlines and promote each other’s accomplishments. I’ll be wasting a lot of time on twitter in the near future.
Instagram is less community-oriented so far, much more self-promoting. I’m probably using it wrong. Even so, I made a fantastic connection via Instagram a few weeks ago:
Billy Flynn just starred in a play in LA called Disposable Necessities. It’s the marriage of two of my favorite things: science fiction and live theater. There was no way I could get to LA to see it so I DM’d Rogue Machine Theater and asked if the playwright was selling the script (which they often do, especially in off-Broadway or regional theaters, to help raise money for the theater). A few hours later, Neil McGowan himself DM’d me and arranged for me to get a copy! I couldn’t believe it! The script is amazing. The play just closed and I’m so bummed I couldn’t see it! I hope it comes to NYC for a run.
Pre-Pivot, I wouldn’t have reached out to the theater in the first place. I’d have been too shy.
SUPPORT LIVE THEATER!
Chapter 2 is incredibly personal.
Most DAYS fans know about Alyssa’s and Freddie’s car accident in October 2014. Freddie takes us through the accident and the aftermath, and Alyssa shares the mental and emotional steps she took to heal her whole self while in recovery.
I swear, these two. How they saved themselves and each other is truly awe inspiring. The car accident wasn’t their only tragedy, either. When they were down, life kicked them in the collective nuts a few more times. (I won’t get into detail here because seriously, you should listen to this chapter right now.) They faced all of it with the mutual decision to learn from the events and to not make excuses when life was sh*tty. They each could have crumbled under the weight of these incidents, but they showed up to life every day with a positive attitude. They pushed themselves and pulled each other along.
I now understand why these two millennials are wise beyond their years. I’m so grateful I found their audiobook. Who would have ever thought that indulging in a sudsy soap opera when I was so sad would lead to so much positive change in my life. I hope I can thank them someday.
At the end, they present questions to help you pivot from your most-used excuses. I was like, I don’t make excuses. I have real-life reasons why I don’t write or exercise, which you celebrities don’t understand! I don’t get up early to work out because I need to sleep. I have a demanding job. Sometimes I’m up too late the night before – it’s my only time to catch up on my binge shows, or I get sucked into social media. I could hit the gym after work, except I’m usually too tired, or we have plans. I don’t write in the mornings because that’s my time to work out. My brain is too fried at night to be creative.
Oh my god, do you see this? I’m not only full of excuses, they are LAME.
What do these excuses actually do for me? They must serve some purpose because I make them all the time.
I think excuses help me placate my ego. If I have an excuse for not trying, I’m not exactly failing because I plan to try. Excuses enable me to fantasize that I’ll succeed without putting in any of the work. I keep my hopes and dreams alive because of the illusion that I’m working on it.
Oh, man. I am my own worst enemy. I’ve got to break this self-sabotaging behavior.
“Don’t wait until tomorrow,” Freddie says. “Please don’t give us that excuse.”
January 16, 2020. It took me exactly two months to get back to The Pivot Principle. I’d been on a serious roll just from the Intro and Chapter 10, and I was eager to see what else Freddie and Alyssa had to teach me. I dove right in to Chapter 1: Pivot from Fear.
There is a lot of valuable material in this chapter. You should listen for yourself. Here are the top things that spoke to me:
Freddie: I’ve been on 500 auditions. I was told “no“ for 485 of them. The other 15 made my career. That’s a 97% rejection rate. 97%!!
Freddie: Ask yourself, “Why do I care if someone rejects me?” I’ve never asked myself why I care about rejection, especially from strangers. In my late 20s, I quit my entire life to break into television and it was a disaster. I was rejected from loads of jobs, and when I finally got a job, I was told “no” every single day in one way or another. It was a demoralizing experience but it didn’t break me. It’s like I worked my rejection muscle really hard during that time, but now it’s soft as I’ve become comfortable.
Freddie: Rejection is inevitable so you may as well go for it. If you don’t try, you definitely fail. If I could withstand a 97% rejection rate like Freddie, then I go into it knowing that most strangers won’t like my writing. OMG! I get it: It’s not personal. That’s how Freddie lets the rejections roll off! That’s how he stays true to himself! MIND BLOWN.
Alyssa: To reach new heights, you have to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. I’m more comfortable eating whatever I want and complaining about my weight than denying myself junk food. I’m more comfortable living a life where writing comes last than I am with doing whatever it takes to write every day. Change takes effort. I’m not making any effort. I’m very much into instant gratification. I’m not stuck. I’m…lazy. I’m very uncomfortable learning this about myself. Darn you, Alyssa.
Alyssa: There is no perfect moment. “Being ready” is an excuse. Seriously, how is she this wise at 30?
Alyssa: How are you going to put yourself out there and work on your fear and rejection muscles? I don’t know. What do unpublished writers do to put themselves out there? It’s got to be more than send query letters to agents. Looks like I just gave myself a research project.