On this blog every Tuesday and Friday I write about story techniques, structure, and/or publishing. Comments and questions are welcome. I also have a personal blog, Amy Deardon, on which I write about a variety of topics purely as they catch my fancy.

I've written one novel, A Lever Long Enough, that I'm honored to say has won two awards. In my life BC (before children) I was a scientist who did bench research.

My book, The Story Template: Conquer Writer's Block Using the Universal Structure of Story, is now available in both hard-copy and e-book formats. I also coach would-be novelists and screenwriters to develop their story. YOU CAN CONTACT ME at amydeardon at yahoo dot com.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Seven Effective Habits

Goal Setting:

Stephen Covey's book
The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People came out in 1989, and has sold over 15 million copies. He describes 7 ways of thinking that will allow success in life. Here they are:

1. Be Proactive: Principles of Personal Choice

To be proactive means that you take responsibility for the things that happen to you, instead of blaming others. You figure out what YOU can do rather than waiting for others to move.

2. Begin with the End in Mind: Principles of Personal Vision

Decide what you want to accomplish in life, rather than floating through day to day. Do some soul-searching and formulate a personal *mission statement*. Write down goals: where do you see yourself next year? In five years? Then break down your goals into monthly and weekly targets.

3. Put First Things First: Principles of Integrity and Execution

The urgent things that assail you are not always the most important things. Find other ways to get the urgent things done, such as delegating tasks, and focus on what you want to accomplish.

4. Think Win/Win: Principles of Mutual Benefit

You don't have to have winners and losers: work for solutions that benefit others as well as yourself. When in conflict, get both parties working to solve the problem, rather than blaming each other.

5. Seek First to Understand, Then to be Understood: Principles of Mutual Understanding

The old saw goes *People don't care how much you know before they know how much you care* (about them). If you want to give advice, first make sure you understand where the person is coming from. Don't tell the person about your own experiences; just LISTEN!

6. Synergize: Principles of Creative Cooperation

Teamwork can exceed what each member could achieve on his own. Value the members of the team, be aware of individual strengths and weakness, and include everyone in the decisions to work toward a common goal.

7. Sharpen the Saw: Principles of Balanced Self-Renewal

Any machine will overheat if it isn't given a rest, and the same is true for people. Take the time you need to rejuvenate with activities and family. Also, take time to exercise and sharpen your mind.

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