Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Six secrets of success - more butt-kicking advice from Maggie Stiefvater

I've written about Maggie Stiefvater a number of times on this blog. Maggie is an achiever. She's also a close friend and I 'speak' with her via email more or less every day so I have a little more insight than most into just how much she packs into her life - and how she gets what she wants.

One day very soon I'm going to get to write a post about Maggie which I'll be very proud to do as she's kind enough to regard me as one of the people who kicks her butt from time to time.......

Maggie's life is changing at the moment as the balancing scales of her working life load up with commitments on the author side and the balance switches from being a professional artist and painting to being a professional author and writing. However, even that is a gross simplification. For example I know that her high level summary of her life - below - leaves out some major activities of late.........
So here it goes. You all know what I do -- I have two toddlers, three editors working with me on four novels, a part-time art career, musical instruments I practice, meals to cook (I'm allergic to preservatives so everything has to be from scratch), blogs to write, etc. etc. I think I have a full, life, but I don't feel like I have an impossible life. It's a happy life doing what I love.
Six secrets of success

Last week Maggie shared her secrets of success in Virtual Sketching and Butt Kicking on her blog Greywaren Art (which is the one she writes when she's not writing Words on Words - her blog on writing, folklore and her first - soon to be published - novel.)
And here are the secrets to my success in this month's butt-kicking. Remember, butt-kickings are like hydrogen pyroxide -- if it stings it means it's working.
I'm just going to give you the headings - you need to go to her blog to read the rest.

1. Know What You Want

2. When You Say You Want it You Better Mean It

3. When You Really Want Something, You'll Get It

4. Know the Difference Between Can't and Won't

5. You are Your Own Best Friend

6. Who Are You?
It's a question of wanting it, people. It's why I like writing for teens. Do you remember being a teen? When you had dreams so big they actually hurt to think you wouldn't get them? You need to sweep away the years of cynicism and putting your dreams aside and really harness that wanting again. In the end, watching So You Think You Can Dance won't change your life. But finishing that drawing, writing that paragraph, planting that garden -- whatever your dream is -- that will.
Maggie has got it. She knows who she is, what she wants and how to get it - and she's knuckled down and put in the work....and Maggie has got it. Soon I'll be able to tell you what she got!

And if that's not enough, you can always read my previous posts about Maggie - see the links below. They contain lots of good advice and practical tips for all those people who really want to make their mark and live the life they dream of living.

Links to posts about Maggie Stiefvater on Making A Mark:


  1. as another who 'speaks' to her daily I can second that - she is the most organised and hard working people I know and achieves an absolutely incredible amount.

    We were talking earlier and I said

    'I saved that post of Maggies to pin on the studio wall! it was brilliant and said all the right things - I've always believed it's no good whingeing about lack of success or progress in art (or lots of other stuff in life) - those who succeed/progress work HARD and earn it. Kurt Jackson has a terrific work ethic for instance, working all day, every day, sketching, painting and creating - as does Maggie.

    Now those who know the right people and succeed with very little talent or work .... those I do moan about!'

    and another interesting follow up post before too long on this ..... ;>)

  2. I am an admirer of Maggie, also. She is really incredible...just dealing with the two toddlers would totally wear me out! Thanks for your references to some of her posts from last year. I will certainly check them out for her mature ( she looks like a little imp, doesn't she?) and to the point advice.

  3. Thanks for the lovely post, Katherine -- I hope it can be helpful to some folks in a rut. And I'm really excited about the big news that I can share soon. :)

  4. When ambitition and talent intersect with organized focused earnest effort good things ensue. Thanks for sharing the butt-kicking inspiration!

  5. I wish I could share Maggie's success story with every beginning artist or writer or whatever you want to be.

    So many people believe that you get success given to you on a plate, not that it takes years of hard work, taking risks, making investments of time and money to get where you want to be. And that doesn't stop when you reach that point. If you slow down or stop, so does everything else.

  6. Inspirational and powerful!!!!!!!!!!!!! Almost brought me to tears with my heart!

  7. As well as Maggie's obvious talent for her writing and art, she has the rare ability to motivate through 'cyberspace'
    You are an inspiration Maggie and I'm glad I can count you as a friend.

  8. Awesome is often used in comments, but Maggie really is awesome - I'm printing out the butt-kicks and giving them to my daughters of about her age (plus try and take them onboard myself, if a bit late!)

  9. I'll make sure Maggie gets to hear about that one Cathy!

    Brilliant comments everybody - and I know Maggie ie reading them.

  10. Thanks everyone for the comments. You guys are making me blush -- I'm quite overwhelmed.

  11. Every creative type should read "A Whole New Mind" which will show that earning an MFA vs a MBA is much more regarded. It is a wonderful read to show how it is important to design or make art that is beautiful, meaningful and unique. Teaching Art and Design in our schools needs to be supported. We as Artists must support, encourage and foster this for our children. Maggie is incredibly energetic and that is always a plus for any Mom and all artists!
    Great list! Back to work!

  12. Hmmm - I've seen and heard from an awful lot of artists who knew they were in need of a good dose of business education and left brain organisation!

    Being creative is good but it doesn't pay the rent unless you also balance it out with some good business sense and practices.

    That's coming from somebody who took up art again after getting her MBA 20 years ago - so I'm biased!

    What I'm puzzled about is why the concepts outlined in the book (as set out in wikipedia) are seen somehow to be both new and the preserve of the creative and right-brainers. I was studying them 20 years ago on my MBA course - and have used them repeatedly in business and consultancy over the years! (Show people the big picture, tell them a story etc.)


COMMENTS HAVE BEEN SUSPENDED AGAIN due to very silly ignorant people who leave spam comments without realising they have no benefit for them.

Please feel free to comment on my Facebook Page as my blog posts are always posted there (but please note anonymous comments are not published and I block and report spammers to Google and on Facebook)

Note: only a member of this blog may post a comment.