Napoleon Hill’s 2nd Key to Success: Establish a Mastermind Alliance

Okay, time to get real. I’ve been dragging my feet on this key, because I didn’t think I had a Mastermind Alliance, which Hill defines as “… two or more minds working actively together in perfect harmony toward a common definite object.”

Although I certainly appreciate the importance of forming a Mastermind Alliance, I have no clue how to put one together for myself, right now, today. Sure, I started a new Writer’s Group. That’s great. We all want to write screenplays, get better at writing screenplays, and get paid to write screenplays. But in terms of a group of people working towards a common definite purpose, does it fit the bill? They like me and want me to be successful, I think, but they aren’t working towards my success.  And I’m not working towards theirs either. Except, in giving each other support and positive feedback, helpful insights and criticism, we do make each other’s work better.

If I had an agent, a manager, or a writing partner, they could be part of my alliance. But I don’t have any of those. They would certainly want the same things I want – for me to make money and have a rewarding writing career. When I have a job in TV, a mastermind alliance will take place in the writer’s room, because we will all be working towards the same goal of a great next episode of the show.

But that’s all in the future. What about now, when I have to do the really hard work of getting to the show that I will eventually work on? Who will help me now? Okay, there is the former teacher who has always been a cheerleader for me, and made me feel good about all the effort I put in. I suppose he is working towards my success. He is always willing to give me honest and helpful feedback that makes my writing better.

Then there’s my husband and kids. My two teenagers have been my greatest supporters. They have both had unwavering faith in my ability to be a success, and endless patience with me during the process.  Although they pay the price for my dream by living with a mom who isn’t as available to them as I’d like to be, they never complain. They are glad I am doing something that makes me happy. They help me stay up on pop culture, slang and what their friends are watching. They even, once in a while, pick up some of the slack on the housework that gets neglected so I can put more time in writing. Wow. They are definitely working for a common purpose.

I can’t even begin to tell you how supportive my husband has been. In a way, I think it’s harder for him than the kids. For one thing, I’m quite unavailable in the role he needs me to fill as administrative assistant for his home-based business. Other than typing the occasional letter and sending out a report here and there, he’s on his own. He works hard, makes most of the money, and believes in me with almost the same naiveté as the kids do. And he’s a tough, cynical Irishman, so that is saying a lot. And he does it while hardly ever complaining that he does most of the shopping and it’s sometimes difficult to find a clean pair of socks.

Then there’s my sister, my nieces, and my two best girlfriends, who always find time to support me and put up with my absent-minded ways when we’re supposed to be having lunch, but I’m up in my head, writing.  There are the Social Networking sites, the online groups I belong to, the networking events I attend. Oh, and the wonderful people who read my blog, and write blogs that help me.

It seems I’ve been building a Mastermind Alliance without even knowing it. And it’s a damn powerful one.

Do you have a mastermind alliance? If you are working hard at a dream, the support shows up. I would love to hear about yours.


Great article by David Mamet

In my opinion, what David suggests in this article is some of the best advice I’ve ever heard on screenwriting. I couldn’t wait to share the link: Ican’t wait to read some more of this blog by David Chen. It looks amazing.


The best days are the days we get to write. It flows, and the time allotted flies by. Those are the days we leave the computer wishing for more time, longing for the moment we can return. We think about it all day, and even sometimes write in our sleep. Those moments of reverie between sleeping and waking are the best of all. The answers come. The truth about how your character has to respond in a situation that was puzzling you, or where you went wrong in the battle scene.
Other days aren’t so fun. Those days, we have to don our editor’s cap and do the outlining, the revisions, the cutting. Sometimes it feels like slogging through quicksand. The worst thing we can do on those days is invite the muse in, let her take over, and give in to creativity. Because without the editor, we can never finish, we can’t polish, we can’t see what’s missing, or what isn’t working. We certainly can’t “murder our darlings.” The editor is every bit as important as the writer. And they don’t always get along. It’s best to keep them separate.
I have a routine worked out for when I’m stuck. First of all, I set the timer for 15 minutes, and continue to work on what I was working on. Sometimes that solves the dilemma. If the timer goes off, and I’m still miserable, I do something else. Sometimes it means skipping a scene and going to one I feel better about. Sometimes I work backwards, and sometimes I switch tasks entirely. There are two things I try not to do. One is switch between my writer and editor caps, and the other is to leave a session stuck.
Whenever I switch from editor to writer in one session, I usually end up writing something that I won’t use. That’s a waste of precious writing time. If I leave a session feeling stuck, that’s worse. It means that I will not want to return, I’ll have to wrestle myself back into the chair and I’ll still have to deal with the stuck part when I finally do overcome procrastination. If instead, I find a more pleasant way to end the session, I won’t have given myself another reason to avoid writing. Life gives me plenty of those already.

Defiance: Friend or Foe?

DEFIANCE: friend or foe?

I’ve always been defiant. Even when I was a little girl, my parents knew that the last way to get me to do something was to tell me to do it. I could be reasoned with, cajoled, asked or bribed, but never ordered.

Through the years, my defiance has gotten me into a lot of trouble. It’s put me at odds with supervisors, clients and friends. It has definitely caused some fights between my husband and me.

When it comes to my writing, though, I can use my defiance to my advantage. True, I often rebel against my own action plans and schedules. That’s okay, as long as things get done in a reasonable time frame, and deadlines are met.

So where does all this defiance help out? It helps when no one but me really cares whether I write or not; when no one thinks I will ever get anywhere as a screenwriter. I’m too old to start, the jobs are too hard to get, and I don’t know the right people. Sometimes the messages come from family and friends, and sometimes from inside me. My defiance says “I’ll prove you wrong.” Sometimes it says “That may be true for the rest of the world, but not for me.”

You can call it tenacity, fortitude, persistence, dedication or self-discipline. All of those words are applicable to my pursuit of a screenwriting career.  But when I’m sitting in front of my computer writing a screenplay, it doesn’t feel like any of those words apply. It feels like I’m where I’m supposed to be, doing what I’m supposed to be doing. It feels like home.

That’s where my good friend Defiance steps up and says, “I will do this for a living, because I’m good at it. Nothing anyone says can stop me.”