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New World Library Unshelved

New World Library Unshelved

Positive news and inspiring views from the New World Library community

Thursday, July 16, 2015
NEW WORLD LIBRARY STAFF PICK: Publicity Director Monique Muhlenkamp Recommends GET IT DONE by Sam Bennett
Truth: I am a recovering sock drawer organizer and silverware polisher. Those were my go-to tasks that suddenly became oh-so-important when I got overwhelmed by the creative project I really wanted to tackle. When it comes to my personal creative life, I needed some direction and help getting past two pesky p words: procrastination and perfectionism.

That’s why I was so excited to apply the processes in Get It Done: From Procrastination to Creative Genius in 15 Minutes a Day by Sam Bennett to get my project off the ground. She had me when she said this: “What those who finish projects have that others don’t is creative genius, which consists of clarity, motivation, and the ability to get past their own anxieties to get their work out there.”

Well, I had a smattering of clarity and motivation — and a heck of a lot of anxieties to get past.

For years I had intended to open up an Etsy shop to sell my small, handmade fabric flower pins. But wait! I could also sell select vintage clothing and household items that I found in my travels. Oh yes, I could post that Fiestaware, and that killer dress, and that fabulous hat with the feathers, and the pink flamingo serving platter. And down the rabbit hole I went with all the things I would have to do to get this up and running. Today. Right now. And then, right on cue, I heard the siren call of the unruly sock drawer. . . .

One of the things I like about Sam and Get It Done is that she got inside my head in a good way. If you’re creative, she’ll get inside your head too. Trust me. She’s one of us. She knows exactly why we creative types stall out, and she addresses every issue — the stumbling blocks of “getting ready to get ready” and how to figure out “which of your 37 projects to tackle first” (see page 7 to get over that hump). Or clobbering the idea that others seem to have more hours in their days (page 111). She provides concrete tools and exercises to pursue ideas, start prioritizing, break projects down into manageable chunks, and take those ideas (and finished products) out into the world. Successfully. And did I mention she’s funny? She worked at the renowned Second City Theatre in Chicago (also the comedy alma mater of such talent as Steve Carell and Stephen Colbert), and her delightful sense of humor makes regular appearances, so be ready for lots of good belly-laughs.

Sam’s guidance actually got me going on my Etsy shop! First, I named my project. I called it Die Monique’s Fabrik. This made me smile: a play on my love of fabric and my love of the German language, it translates as “Monique’s Factory.” But the Etsy project itself didn’t make me smile. It made me sigh. Luckily, I learned from Sam that being my charmingly quirky self not only made me smile, it spurred me on. And then I listed small steps that I could do (one every day) to give myself a sense of accomplishment. I did the simple but ingenious exercises, and there was more spurring. In a short period of time, I was up and running and selling a few items here and there. For me, money wasn’t the object — though Sam addresses that particular sticky wicket in the book (page 95) for those who do want to quit their day job. That’s certainly not me. I simply had an idea that I wanted to complete, and by taking cues from Sam’s playbook (see what I did there?) I got it done.

On that note, I am going to sign off on this blog. I set my timer for fifteen minutes (following Sam’s advice) and stayed the course (besides nixing the habit, there’s no sock drawer in my office), and now it’s time for me to go home. Wait! I hear Sam. She’s in my head again.... “Your version of a C is probably everybody else’s version of an A.” Take that, perfectionism!


Monique M. Muhlenkamp has been a lifelong publishing professional, working at both college and independent bookstores before moving on to college textbook sales and then into the marketing departments at two Bay Area independent book publishers. She has been at New World Library for fifteen years.


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