C Tann-Starr's Outside Blog


Remember that good advice is harder to find than money...

Remember that good advice is harder to find than money...

My title is actually a quote from Penelope Trunk.

You can find it as item number four in her post entitled, "Get your next mentor by being slightly annoying."

Seriously... that's really the title... I'm not being facetious here... With a title like that how could you not read it? I was tempted the moment I saw the link. You have to admit that's a brilliant bit of word mastery that tickles the curiosity and makes one really tempted to take the bait.

Come on... you know you want to click that career advice link (LOL)

Turns out to be really good business advice because if you read my blog you know how annoying I can get (and become). Everything is a two way street with me and being a blunt person means I am liable to say just about anything. In this case, think of it as an exercise in equal opportunity shenanigans for the uninitiated (LOL). ;-)

In sum and substance here's some of what I learned today while lunching in Starbucks giggling over PT's get a mentor advice. I quote:

1. Don’t be discouraged by lack of response.

2. Find the person’s weakness, so you know where you can help him.

3. Be real. No one wants to mentor someone who is perfect.

4. Remember that good advice is harder to find than money.

5. In the end, you want the mentor to care about you as a person.

If the brief outline catches your eye then click the above link and go read her post to find out all the interesting stories you're missing under those headers.

Penelope also has a related post entitled, "Job hunt tip: The mentor matters more than the company," that's an excellent read. She talks about her writing mentor Jim and has inspired me to high-jack poor Emelia to test a few of my book chapters on before I e-mail my editor.

Penelope's advice may help some of you with your blogging habits as well. I'll leave you with a teaser quote to ponder before I go to Brooklyn on my photography session with Emmy:

"Read something you wrote out loud to a friend. If it's bad, you'll feel right away that boredom has overcome the room. If you have even one flat sentence, you hear it when you read it out loud. The first time Jim heard me read my writing, he said it was the best he’d heard anyone read in his class in a long time. Then he slashed everything I wrote for the next six years. Sometimes I'd hand in three pages of writing and he'd leave only five sentences. But this is the thing about those five sentences: they were great. And here's why I became a dedicated follower: Because I felt like he understood my compulsive need to write my life. And I understood his goal, which was to have interesting sentences. So when he cut full paragraphs that I thought were important because my sentences were boring, I felt grateful that he saved me from banality." - Penelope Trunk

I am going to get me a writing mentor...

I am going to annoy someone into mentoring me.

I will try to do this with less than 15 e-mails... which should be very interesting (LOL). What is the point of getting good advice if you don't take it, eh? ;-)





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Comment balloon 31 commentsC Tann-Starr • April 15 2011 12:00PM


Awesome blog, Tann!  I can be annoying....

Posted by Linda K. Mayer, Realtor, SRES, SoCAL, A REALTOR YOU CAN TRUST (License # 01767321) over 9 years ago

LOL @ Linda. According to hubby there are days when he thinks that I think being annoying is an art form. Especially when I am being socially retarded during dysfunctional family outings (LOL). ;-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

David, it really is amazing. I shall have to do this more often. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago
Very well written. It is something to try
Posted by Scott Godzyk, One of the Manchester NH's area Leading Agents (Godzyk Real Estate Services) over 9 years ago

I enjoyed your blog post! Thank you for sharing it with us!

Posted by Sarasota & Manatee Counties FL, QuickFreeMLS.com - Listings In Paradise (SaraMana Properties - QuickFreeMLS.com) over 9 years ago

I am going over to read the post.  Looks like there is a lot of good advice.  I have had a couple of great menors, but I have had a couple that weren't so great. 

Posted by Joan Whitebook, Consumer Focused Real Estate Services (BHG The Masiello Group) over 9 years ago

Great blog. The original idea of mentoring comes from Socrates. A mentee would engage someone he wanted to learn from (the mentor). The mentee would drive the relationship. It seems you are on the correct track!

Posted by Sandra Corrigan (CEO/Owner/Team Leader/Keller Williams Executives Realty LLC) over 9 years ago

"When the pupil is ready, the teacher appears. " Also true, when the teacher is ready, the pupil appears. I agree with both. I had some excellent professors in college studying English, and I am sure I annoyed some of them at times.

Posted by J. Philip Faranda, Broker-Owner (J. Philip Faranda (J. Philip R.E. LLC) Westchester County NY) over 9 years ago

Learn something new every day!

Posted by Chris Lefebvre, Methuen MA Real Estate Pro (eXp Realty) over 9 years ago

The best I've read today!  Thank you so much for sharing that with us...

All the best!

Posted by Martin Lopez (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties) over 9 years ago

This is very enlightening.  Never really thought of it in these terms.  Great blog post.  :) Gail

Posted by Gail C. Harris, Reach the BEACH with Gail C. Harris (cell: 703.868 (Resource Network, LLC SFR, AHWD, ACRE, SMAR Board Director) over 9 years ago

You talk about being blunt, upfront. I think that is way way better than being secretive or playing games. The older I get the more I appreciate to the point folks and you don't have to wonder what they are thinking. In few words, it's out there and makes my job of fixing the problem or reacting to the raw reality, emotion way easier. Mentors, only advice is to have lots of them. One is not enough and you and I are probably going to die some day. There goes your mentor. Poof.

Posted by Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573, Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker (MOOERS REALTY) over 9 years ago

Super post.  Good to know that being a little annoying can be an asset. I'm going to check out the link.  Thx for sharing.

Posted by Debbie Gartner, The Flooring Girl & Blog Stylist -Dynamo Marketers (The Flooring Girl) over 9 years ago


I have learned to expand my horizons by seeking mentors in different disciplines ... and it has helped me tremendously. But it has to be a two-way relationship, and not just take, take take!

Posted by Richard Weisser, Richard Weisser Retired Real Estate Professional (Richard Weisser Realty) over 9 years ago
I like the part about being in Starbucks. That got my attention.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 9 years ago

What a cool blog and some great advice.  I don't know who I could get to mentor me for writing....but I sure need one :)!  I'm off to read the other one!

Posted by Brenda Mullen, Your San Antonio TX Real Estate Agent!! (RE/MAX Access) over 9 years ago

Hi C: You always write straight from the heart and it shows. It's probably one of the reasons why you are so successful and people are drawn to you. You can hear your voice in your words. And you don't beat around the bush. I like that. Plus, you make me laugh out loud, and a sense of humor is a key element in my book.

Posted by Elizabeth Weintraub Sacramento Realtor Top 1%, Put 40 years of experience to work for you (RE/MAX Gold) over 9 years ago
Love the blog and the bullet points. Thanks for sharing.
Posted by Mike Yeo (3:16 team REALTY) over 9 years ago

I agree with Elizabeth that this post comes straight from the heart. Lots of advice to reflect on with respect to my business, too.

Posted by Melissa Zavala, Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County (Broadpoint Properties) over 9 years ago

CTann - Loved this post,  as always your posts are entertaining as well as something that spurs my imagination for creativity.. Thanks again

Posted by Robert Hammerstein, Bergen County NJ Real Estate (Christie's International Real Estate ) over 9 years ago


My first stop after commenting on your post is to real Penelope's blog on mentoring.  I can be seriously annoying so finding a writing mentor should be a piece of cake.  Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Evelyn Kennedy, Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA (Alain Pinel Realtors) over 9 years ago

Thank you, Scott. I am taking a crack at it right now, then I'm off to Starbucks to flip music and answer my e-mail while enjoying some snacks. :-)

Thank you, SaraMana. :-)

Joan, I have seven and am looking for three more. I need one for music, one for art and one for writing. :-)

Sandra, I'm researching being a mentee (LOL). This is actually looking like a fun thing to do. I just have to figure out how to do this without driving people crazy. I received a few offers last night before I got the chance to annoy anyone. That was kind of ironic. I want to chase one down that I really like and have asked only two people. One in person and one by e-mail. My gal pal who was an English major in college doesn't think she can teach me so I may have to stick to chasing a social media peep. Fun is arguing with yourself to to go after the big ones one at a time until you get a definitve answer (or completely ignored - LOL). ;-)


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Agreed when in a relationship be it mentor, friendship or personal it is a two way street. As Richard mention it should not be all take--take.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 9 years ago

J Philip, I think my teacher may have appeared... Now I'm terrified that I may blow this because I really, really want to learn from this writer because she's absolutely fabulous. I am staring at my g-mail going OH CRAP - SHE'S HAPPY TO ANSWER MY QUESTIONS and I have lots and lots of questions. However, my brain is shutting down from the shock of possibly getting direct answers from a writer whose work I love.

I need to weed my list down to the most important ones... I want to dive into the unknown and suddenly find myself feeling a bit vulnerable and naked because you can't hide things from someone you want to mentor you. They can't help you if you are not honest about what's going on... The entire point of this is to fix what I am doing wrong and to become a better writer.

I am sitting on a book I have to hand over to my editor and I need to destroy it one more time with a final re-write. I have to not be the same writer I am right now to do this... I need to be a better writer. I want to be a better writer...


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Chris, I always look forward to learning something new. I also discovered having kids will do that to you (especially when they want to know the answers to their questions and you find yourself clueless but curious to know the solution as well). ;-)

Thank you, Martin. :-)

Gail, sometimes the best part of participating in social media are the conversations that make you think. I was struggling with a concept I couldn't articulate but became aware of when I started serial deleting draft after draft after draft. I was skipping my publication schedule while hoarding a lot of eye candy. I'd go out to film and shoot every day, then come back and not publish the work. Now I know why I started doing that. I was dissatisfied with what I was writing. I only post when I'm happy with what I have to say no matter how complicated or trivial. There's lots of personal trivia on my blog and I've lots more interesting little moments to share with you guys (LOL). ;-)

Andrew, that's a great point. I may have to chase a few more. There's so much to learn about the art of being creative. There are things I get intuitively and then there are things people are going to have to knock me upside the head with so I do not want my writing education to come to an abrupt halt with an untimely death. I have enough writer's angst to deal with without having to kick myself for failing to plan for the unexpected (LOL).

Thank you, Debbie. If you poke around on her website I bet she'll surprise you with all sorts of neat perspectives. :-)


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Carolyn, I don't believe in mentors. I believe in digesting good advice, which I agree is hard to find, that, which fits us, and incorporating it into our lives. There are too many gurus out there that are BS artists and long winded. Some people want mentors. I don't.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) over 9 years ago

Richard, I am hoping the writer I am chatting with will allow me to give her a thank you gift. I appreciate her taking the time to answer my questions. I just hung up from my editor and we had a marvelous chat about the direction I am going. Writing a book is a lot more complicated than writing a blog...

Cheryl, I will confess to spending an inordinate amount of time writing in coffee shops (said the girl who drinks tea - LOL). ;-)

Brenda, I am very fortunate that people are kind. Doing something new like sharing your intimate thoughts with someone who is going to opine in unexpected ways can be a wee bit scary. :-)


Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

C - Being out spoken is what I consider a great quality and something I appreciate in your blog posts.

Posted by Robin Scott, Broker, CRS, ABR, SRS, REALTOR® - Austin Texas (Robin Scott, REALTOR®) over 9 years ago

Hi guys! The e-mails have been fascinating on this. I guess it depends upon absorbing what is useful and disregarding the rest. For those who do not find it useful I can respect that and for those who do, cool. I find not having to reinvent the business wheel very useful (LOL). ;-)

Thank you, Robin. I am always joking that God gave me a big mouth for a reason. ;-)

Gary, having a mentor or two actually suits my personality. I like picking intelligent brains (LOL). ;-)

Loraine and Loretta K, very well said. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) over 9 years ago

Excellent information I will forward it if that is ok? thank you!!!

Posted by Dave Sullivan, Michigan Realtor with an investor viewpoint (Real Estate One) almost 8 years ago

Dave, have fun with it and enjoy. :-)

Posted by C Tann-Starr (Tann Starr & Associates, Inc.) almost 8 years ago

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