Since returning from Asia, I have worked hard at getting my newspaper column syndicated in national papers and magazines. I first had to crank out some of the articles about my trip and current events issues. Then I had to edit hundreds of photos taken while in Tibet, Nepal, and India for my web site. Having completed all that, I planned to start writing to syndicates inquiring into writing for them.

After logging hundreds of hours behind the computer writing essays and editing photos, I was finally ready to begin looking for syndication. My web site featured over 700 photos of my trip to Asia and numerous reprinted articles about the trip and the recent acts of terrorism. I planned to send potential syndicates photocopies of some of my articles and suggest that they visit my web site for a more complete picture of my work. After completing the photo gallery and adding a couple of new articles, I uploaded the work to my web site.

A day later, my Webmaster's server went down. This resulted in losing much of my work. Consequently, I had to start all over adding headers, footers, backgrounds, and general editing of each of the photos and their index pages. Talk about a Herculean effort. After working until 3:00am for a week, I finally got back to where I was when the server went down and was ready to begin my search for syndication, fortune, and fame.

Then, just as I was about set to start shipping off packets of samples of my writing, anthrax started showing up in mailrooms and offices. In the wake of the anthrax breakout, health authorities advised everyone to be careful of suspicious envelopes or packages in their mail. The anthrax scare had created a horrible problem for me. I was about to send out large envelopes to people that didn't know me. I feared that they would merely throw away my packet of material fearing that my literary work was laced with anthrax. Now, what would I do?

My first thought that I could indicate on the outside of the package what was enclosed on the inside. I could write on the envelope: "This package doesn't contain a biochemical treat." Or "Drop dead reading material." Well, it wasn't long before I realized that my labeling idea was flawed. So, I sat down in front of my computer to think through my dilemma. The game plan, which I developed, could work for you when facing your problems that life throws you. Here are the steps that I am employing to guarantee success:

  • Make the problem into a game. Getting syndicated especially nowadays is a real pain or else I would have already obtained the goal. Therefore, I ease the pain by turning it into a game. It's me against the world-including even insane terrorists.
  • I assume that I will win the battle. I have a positive mental attitude about the outcome of my dilemma-thinking negatively will merely make the task more disagreeable and will create a defeatist attitude on my part.
  • Develop a strategy for success and implement it. I decided on a winning strategy by analyzing the problem and then decided upon a way to solve it. I'm now in the implementing stage of my plan.
  • Play all the angles. I won't limit my attack to old tried and true methods. New situations call for new or novel approaches. I have brainstormed with others and developed new ways to attack the syndication objective.
  • Make setbacks work for me. I'm incorporating problems into my plan for success. For example, I'm making personal calls to tell perspective syndicates that I am sending them a packet. This allows some personal contact with them that I wouldn't have had if it had not been for the anthrax scare.
  • Find humor in the problem. If I look for humor in this task, I will find it and it will make the journey toward journalistic recognition a more pleasant experience. I have already made for a funny column.

I have employed these tactics to my syndicating goal and expect that they will assist me in reaching it. If you follow these suggestions, you too, will able to make even things like anthrax work for you.

This article appeared in the Dixon Telegraph on 11/8/01.