I’ve exclusively pulled quotes from The Martha Rules by Martha Stewart in this list. Although the catalog of Martha’s words is vast, I concentrated on this particular material because she wrote the book after her release from Alderson Federal Prison Camp.
Martha’s incarceration was a turning point for me, as I wasn’t previously a fan. She conducted herself with such grace and dignity while imprisoned, rising to the occasion by making friends and ponchos that I couldn’t help but alter my opinion.
Then, when I made her buttercream recipe for the first time, I became solidly Team Martha. And that’s why I ultimately chose to follow Martha Stewart’s dictates for a year in my year-long happiness quest, documented in my newest memoir The Tao of Martha.
“There is always value, even among the ashes.”
This quote speaks to me because it so closely mirrors my own life. When I lost my job, my fancy apartment, and my car after the dot com crash, I wasn’t sure what to do with my life. I began to write to vent my frustration. The more I wrote, the more I felt like I’d stumbled upon the proper path and those rants eventually became Bitter is the New Black, my first memoir. Ten books later, I’m so thankful because the ashes are what brought me here.
“So the pie isn’t perfect? Cut it into wedges?”
I love this quote for a couple of reasons; first, it implies that everything can be salvaged by simply changing your perspective. The primary purpose of the pie is to be eaten and admiring it for its aesthetics is secondary.
In addition, the quote speaks to the notion of always having a contingency plan, not only for the significant events in life, but also when, say, my horrible cats knock over an entire vase of fresh-cut apple blossoms on the buffet table right before Easter brunch. (I quickly learned when I don’t have an extra clean tablecloth, a hair dryer will dry up the mess in a pinch.)
“Think like a customer.”
Simply put, I write the kind of books I’d want to buy when walking through a Barnes & Noble.
“Different is not always better.”
There’s a reason that every wheel is and has been round since the beginning of man’s existence. I figure I can always differentiate myself by making my wheels smaller or larger or with higher-quality materials (or, in the spirit of Martha, covered in glitter), but the round part remains key.
“When you love what you do, it’s not work.”
Ten books into my career, I’m still so excited to sit down at my desk every single day. It’s an honor and a privilege to write professionally. I thank the readers and Barnes & Noble for allowing me to make a living doing that which I’d previously done for free.
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