Dana Martin Writing

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A [mostly amusing] blog about travel, life, and TSA pat-downs
Dana Martin Writing

“E” is for Education

A-Z Blogging Challenge 2018

Today flew by in a flurry of appointments and responsibilities, and now nighttime is already locking up and getting ready to call it a day. And I, loyal reader, am only now sitting down to write my “E” blog post.

Writers are a weird breed of idea-havers. We have ideas for stories littering our desks, written in margins, saved as notes in our phones, or (dangerously) stuck in our heads. All we need is time, we say, TIME to let the ideas come to life, to let our characters live and breathe among the other, less worthy, time wasters on our laptops. If we just had TIME, we’d be the next J.K. Rowling or Stephen King.

Well, that’s what I tell myself.

But force us to write something on a random (if self-imposed) topic, and suddenly those amazing, original thoughts have all given way to cricketless silence.

This blog challenge is ripping me from my comfort zone to require that I write something every day. Something of substance.

Something other than the hilarious text messages I send to my friends.

However, in the spirit of the challenge, I submit my submission for the letter “E” – Education.

Because my theme is “Business” I want to address how important learning is, even after you’ve reached an enviable level of success. For the sake of this blog, I’ll use my experience in my own industry, but the information here is applicable in any industry you work.

Recently, I attended the TransWorld’s Halloween and Attractions Show. People (I’m married to) ask me why I attend shows like this when I don’t have a haunted learn something schoolhouse escapesattraction anymore. My answer is A) I don’t have another haunted attraction yet, B) I am between attractions, C) the networking, and D) the education.

The networking is most likely my “N” word, so provided I don’t fizzle out between now and a week from Monday, you’ll get some pretty funny stories in that blog post. So onward with education.

In my industry, we are lucky to have attraction owners who’ve operated haunted houses for 30 years, newcomers in the industry who’ve operated less than 10 years, and everyone in between, all willing to share some aspect of business they’ve learned through trial and error that will help the rest of us avert problems and avoid making the same mistakes. This. Is. Valuable. Stuff.

early convention

some seminars are reeeeeeally early in the morning

We can never know it all in any industry, and once we commit to educating ourselves for life, I think we have a much greater chance at [even greater] success. For example, as I took one particular seminar few weeks ago, I looked among the crowd and saw, surprisingly, an award-winning, innovative, ground-breaking owner I knew scribbling notes as fast as he could. But the idea that stood out to me was this: his contemporaries were teaching the class—other owners who’d been in the business just as long and were just as successful. Now, this man was experienced and well-known enough to have been teaching that class; indeed, his marketing techniques and designs are copied and used across the nation (not legally, of course)—but there he was, behaving like the rest of us and trying to write down every word the instructors said. Imagine it this way: It was like a Hollywood A-list actor engrossed in an acting class taught by one of his co-stars. It was like that.

He had absolutely no ego.

At that moment, I knew I was in the right place and my heart maybe even softened a little that day toward the big, popular haunted houses that are blessed to operate in communities where haunting is a long-established way of life. I thought they took for granted that their customers come in droves every year as a tradition, bringing along new, younger customers as a rite of passage to adulthood. Where I live, if your name isn’t a tattoo they see everyday, they forget you and can’t think of anything to do in October. The point is that even enjoying a customer-rich environment, these owners don’t stop learning!

I have taken pages of notes at seminars, and have used those notes repeatedly through the years. Sometimes I will attend a full 60-minute class, irritated that I haven’t learned anything new, and then bam! …the speaker shares one “Wow!” tip that sets the class on fire. I contend that one tip (if it’s the right one) learned in one seminar can make the entire convention worth every dime.

So learn. Take the class, attend the conference. Don’t let anyone question why you’re spending money on education. A successful person is always learning—always. Take the class, get the education. Just. Keep. Learning.

dana martin bakersfield



  • Sheila

    wow! you got her done, congrads to you (no spell check please) All that a person take in can be called to mind, learning takes meditating on what you learned to. It was not a waste of time, lol

    looking forward to F of A-Z!

  • Annis

    And then there’s the part about loving being a “student” and learning new stuff or solidifying the stuff you’d heard or learned before. Love it. xoA

  • Jenny

    This is such a great reminder that we should never stop learning. But wait, back up the truck a minute. You are a once and perhaps future owner of a haunted attraction…? Fascinating!

  • Vanessa

    Once you stop learning, you stop growing. 🙂

  • Miss Andi

    I loved your example and the live at the end: a successful person always keeps learning. It is very true. We can learn at the most unexpected places or at school. Following traditions or in an alternative approach. The point is to keep learning, keep our minds open and stay humble. Thank you for choosing this for letter E, hope You keep going!

    My blogs in the A to Z: Self discovery via travel and a separate Interactive story.

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Dana Martin Writing

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