Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Lunch with a legend; and the lessons that follow (aka - Why I wrote a book!)

“It’s so good to see you, Kathryn – tell me what you have been doing the last 20 years?”
“Well Professor, I’m married, have two rambunctious sons and write for two of our local newspapers.”
Dead silence.
“Professor?”
“I have to say, and I mean this with the utmost respect for your life choices, I expected much more from you.”
I am speechless - an unheard of phenomena.
“You showed great promise once; where is the book you so often spoke of writing? Have you abandoned that dream?”

So that’s what it feels like to be run over by a bus, I always wondered; nothing like having your role model sum up your professional life as slightly more than adequate. And yet – it was the kick in the rump I needed.

Here’s how it started.

I talked to people – not emailed, text or IM – talked! People, like me, who write for a living. Not just those who dabble, but individuals who file 1099’s under the category of creative – in other words, poor. Although contracted, I still garner most my income as a freelancer, thus my circle of contacts within the writing realm was wide.

Lesson One: From my weekly editor: “For the love of God – Blog! I am so sick of you trying to interject humor into the police blotter! Get it out in cyber space and cut down on my red line time! And by the way – I need you to cover the senior art fair – make it sound exciting.”

Done.

Lesson Two: From local children’s book author: “Join a writers group. Try and find one more suited for your professional experience. Trust me, there are a lot of them out there full of people pushing their books with absolutely no writing experience; a lot of them still live in their parent’s basement and collect action figures. Choose wisely.”

Done.

Lesson Three: From my college professor: “Go back to school; education is a tool only sharpened when kept active.”

Done.

Lesson Four: From a fellow almost author: “Be prepared to fail, and fail often; no way to sugar coat it. This is not a career for the weak. Do you drink – if not – start.”

Done. (In spades.)

Lesson Five: From a helpful, but rightfully harsh literary agent. “Get some Beta readers to rip this thing to shreds, I don’t have time for this much work. Don’t ask your Mom, sister or anyone who even likes you, in fact, get people who hate you. Do you have people who hate you? Don’t worry, if you write - you will.”

Done. (And may I say, ouch!)

Lesson Six: From my ten year old: “Keep at it Mom, somebody will buy it.” Pause. “Do we have any Oreos?”

Done.

Lesson Seven: From the mirror. “Dust off the dream and hit that bucket list running! (and buy Oreos.)”

Stay tuned…..


















2 comments:

Anonymous said...

Did you get the oreos yet? I think you may have inspired me. I've been writing recipes for years and have been bouncing a cookbook idea around in this thick skull for just as long. Maybe I should just finally do it.

Jeff

Mindy McGinnis said...

Great post, I love it! I was voted "Most Likely To Succeed" in my class and I would be lying if I said it's never bothered me that I haven't *quite* done anything awesome yet.

I'll check in when I have.