Monday, January 19, 2009

The Writer's Life

Many of you know me as the manicurist behind the chair, or product educator on the stage. I love both of those lives as they guide me all over the world to meet so many fascinating people. Clients and fellow beauty professionals feed my soul with their stories.

This past weekend was all about nurturing the novelist in me. "whoa, hold up a minute," I hear you saying. "I knew you wrote technical articles for the trades and have books for the spas...but novels?"

For quite a while there has been a little voice in my head. No, I'm not crazy (I don't think...)but there is a novel just waiting to make it to paper. Not the paper from my printer either. I want it on a bona fide publishers paper stock.

I'm not ready to let you in on the details yet but you can bet it will have something to do with my first love, the world of beauty.

To get there, I've had to alter my course a bit. Learning some new tools and stretching outside my comfort zone seem to be a requisite part of the plan. I'm not giving up my pursuit of journalistic or technical endeavors. I'm just dipping my feet in the water of a long held dream.

On Sunday morning I boarded a jet bound for New York City. The weather threatened to foil the attempt and failed. Yay for me. Snow and icy, dangerous roads hampered the efforts of others too. In the end it turned out to be a small, cohesive group of writers from different backgrounds and headed in different directions. We would end up hanging on every word.

Mike Geffner (yes, the famous sports writer) and Marcela Landres (big time book editor) led the group with a frank discussion of what has to happen to get your word in print. Perhaps a sign should have been hung at the door: no wimps, whiners, or divas allowed.

That part I know. To get in print grow a thick skin. But, my career path has been a bit different than most, and at times I have been a bit all over the place with my efforts. While those efforts have given me much success and a nice living, something much more focused is needed for the long term project of a book.

After listening to Mike talk, it sunk in that I could have been doing so much more. There is an easier way. He gave us concrete, simple, and effective devices and systems to get our efforts in front of decision-making eyes. Wow! I should have been doing this stuff for the last 20 years.

Marcela drove home exactly where I need to be when my novel is ready for submission. Boy, do I have some work to do! It's tough to look at the road ahead all at once. For me, it's easier to break it into manageable bite-sized pieces. I got a lot to chew on. Over tea, Marcela had us jotting notes furiously. So many workshops and nobody had let us in on the secrets. In some ways I felt robbed of the money thrown away in the past. Every question I had, got answered. Honestly. What a change.

This is where those of you who know me will laugh. This is not the first workshop I have been to. "Yeah, you are right. But, I honestly believe that relevance of the material changes over time." So, yes this was the second and my friends are saying, "it won't be the last."

The techniques I learned in the last workshop were just the beginning. I would have shortchanged myself had I not gone back because there was so much more work to be done to take to the next meager level I want to conquer. You figure, I had to buy a plane ticket and get my frosty self through the winter weather to get there on my only day off. They priced the workshop at an affordable $99 dollars. It was a no-brainer. I spent a ton of money on college and while well worth it, it did not give me the skills to get well published. This will.

I came home with a laundry list of actionable items. I really think I can do this. And yes, I'll probably traipse back to the city when I've implemented what I've learned.

So, to everyone who may have butterflies in their stomach about who I'll be writing for...don't stress. I love what I do now and plan on doing it for a long time. Articles are my bread and butter. Perhaps not as much ghostwriting? Maybe some of my kind supporters in high places will let me share the byline? I'm hoping that those of you who have given me such wonderful opportunities over the years will continue to support me and herald my efforts. I need your support to make this happen. I need your encouragement and ongoing mentoring. Most of all I need your trust that I will continue to be frank and up-front with you--and yes, turn in my pieces on time. I love you all and hope this is a journey we can make together.

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