With 2011 nipping at my heels, I have at long last decided to give into the flirtatious voice that’s been whispering in my ear, off and on, for years. Looking back over nearly 50 years on the planet—over 40 of them spent pursuing my writing—I see an arc. Wait—make that a full circle. And at long last I’ve come around to accepting a notion I rejected out of hand, a very long time ago. A little background:
When I was around eight, I began writing in earnest. My dream was to publish a book one day. In high school, I graduated near the top of my class. My father told me I couldn’t go to college. My high school counselor advised not even thinking about trying to attend the prestigious private university that had accepted me. He told me it was beyond my parents’ reach and that I should “just go to the state school and be a teacher.” Fortunately for me, I operate well in defiance mode—never mind what those men told me. I would go to college. I would not be a teacher.
There were many reasons I did not wish to teach, a key one being my counselor’s dismissive attitude about my aspirations. I also did not want to enter a traditional “woman’s” job. Also, I knew I wanted to write even though I didn’t have any idea how to make that into a job—or even that it could be a job.
So now, here I am, four decades since I picked up my first pencil, three decades since high school. I’ve got six books published and four novels sitting on the shelf waiting for some genius editor to finally understand them. Along the way I have taken all sorts of jobs to support my writing habit from fifteen years of hash slinging to my current work as a marketing copywriter. This most recent gig is a short term contract I landed a couple of months ago, glad for a break from my usual freelance life which involves living on the edge of the edge more often than not, chasing after assignments and then, typically, chasing after checks that are never mailed on time.
On the other hand, office work is hardly my forte. This current gig isn’t bad—nice people, good pay, pretty surroundings. But office work is not my thing and so sucks my brain dry that my own writing suffers as a result.
And so, sitting here on the cusp of yet another New Opportunity—read: The Need to Reinvent Myself Once Again—I am have been thinking about what it is I really, truly want to do with myself in the coming year. I’ve got three book ideas and a screenplay banging on my mind’s door, begging to be written. None come with the promise of an advance. All will require time and concentration and, yes, some means to support myself while I tend to the task of transferring them from head to page.
Rather than seek out another office job I’m not interested in, or resume begging for magazine work, I have decided to set out on my own. Thus I am ramping up my writing workshops, adding on to my summer camp offerings, pushing to perform more weddings, and continuing to take on private clients seeking writing coaching.
I’m going to continue writing my random blog over at spikeg.com. But I’m starting up this blog as a place to keep track of my teaching schedule, tell you about upcoming workshops and camps, offer tales of My Life as a Writer, and field questions about writing.
Because that whispering voice has been telling me for some time now that even if I didn’t want to leap into teaching in my twenties, teaching is something I have come to embrace. I’m much better equipped for the job now than I was back then. I have managed—if often unintentionally—to learn an awful lot about writing from the style side to the business side. I hope that you’ll like what I have to offer and, if you do, that you’ll help me to spread the word.
For starters, I’ve got room in my upcoming workshop, Six Weeks of Thursdays, which begins January 20th. We’ll focus on creative non-fiction, memoir, and blog writing. For details, email me: firstname.lastname@example.org