Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Staying the Course

I was one of those kids who loved to write. I loved writing thank you notes and wrote thank you notes in response to thank you notes. I loved having pen pals. I dreamt of writing the 20th century version of the "Little House on the Prairie" series. All through childhood, writing was one of my escapisms. Writing letters, short stories, song lyrics and even mock news stories.

I recall a writing task in elementary school. Can't remember the exact assignment, but I ended up writing about the green, rubber hotdogs served in the school cafeteria and how they bounced when they rolled off the cafeteria tray. My teacher liked the story and posted it outside the classroom. It became quite the discussion with the cafeteria ladies which led to my fear of them! Luckily, my Mom was a brown-bag type of mom so I didn't have to face them often.

In 8th grade, my English teacher was so tickled by one of my stories, she read it to the class. While flattered, I was embarrassed. It was something about how I wanted to be Samantha from Bewitched when I was growing up (admitantly, I would still like to be a witch...). I wasn't embarrassed about the content but that something so personal was being exposed to the entire class.

Writing is still my escapism but it's also my way of communicating, of expressing myself when I can't any other way. Because of this, it's very personal and to this day, I'm still leary about sharing my craft. I know (do I really?) I'm a strong writer and want to do more. I want writing to be my life - professional and personal.

Ironically, a big part of being a successful writer is being a successful marketer. Proof is in what's out there these days. Three years ago I decided to pursue travel writing because of some of the crap out there. In my job, I would assist travel writers who would then send me the final product and I was embarrassed by what they wrote. "They actually got paid for this?" I questioned.

Amazingly, some writers don't know the difference between "weather" or "whether" or "there" and "their." I decided I needed a five-year plan to become a full-time writer. Three down, two to go.

I entered college as a communications major. I wanted to be a journalist, but was lured away by the adventure of geology, biology and saving the world. But the world (or God) works in obvious ways. When we deviate off our chosen path, somehow, we end up back on it and continue to move forward. It may take a while to get there, but we eventually make it. If I had stayed the course, who knows where I'd be today.

Opportunities lurk for me to deviate off the path, again. Faced with taking two steps back, I know I should stay the course.

I'm in the profession of marketing. And to be a successful marketer, one has to believe in the product. I need to work on believing in myself so others will buy my product, too.

Which leads me to this week. It began as one of those weeks where the whole world was against me: dealing with annoying twits; having a Cheerios explosion in the kitchen; and a blind date with the next man of my dreams canceling (at least for an evening and he had teeth!), nothing seemed to go right.

Until I received notice that I've been accepted to write (for dineros!) for a Food/Culinary blog and Travel blog. Yippee!! No, it's not the blog I "auditioned" for and told a few of you about (Actually, I haven't heard from them and I'd appreciate a nice "sorry, but no thanks." After all, the interview consumed cell phone minutes, I submitted a story I have rights to and the co-owner is, coincidently, someone who I crossed paths with in my previous life.). But things are good.

As soon as I start posting, the links will be posted here so you can read more of my travels and eats. I'm heading to Boston this weekend, which I'm sure will lead to tales. Not only is it Boston's Restaurant Week (YUMMY!), but I'll get to see my friend Val from college, have tickets to the Mariah Carey concert and will have the opportunity to fly under the new TSA security measures. (And for those of you in the office reading this, yes, I will be working hard, too). And guess what? Sept. 7 I return to Boston for another conference. Can't wait!

2 comments:

Anonymous said...

And we still have that big, wooden box of letters and notes you wrote to Annette and your other friends in Junior High-----

Sharon Sheppard said...

Stay the course this time, Jenn!
You are getting closer.
Love you and have fun in Boston!

Shep