Finding the blessing

The Artist


Growing up, my immigrant parents ambitiously targeted me to be a doctor. I lazily settled on being a nurse. Eventually my high school science grades put the lie to any career for me in medicine. Ultimately, I followed my dream to be a writer. I started off my writing career as a newspaper journalist. I won recognition and many awards for my work. I loved it. But being pragmatic I decided not to get too comfortable. I thought about the future. As I approached the age of workplace redundancy – that stage when gray hair and old age become the universal symbols for delete – I struck out on my own as a freelance writer, editor and publisher for hire.

Raised to share my toys, I always enjoyed sharing how-to tips about what I know – home improvement, writing, publishing, health. If it can be of help to someone else, I share it. You know people like me; you’re probably just like me.  I am always quick to say “yes” to an invitation to talk to individuals and groups about writing and publishing. But let me just say that earlier this year my altruism hit a thick, brick wall. I got mad as hell and decided I wouldn’t take it anymore.


It was a phone call – an invitation to speak and do a workshop on what I know about self-publishing. “Yes” is always poised between my teeth so I let it escape in a short stream of consciousness before I asked the key question: “How much are you paying?” Sometimes, I would ask “Is there an honorarium?” I put it that way to make others feel comfortable and send a signal that I don’t ask for much. The caller responded “We don’t have any money. We’re a non-profit.” I was no stranger to that response. I had heard it before… and still accepted invites. But this time was different. The caller had a “you should expect to give away your value for nothing because I’m hiding behind the words nonprofit” tone. When I got off the call I was irritated and angry. Fortunately, I paused and asked myself:  “Where is the blessing in this? Where’s the silver-lining.”  I went to bed and slept on it.

Things were so much better the next morning. I had an answer. I awoke knowing I could continue to share but I would do so in a book. And that, my friends, is how my latest book 12 Steps to Self-Publishing Success was conceived.

If you have been toying with the idea of writing your life story, sharing your unique knowledge, or penning a salacious 3-part novella using a pseudonym, get busy. Turn those ideas into a book that pays.

Tagged on: dream    freelance writer    immigrant    old age    parents    workplace redundancy

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