Being a closet writer, I'm secure behind closed doors. So I dreaded my first blog wafting through cyberspace for the entire world to read. The gaping white comment box felt like a black hole waiting to swallow me.
April 9, 2011
It was now or never! I called my sister in Ohio to celebrate the launch. But the instant I hit PUBLISH POST I saw trouble with a capital T. The templet switched to dark gray concealing my words like a curtain. And my birds were now magenta! Not my favorite color. My sister searched in vain, but the blog was missing . . . this wasn't the way I imagined it. Lost in cyberspace! Would I have to write it again? Eventually, the wandering blog landed in many shades of pink, but then the stubborn thing refused to take comments. I tinkered with buttons until my eyes burned. The big question now . . . would my corrections hold?
My Journey into Publishing . . .
The summer of 2008, I met an intriguing woman who entered her name and number into my cell phone, stating we should stay in touch. But we never did . . .
Fifteen months later, now in my final rewrite, I still had no clue what to do next. The woman came to mind, she was a writer. Of what, I didn't know. So I called. Catching her on the fly, I briefly explained my conundrum, at which time she invited me to attend a writing/publishing class she took in Santa Barbara every Thursday. 95.5 miles one way!! You've got to be joking.
Write from the Start was my answer to prayer. Cork Millner authored this book, subtitled, A Proven Program for Writing and Selling Nonfiction - Even if You've Never Been Published Before, . . . and taught this class for two decades, mentoring now successful authors including Robin Norwood, Women Who Love Too Much, and Spenser Johnson, Who Moved My Cheese?, to name a few . . . plus he wrote twenty other books himself.
"Creative Nonfiction began in the 1970's," the teacher began. Little did I know the impact this man would have on my life. That first day, I learned my intrinsic writing style was creative nonfiction. In lieu of our first assignment, I handed in Chapter One of my memoir, and was shocked when he asked me to read the following week. Terror struck! Read in front of a class of 46?
Cork Millner, a total stranger, liked my work!
Under his guidance, I immersed myself in this new world like Alice in Wonderland, anxious for Thursdays. My 95.5 mile drive along Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara became my mini-vacation. I was mesmerized by the oceans many faces and staggering mountains, inhaling the tangy salt air. It recharged my soul. After class I often stopped along the shore to feed the seagulls. What better way to spend a Thursday?
And the intriguing woman? Pauline is now one of my closest friends. We've had the same mentor, we speak the same language.
Lessons I've learned . . . my two cents.
Every writer should to be part of a group . . . physically. Share your work by reading it aloud. Be open to critique. Listen to other writers read. There are so many amazing and unique voices out there. Feel the energy of creative minds all in the same room . . . it's electric. Creative energy and bonding you can attain no other way.
Purchase a small, hand-held tape recorder, or something comparable. Read each word you've written into the recorder. Play it back. Listen to the way your reader will hear your words in their heads. Listen to the flow . . . listen for words you trip over . . . listen for words that are too big or uncommon, words that break the continuity of the flow. Listen . . . listen . . . listen. Then rewrite until your writing flows like imported honey . . .