I was in Michigan this week at our annual girls’ weekend—two wonderfully lazy days spent by the fireplace in a cozy inn, catching up with seven old and new friends. We ate and shopped and laughed and it wasn’t until I got home that I remembered one friend mentioning how stressful her job was.
I have no idea what her job is. I never asked. And because I never asked, I missed a chance to connect with her in a more meaningful way.
Creating compelling characters is challenging, and writing about the real people in your life can be downright terrifying! How much do you share? Will those close to you recognize themselves? What material is yours and what is off-limits?
Whether you’re writing fiction, memoir, or blogs, you WILL face these challenges as you write about what—and who—you know. So how do you write from a place of love and integrity while remaining true to yourself? Who gets to say where your story ends and another person’s begins?
I’d been looking forward to the visioning workshop for a few weeks. It was an annual event hosted at my spiritual center and would be held after Sunday services. The day of the event I made all the necessary arrangements to be gone all day: I scheduled a dog walk, made a lunch, and took an Uber so my son could have the car for the day. I was ready to vision my new year!
What I’d forgotten to do was pre-register. As the church service was concluding, the pastor announced that the workshop was sold out. I felt myself caving with disappointment, followed quickly by outrage. It can’t be sold out! I’m supposed to go!
Vince Reidsma started out as just my friend Martha’s dad, the guy who kept the pool clean so we could swim all summer. Later, when I was in my teens, he was the guy from church who spent a lot of time talking to my parents as their marriage was unraveling. More than 30 years later, as one of my mom’s best friends, he has re-entered my life wearing a new hat: seasoned writer.
I used to call myself the reluctant blogger. When the term blog was coined, I dismissed it as frivolous. I studied journalism in college before Al Gore invented the internet, at a time when stories were called articles and were written on electric typewriters (look it up). When blogs came along, it seemed that everyone and their brother had one, and it sort of ruffled my feathers that anyone could call themselves a writer.
Yes, I was a real snob.
Do you work with clients? If you’re a service provider, or healthcare practitioner, therapist, real estate agent, or anyone who works one-on-one with a variety of people, this blog is for you.
You have an opportunity to powerfully connect with your clients by simply sharing your interactions.
Maybe you have a weekly newsletter or a blog already up and running. You likely have a website and an email database. So how often are you communicating with your fans or followers or potential clients?
I’m not proud of the fact that there are unwashed dishes in my sink, a pile of unfolded laundry on my bed, or a family of dust bunnies under my dresser. But I’m writing. And when my writing time increases, my usually high cleaning standards take a dramatic fall.
You’ve learned a thing or two in this lifetime. Maybe you know the secret to making the perfect souffle. Or how to be a stepparent to kids who refuse to say your name. Or maybe you want people to know how prayer has changed your life. Whatever it is, there is some message that you feel called to share in a blog.
Pssst. I’m going to urge you to steal the ideas in this blog. Because I did.
But before the blog police come busting in my door and drag me in front of the court of ideas where I’ll have my misused words thrown in my face and—
Wait, this is starting to sound like a dystopian novel when it’s supposed to be a blog.
Here’s the truth:
When I was pregnant with my first child I was enamored of the idea of using a midwife. I hired a seasoned professional named Lorna. But my son was breech and arrived via a scheduled C-section, so Lorna was replaced by an anesthesiologist, a surgeon, and a floating sea of faceless, masked nurses. I was disappointed that our preparations had been for nothing. Until I awoke one morning, groggy from morphine, to hear her arguing in the hallway with the pediatrician. She was refusing to let him give my son a shot that we hadn’t discussed.