Literary Liaisons

A blog about writing and all things story…

What Does Being a Writer Have to do with 5-Smokin’ Nuns?

Norelle Done & Me, Louisa’s Cafe
Recently I was interviewed by Norelle Done of Seattle Wrote. We chatted about my road to writing, some self discovery and few of my published credits. The interview was mostly about what it took for me to accept, claim and proclaim “I am a writer” which I did some years ago while in Ireland at the insistence of five Nuns who chain-smoked and ‘chatted me up’ while the train trekked from Galway to Dublin. After a long conversation about why I was there alone and what I wanted to do with my life – the Nuns were very inquisitive – I reluctantly said, “I’d like to be a writer someday”. They promptly pooh-poohed the ‘someday’ part and made me say out loud, “I am a writer”, then they clapped for their Irish ‘Daughter’ (cigarettes dangling from their lips) and said, “And so you shall be”. Talk about divine intervention and the Power of Now.

Anyway, I often meet people who are afraid to claim that artist part of their soul as part of their identity. It’s tough to say “I am a writer” when the world then says prove it; what do you have published, how much money do you make? I come from a money industry (real estate & mortgage lending) where you’re only as good as your last deal or how many production plaques you have on the wall… and I had plenty. The problem became; with none of that, how then do I to value myself? This took some soul searching. I had to cleanse my ego’s value system and start anew (still under construction).  
I am a writer – though seldom paid much for my work, I feel more successful and fulfilled today than I ever did earning the big bucks. It took some soul searching to end up here where I can say without hesitation and without whispering, “I am a writer” loud and clear. Money is no longer a thing that defines me –granted, it often concerns me, but it no longer defines me. The ‘work’ I do now is souly to sustain my writing habit when before it was my career and writing, my hobby – It’s all flip-flopped and I couldn’t be happier.

Yes, I’ve been blessed, lucky, or maybe just in the right place at the right time, to have had some publishing successes – those came from writing what I know; personal finance and real estate, blah-blah-blah. But, I took that blah-blah-blah; my 20+years in an industry and turned it into a writing career; taught Romance & Money at Discover University for a few years, then wrote an advice column for 10 years for a bridal magazine (Including romantic travel articles on assignment), over 900 personal finance articles published and then published the book on Kindle.

Now, I want to be done with writing what I knew then and move on to writing what I want to know now; the art of fiction. But writing what I knew then certainly gave me a start.

In the interview Norelle writes that my book Romance and Money when pitched at a conference over a decade ago, did not receive any interest, that’s not exactly correct. It did. But one week after the conference I had a life threatening health crisis. So, I contacted the agent who was interested and explained that I had to back out. Then, a few weeks later while recuperating from surgery I received a message from a magazine publisher who had met me at the conference, she wanted me to be an expert in her magazine and so a monthly column was born. You never know how your dreams will manifest – more divine intervention. I certainly never dreamed of being an advice columnist and travel writer – but hey, what did I know.

So, write what you know to get started, and then move on to fiction or whatever makes your heart sing. In the interview which Norelle titled ‘The Value of Validation’ it comes off as if I need validation all the time which couldn’t be further from the truth, I work in a vacuum these days and seldom know if what I’m writing makes any sense. However, in the beginning being encouraged by things like supportive writers groups, published credits, and other things that made me feel like ‘hey, I’m a writer’ did go a long way in encouraging me to move forward in pursuit of my goals. Cherish those moments – they are few and far between. The right validation can be as invigorating as five smokin’ nuns on a train.

See the interview ‘The Value of Validation’ at Seattle writes.

 



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One comment on “What Does Being a Writer Have to do with 5-Smokin’ Nuns?

  1. Jack
    September 17, 2012

    Cool. Norelle is the chronicler of the Seattle Writing World. See you at the tables with Theo.

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This entry was posted on August 27, 2012 by in Mindy Halleck, Norelle Done, Romance and Money, writer's digest.
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