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Friday, June 17, 2016

On making rain


There was a book industry event last night that I was invited to, one of those shindigs where a lot of big names are in the room. And I didn't go. I heard that several people asked for me, and there were also a couple of players there who I really needed to make a connection with for reasons I won't go into. But I didn't go. It was an anniversary party for a publishing imprint, and when the editorial director spoke, she cited the first book the imprint ever published, and then she introduced a current author who read from her just published book—and I had edited both those books. And yet I didn't go.

I am such a recluse. I wish now I had made myself show up. I am filled with morning after regrets, but yesterday the last thing I wanted to do was figure out what to wear and how to show up. I had a lot of good friends there. Really, it would have been fine. And I would have been visible, which is always important when it comes to getting work. So what is it with me? Why did I self sabotage? Shouldn't I have grown out of this by now?

On a more positive note, a global social entrepreneurship nonprofit just put me on retainer as an editor and writer. Not a huge amount, but every little bit matters, especially the bits you can count on. Best of all, I will be once again working with a woman I worked with years ago, before she quit to travel the world and live for a while in Bali and Argentina, and founded a nonprofit to promote global enterprises run by women and girls. She is a giant of a soul, walking this earth, and I'm thrilled to be able to engage with her again in work that feels meaningful. (Update: this gig fell through. Budget cuts. Hiring freeze. Sigh.)

I do very much enjoy the work I do, but I don't enjoy the socializing one must do to ensure projects flow your way. I frustrate myself by not putting myself out there in the manner that will bring me more work. I have a friend who does an amazing job of networking. She has three New York Times bestsellers under her belt, and every week she has a series of lunches or drinks with editors and agents. The work just flows to her, mostly because she is crazy talented and smart, but also because she's makes sure she's always top of mind when editors and agents are looking for a writer. She makes her own luck. She's a rainmaker. I look on with awe, respect, (envy), admiration, love.

The plain truth is, I can't do what she does. I'm not made the same way. I don't want to do what she does, no matter how much I should. Okay, I needed to write all that, to get it out of my system, to interrupt all the self-flagellation and woe is me (haha, I typed wow is me at first!), so I can go back to the book I'm working on, a deep ghost project that might actually sell very well, might even be a bestseller, but it will not bear my name. No one will know I wrote it. Well, I'll know. I'm learning so much. My mind is most at peace when I am writing. This is how I am made.

19 comments:

  1. I had a long conversation yesterday with a woman I knew thirty years ago. She's retired from school teaching and she is SO OVER any type of socializing although she seems very uncomfortable with that concept. "I had people right in my face for forty years!" she said.
    Some of us just aren't social animals. When I think about going to Cuba one of my biggest anxiety-producing thoughts is that I won't have five minutes to myself in almost a week. This seems impossible for me. But I am not doing the sort of work you are.
    I am so glad to hear that you are going to be working with that old friend of yours. How amazing! See? Things work out, even if in bits and lovely pieces.
    Also? You are ghost-writing a possible best seller? Jeez, woman!
    I love, love, love you.
    Don't beat yourself up. Please. I love you just the way you are.

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    1. Thank you for this sweet comment, dear Mary. And a bestseller? It might be. But not because I wrote it. It might be a bestseller no matter who wrote it because of who the subject is.

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  2. Angella, I read you all the time and don't comment. I am intimidated by your amazing family and life. There are instances like you Erie about today that I can relate so precisely, it's odd. I love my work but dislike the socializing part of it. Practically any socializing - at least until I get there and start and then I enjoy it. Congratulations on all your success! You are amazing!

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    1. Joanne, please, please never be intimidated. It's so funny you'd say that because I feel as if I am such a mess most of the time. I mostly feel as if I'm hanging by my nail-bitten fingernails (now that's precarious!) trying to keep things together. It sounds as if we're alike in how we work. And thanks for the congrats. I'll take it. I have had some success, so why am I not rich yet? I'm joking, of course. Success is relative. And fleeting actually. Past successes are water under the bridge. The rent will still be due tomorrow. I'm always so glad to see you here.

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  3. It takes a wonderful level of self awareness to understand how you are and how you can work best in the world and you are doing that and good at it so kudos to you! You need not be like someone else to touch lives or do good things. Do not waste your precious energy feeling bad about this and good luck working again with your friend!

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    1. e, I have some self awareness, yet I still fall into thinking I should be other than I am. That if only I did this thing, or that thing, my worries would be over. Thanks for the reminder that it doesn't work that way.

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  4. Make your rain your way <3

    PS "a deep ghost project" sounds very 007! Very cool :o)

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    1. HBF, thanks friend. I'm make a little drizzle anyway. And haha, 007. I shall henceforth refer to it as my 007 project!

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  5. I second that. I love you just the way you are too. No beating yourself up. You put your heart where your heart wants to be and that's the writing. You're an amazing woman and don't you forget about it!

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    1. Andrea, I was beating up on myself despite having made the decision not to go with full awareness. Writing this post helped me get past it. Thanks for being here, friend, and for your kind words.

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  6. creativity doesn't come in the same way for everyone, but know that yours is one that many people wish they had.

    You missed last night's event, but you will make many more. And they will be great.

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    1. Thank you, Candice. One day at a time. xo

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  7. You seem to always have a project going on so you must be doing something right.

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    1. Kristin, the problem with freelancing is you always think the project you're working on won't be followed by more. Every freelancer I know feels this way. It is an exercise in faith, that's for sure.

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  8. I understand not going out. I make that choice often. And sometimes have regrets.

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  9. Sometimes I feel like socializing and other times I just don't. And I try to honour my own wishes, unless it's about someone else, in which case I give it the old college try and show up :) Sounds like you made the right decision for you, and that it harmed no one else.

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  10. Interesting. I would never strike anyone as a recluse or as an introvert but I do the same as you all the time. I know writers who work tirelessly to get their stuff "out there" and keep themselves front and center, and I know I should but...... Sometimes I even find myself saying "I can't take it with me".

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  11. checking in after ages of not reading your blog (or anyone's). of course, i landed on this entry, which i completely identify with. the thing is, that kind of showing up is, pardon the obvious, so much about appearances. it's ultimately empty of nourishment. i hear you--that it's part of your work. but people who want you, the real you, will find you. that's how it's been, since youve started freelancing. i really don't think it's sabotage. xo

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  12. I relate to your feelings and likely would have skipped the event too. I think you are wise to know who you are and what you love and what you don't care to do. And people asked for you, so you are noticed and valued. I am a writer too and prefer to be with words rather than at an event.

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