I am finishing up another of those two-week periods where I feel very privileged, and downright lucky, to be a writer and editor. The stream of people, readings, plans, contacts, opportunities and creativity that move through my professional and personal life remind me not only of how wonderful my writing life is, but also how much hard work and responsibility go into it.
The past two weeks alone have included:
• The Meet the Authors event at Crittenden County Library in Kentucky. Nine authors came together and engaged in one of the best panel discussions in which I’ve ever participated, two hours of conversation with each other and a highly attentive audience about writing, editing, digital publishing, promotion, the future of print books, and much more. My best takeaway, literally, was the book Blood River to Berlin, by Michael Freeland, who was a medic for the 182nd Airborne during the grueling march from Normandy to Berlin that ended World War II in the European theater. While war books are usually the last works you’ll catch me reading, I couldn’t put this one down. What a joy to meet Michael, now 85, and hear his comments about writing, rooted in his rock-deep integrity and character. I felt doubly honored to be there because of the man sitting next to Michael, Marine Lt. Col (ret.) Tom McKenney, a prolific author whose comments were just as insightful and impressive.
• Working with clients. My day job has to be one of the better ones out there – helping authors shape their stories and ideas into fine books, and developing or assisting their strategies on marketing and promotion. In the past two weeks, I’ve been vicariously: learning the complex inner world of former fugitive Eric Rudolph in attorney Richard Jaffe’s forthcoming memoir, Divine Injustice; hearing the story of an ancient Persian girl; sitting next to dedicated charter school students with Hall of Dreams author Marsha Aizumi; joining the adventures of a comatose woman who re-created a fabulous world for her 17-year-old self in Colleen Jiron’s Possibilities; roaming in Africa through Gail Bornfield’s sweet children’s story, Tampei; sharing the triumphs of Al Gilbert, one of the United States’ greatest (and most unsung) track and cross-country coaches ever in Centering Up!; romping through Mexico with a wandering hippie; standing in the kitchen as Chef Renee Kelly whips up dishes full of vitality and taste in her recipe book/memoir; and laughing at the farcical antics of a group of people lodged in a two-story building in Steve Jam’s forthcoming novel, The Seventh Sense.
• Guest Blogging. Thanks to my publisher for The Write Time, Paul Burt of Pen & Publish, I was asked to be interviewed by Deb Eckerling of Write On! Online, a fine writing organization and website. A day later, I wrote a guest column for Write On!, “Why Writing Exercises Work” – not a bad promotional dovetail for , The Write Time. The key point, which relates to this blog as well: By using writing exercises to practice, you can eventually develop a command of language and a versatility that makes it possible to write about anything, at any time, in any genre. Oh yeah, by the way, isn’t Write On! one of the better names for a writing organization that you’ve heard recently (along with Word Journeys — of course)? Facebook them or visit them online — they have some great activities.
• A Book After My Own Heart. This weekend, my client and author of The Champion’s Way, Dr. Steve Victorson, is in Orange County to discuss with me the next book we’re writing together. Let’s just say that a bunch of runners in two Kentucky high schools will be most familiar with the subject matter – and the voice of the crazy coach on the sidelines.
• The Hummingbird Review. Publisher Charles Redner and I are well into production on the Spring/Summer issue of The Hummingbird Review, which is the creative brainchild of bestselling author Luis Alberto Urrea. Charlie and I have been marveling over the quality of the work for the second issue from outside contributors and the fine writers of the Cabin 20 literary blogging group, as well as wonderful contributions from younger poets (the youngest is 18, but you’ll never know it from the wisdom of his words). One thing already giving this literary anthology voice and presence: its multi-cultural presentation. The stories, essays and poems for Issue 2 are riveting. Stay tuned for more – and check out the premier issue while you’re waiting.
• The Word Journeys Show. I’ve wanted to do this for two years. Now, Tucson-based Internet radio producer Jennifer Hillman and I are creating The Word Journeys Show, an hour-long radio program that will debut in mid-June. Get ready for a first-class show with some very special guests, great readings — and call-ins! It will serve as a flagship for all things audio connected to Word Journeys, our clients and my current and future books, which leads to yet another exciting development in these past two weeks …
• Mapping out the Future. Word Journeys is adding an entire new wing to our operation (name to be revealed after we make it official), to handle all platforming, digital publishing and distribution needs for our private and corporate clients. We can now literally produce written material in print, digital, web, audio and video form – and use those same forms to promote the authors and their messages. While a few other companies are doing similar things, here is what sets us apart: the capability and proven track record to zero in on specific programs in specific markets for specific clients who have specific stories to tell. I’m excited about this, because it pulls together everything I’ve ever been in this 34-year journey since a frightened high school kid saddled up for day one of work at The Breeze in Carlsbad and, six months later, The Blade-Tribune in Oceanside: print journalist, book author, editor, public relations executive, event, retreat and conference coordinator, ghostwriter, workshop instructor, teacher, consultant, coach, scriptwriter, show host …
…and most of all, someone who so deeply cares about the written word that it has been my life since 1976.
Now to get into the journal and write the moment. Have a great weekend — and be sure to write something new during the next three days.
To order The Write Time: 366 Exercises to Fulfill Your Writing Life