Can you write a book?

by WizardOfWords on November 16, 2014

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I was surprised when I heard Shelagh Rogers, the host of CBC’s “The Next Chapter” literary program, tell an author she was interviewing that she “could never write a book.” A person who spends much of her time interviewing authors and reading books believing (and admitting) that she doesn’t have what it takes to write a book!

You’ve got to credit Rogers for her admission. There are so many people out there who think that writing a book is something anyone can do. So many retirees who plan to write a book because they perceive it to be an easy task–if only they’d have the time. So many celebrities who write a book just because they know it will generate a significant amount of income for them.

palm reading

This topic reminded me of a visit I made to a palm reader back in 1987. She carefully examined my hands and remarked, “Ahhh, I see you’re a writer.” To which I responded that I was an underwriter (an insurance professional who underwrote insurance risks and rated policies.) She looked at my hands again, and emphatically replied, “No, I see you writing creative projects–like a book!”

I was surprised by that comment, as I’d never thought of writing a book. Not being an avid reader of books, I had never aspired to be a writer. Ever.

But then life took an interesting turn, and my underwriting position came to an end when the company I was working for decided to shut down its general insurance division. I was given the opportunity to be retrained in another field so that I could maintain employment with the company.  I chose to take a communications course as I always loved talking with people, was a good communicator, and had the skill of writing good letters.

As a student of the Creative Communications Program at Red River College, I learned all about journalism public relations, and creative writing. I quickly learned that I had a natural talent for creative writing (magazine feature writing) but was not great at newspaper writing where one had to focus on objectivity and stick to the bare facts of any story.

Little did I know that I had opened the tap to let my creativity flow, and eventually, embark on major creative projects–like book writing! I’ve now co-authored two books and written two solo projects. And I’ve already begun researching the next volume of my award-winning chocolate travel book, Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate.

my books

How is it that the card reader saw that talent in my hands nearly 30 years ago? Something I couldn’t see or even feel myself?

So, Ms. Shelagh Rogers … I put the challenge to you. Never say never, as you never know what the future holds.

How about you? Have you discovered a talent you never knew you had? Has your life taken a surprising twist, only to reveal a skill that had never previously shown itself?

Thanks to Manitoba Public Insurance for giving me the opportunity to discover new skills and create a highly creative new life for myself. It never would have happened if you hadn’t opened the door.

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augmenting the author’s income stream

by WizardOfWords on November 8, 2014

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I’ve been a freelance writer since 1993. Although freelancing is challenging, and you have to weather the storms of either too much work at once or the dry spells when you have virtually nothing on the go, if you plan ahead, you’ll get by.

But for the past year, I’ve pretty much been making my income from book sales and from speaking events that I’m able to arrange. The best scenario is when you can combine the two and sell books at your speaking events.

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My most recent speaking gig was at the Black Ink Writers’ ReCon Retreat & Conference held October 24-26, 2014, in Selkirk, Manitoba. The photo above shows me (second from the right in the back row) along with the organizers and some of the attendees to the banquet, where I gave the keynote talk on the subject of crowdfunding. Hats off to Tyra Heinrichs, Ishbel Moore, and Richard Koreen for putting together a wonderful event.

Last week, I was a judge at the Puerto Viejo Chocolate Festival in Costa Rica (the reason this blog post is late!) If you’re interested in how that went, be sure to subscribe to my chocolate travel blog for a string of posts I’ll be uploading about this funky up-and-coming chocolate destination.

My next speaking gig will be November 19th in Kingston, Ontario, where I’ll be giving a chocolate chat to celebrate the opening of Sugar Swan, a new chocolate shop in Kingston. I’ll receive an honorarium for that via the Canada Council National Public Readings Program administered via the Writers Union of Canada.

Readers' Favorite badge

And then I’m off to Miami, Florida, where I’ll be presented with my Readers’ Favorite award for Chocolatour and will visit with some Miami-based chocolate makers. Before I leave, I must complete a freelance article on the fabulous chocolate of London, England, for the CAA magazine.

That’s a month in the life of this freelance writer. What kind of writing do you do, and how do you supplement and augment your income with activities related to your writing and area of expertise? I look forward to hearing your insights and will post again soon to catch up on the regular posting schedule for this blog. Cheers!

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book review: Being Grateful, Being Thankful

October 14, 2014
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As we just had Canadian Thanksgiving this past weekend, and the American Thanksgiving holidays will soon be upon us, I felt a quick review of this new e-book by Sarah Butland of Nova Scotia, Canada, would be appreciated by all. Being Grateful, Being Thankful: Appreciate Everything to Be Happy For Even The Rain Brings Rainbows is […]

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the messy baker — book review

October 2, 2014
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I met Charmian Christie a number of years ago in Toronto at a PWAC conference. I immediately liked her warmth, sense of humour, and smile. And over the past few years, I’ve loved receiving posts via her Messy Baker blog. Now … I’m able to enjoy some of those favourite recipes in Charmian’s new book, […]

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the importance of greeting cards

September 18, 2014
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When is the last time you mailed someone a physical card of congratulations, thanks, or support? People who know me well know that I love to send and receive cards–of all types! I have a drawer in which I have various categories of cards that I send out to friends, family, and colleagues when the […]

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award winning author

September 3, 2014
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Wow. Seeing those three words in a note of congrats that I rec’d from a colleague made me realize I had actually achieved something wonderful. I am now an award winning author. This week, my latest book Chocolatour: A Quest for the World’s Best Chocolate (Volume I) was chosen as a Bronze Medal winner in […]

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Have you found YOUR tribe?

August 21, 2014
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I’ve always been a joiner. I belong to numerous organizations, including Toastmasters International, the Professional Writers’ Association of Canada, The Writers’ Union of Canada, and the Manitoba Writers’ Guild. There are other organizations I may have belonged to and have left and may rejoin. I feel a bit like my interests and loyalties are in […]

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accepting the Versatile Blogger Award

August 4, 2014
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Many thanks to Chris Nash for nominating me for the Versatile Blogger Award! Chris knows me via the Travel Blogged group on facebook, and so he nominated my travel blog for the award in his post. But as it is this blog where I talk about the muse that leads my writing and inspires my […]

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where is the care in healthcare?

July 23, 2014
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I think that everyone who knows me and/or reads this blog, knows that I like to focus on the positive. I rarely rant or let negativity occupy my thoughts. But I’d posted the following on facebook last night after a nasty encounter at one of our local healthcare facilities with a health care ‘professional’ and based on the […]

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what’s in a name?

July 9, 2014
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This week, I have the pleasure of welcoming a Toastmasters friend and colleague to my blog, with a guest post that’s actually a reprint of the amazing speech she recently presented to the Toastmasters in the Arts club in Gimli, Manitoba. Carolyn Dyane had us sitting on the edge of our seats with this thought-provoking, […]

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