I want to write a book. Cover, pages, on store shelves.
It’s one of the reasons I blog. I’m a writer and this space here is my platform. I write here to flex my writing muscle. But writing the books in me (yes, plural) is more than just writing. I have to build a culture for myself to encourage the writing, the creativity, the keep on keeping on-ness of making the book(s) real.
So, I write. I read. I force myself beyond my tendencies as a recluse and get social (hello, ever supportive private Facebook groups filled with kindred spirits in pursuit of dreams). What’s left for me is to connect with folks who’ve already done what I dream.
Last night, an opportunity presented itself to meet a blogger turned author in real life. Hello, Serendipity. I was not familiar with her blog. I had only barely perused the jacket of her new book. Nonetheless, I went. It was an opportunity to meet up with some local bloggers, learn from someone who’d gone through the process of writing a book and provide a little rah-rah-sis-boom-bah for a mom/author on her first ever book tour. Good karma, ay?
And wouldn’t you know it? The night ended up being full of surprising little lessons.
via Scary Mommy
1. The Book
Jill Smokler, of Scary Mommy blog fame, just had her first book published. Confessions of a Scary Mommy pays homage to the thankless, hard ass job of motherhood and begs moms to keep it real. Smokler is honest and damn funny in sharing her own journey from city girl newlywed to mom of three and the adventures that ensue. Her own story is humorously interrupted by real reader confessions which makes me like Smokler even more for paying it forward to the community which has been rooting for Scary Mommy since day one. She never dreamed of writing a book but the community she built with her blog dreamed it for her and here she is book tour and all. I bought the book last night and I’m almost done with it. If it weren’t for two glasses of wine, I’d likely have finished it already but my eyes got heavy =) Lesson: Buy the book. And also, if dreams you didn’t know you had start coming true – go with it. Be grateful.
2. The Author.
Disclaimer: When meeting someone with some degree of fame, I’m cautious and assume there’s a good chance they might suck and come across as a salesperson for their own schtick. I also worry with the mom blogger set that the snark we all love and look forward to, will spill into real life and make for a giant bitchfest about motherhood. There I said it. Jill Smokler was as far away from that as possible. She was charming and humble. Sweet, funny and generous also come to mind. Audrey McClelland organized a dinner gathering before the book signing and Jill sat and chatted with everyone. She made her way to my end of the table and graciously answered all sorts of questions about her journey from blogger to author. She was easy going and forth coming and sincere. And not one bit snarky. I’m kind of a fan now. Lesson: A book tour is not about selling books. It’s about connecting with people. Making fans out of strangers.
3. The Curls.
When Jill sat down to chat with the bloggers on my end of the table, someone asked a techy question about stats and switching over to WordPress. I listened as she made a dozen suggestions but zoned out quickly as I stared at her perfect, not a pouf of frizz in sight ringlets. This lady has curly hair. Like the definition of curly. It makes my curls look like limp waves. I asked her what her secret is and she said Ouidad. The kind folks at Ouidad sponsored Jill’s book launch party in NYC. She told us Ouidad did her hair for the event and it was so incredible she didn’t wash her hair for days. She wasn’t being a spokesperson at all but if you saw this woman’s ringlets, good god, she’s the best walking advertisement for a curly hair product. Sold! Lesson: Get some Ouidad, NOW!
4. The Writing.
I came with one question and one question only. With three kids (ages 8, 6 and 4) plus a husband, when the heck does she find the time to write? Jill confessed – she has given up on sleep. She hits the sack around 2am, only to get up somewhere between 5 and 6 in the morning. It comforted me somewhat to know I wasn’t missing some secret to writing during the day with kids underfoot. She also let us know her husband is a writer and proved to be a great support throughout the book writing process. I asked if she ever gave self-publishing a thought and because she’d never thought about writing a book, it wasn’t really on her radar. Publishers approached her and she connected with a wonderful agent and, well, you know how the story ends. Lesson: Write whenever you can. Sacrifice sleep. Find a great agent.
5. The Non-Stalking Stalking.
So remember how I said at the beginning of the post I didn’t really know who this Scary Mommy chick was? Yeah, well I didn’t. Then I had dinner with her and really liked her. I had made plans with a friend for 7:15pm so I couldn’t stay for the book signing but after getting to know Jill, I couldn’t leave without a book and an autograph. Jill left dinner early to make it to the book signing in the same plaza and I had to leave just after. I high tailed it over to Barnes & Noble hoping to catch her while they were setting up. I bought my copy of the book and did this funny little run/walk looking for her. I spotted her going into what I thought was some kind of employee lounge. Wrong. She was going into the rest room. So I went into the rest room. And like that my good intentions to be supportive to a really nice woman turned author turned me into a total stalker. Really, I’m so not like that. Lesson: Don’t double book yourself in one night. Plan to stay for the book signing. Do not follow people into the bathroom.
All this to say, it was nice to meet a blogger turned author who was real and unprententious and willing to share what she’s learned on her journey. I believe you can’t dream something into reality unless you know what it looks like. Now I’ve met someone who’s done it, who’s doing it. It really does make it easier to dream. And on that note, one of my favorite confessions from the book.
Jill is on her book tour now. Read her blog. Read the confessions. Get the book. Then get yourself to a book signing and support
the best curls you’ve ever seen a pretty cool lady championing for real moms.
pps. One more lesson. Find local blogger/writer peeps. Whether or not your goals are the same, meet them, get to know their work, support one another, learn from one another. It’s valuable in reaching your goals but sometimes it’s also just fun. Go ahead, do it.