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#72171 - 01/11/05 07:02 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Queen Me Offline

Registered: 09/13/04
Posts: 64
Loc: Oklahoma

I wanted to return to the posts about public speaking. I, too, used to get so nervous (stems from my childhood and a bad piano competition). I suddenly drew a blank and couldn't remember how to play. Yikes!

Anyway, I solved my "problem" like Prill did. I joined Toastmasters. I bet they have a chapter near you!! It's a painful, first step (well, okay . . . it was for me), but the "training" quickly helped me move past my fears. You learn (as well as your body--meaning your physical reactions to fear) that it's going to be okay. Of course, this is advice for future speaking engagements.

Prill's advice about your hands is great too. Podiums are a wonderful way to mask things and a good place to put your notes. By participating in Toastmasters, you'll learn how to stand, where to put your hands, how to craft interesting, entertaining speeches.

Re: Smile's self-promotion issues . . . I think it's about finding a message that fits what you are trying to do and say and that resonates with you. Dotsie had some great ideas. Consider creating a platform that encompasses your message, project or work. Also be honest. For example, I remember getting a letter from an author friend. It was actually a "mass" e-mailing introducing a new book that she highly recommended. I new that if I bought the book, she would get a commission. I was okay with that. I mean, she had not steered me wrong yet, and I didn't mind her profiting from my purchase. So, I ordered the book. When I got the book, I quickly discovered why she was "really" promoting it. She was featured. Now, she didn't mention being featured in the mass mailing. This bothered me. I guess I wish she had sent an e-mail telling us about being featured and then if we wanted to buy it either because she was in it or it was a great book, then we could. And, I would have gladly purchased the book for the "real" reason.

But . . . oh well.

I've enjoyed catching up on all the posts. Thanks for sharing your agent and publisher story with us.

[ January 11, 2005, 04:05 PM: Message edited by: Queen Me ]

#72172 - 01/11/05 08:11 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Princess Lenora Offline

Registered: 11/11/04
Posts: 3503
Loc: Colorado
I'm reading with interest this topic about self-promotion. I learned early not to call attention to myself. I learned to be modest. I was socialized not to be TOO: don't be too talkative, don't be too pretty, smart, sexy, talented. I also walked with my eyes downcast, shoulders slumped. Don't be too much of your own self! I waited for months to tell anyone that my book had been published. I was graduating from college at age 48 at the same time, and I didn't want to be TOO successful all at once. I like the comment about it is not ME I am promoting, but my mission, which happens to be shared through my writing. I am becoming a bit better at promoting, especially when an event is tied to a cause, such as speaking and selling books during "A Week Without Violence." What I have a problem with is accepting the fact that I am good enough to get paid. Love and Light, Lynn

#72173 - 01/11/05 08:16 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Sher— I just noticed that I inadvertently put an “i” at the end of your name. Sorry about that.

Allyn— You’re so welcome. (I want to thank you publicly as well for all you’ve done for me.) Such sage advice you’ve given Smile when you conclude: "I think it's about finding a message that fits what you are trying to do and say and that resonates with you.”

Smile— When Dotsie gently--and wisely--counsels you to “realize that what you have to offer can benefit others,” she touches on what I mean by self-love.

Promoting our work is a way of honoring it and, thereby, honoring ourselves as creators. Whether we’ve written a novel, painted a portrait, or invented a new product, what we have formed out of the airy substance of our imaginations retains our unique DNA. Like the children we give birth to, our creations take on a life of their own the moment they emerge into the world from our wombs. But the nurturing doesn’t end just because the umbilical chord has been cut.

For me, I know there will come a time when I need to let go; but I’m not giving up until I’ve done all I humanly can to ensure that as many people as possible hear my message of hope.

To put it another way, I believe that our most valuable possession is ourselves, our spirits. And that's what I feel I'm giving others when I share my book with them.

Many people are more courageous than I. Others might have more to give. But this book took ALL of my courage. This book took ALL I had to give. I hope in the future to write even more truthfully, to touch on the miraculous, as Joni Mitchell calls it. But as I was writing this book, I was as truthful as I had it in me to be. How can I NOT be shameless in sharing what I’ve done with others?

This is such a rich topic, something I think many of us struggle with to one extent or another. I’d love to hear from more of you.

#72174 - 01/11/05 09:48 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
smilinize Offline

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
I guess a part of my problem is that most of what I write is somewhat different than a helpful spiritualor non-fiction book.
In fact, what I really like writing is probably not going to help anyone at all. I have a need to write musicals and the easiest thing for me to get the opportunity for is towns that are celebrating special events. The musicals are purely for entertainment with a little education thrown in. It costs the theaters and towns where my work is produced thousands of dollars, part of which is my commission ($6,000 to $10,0000 usually paid from a grant), and much more for production costs. Most ofen I write for small towns where production money is difficult to come by, but I have it in my contract that they do so because that's what I love about it. I have written for free, but the towns seem to want some kind of ownership. There is much better attendance when they commission and pay for the play. It can take up to a year to get the money and production on stage.

When my work is finally pruduced, there is no drug, no ego trip, nothing that compares to the joy I feel as I sit in the audience and hear my work spoken, sung, and danced. Every laugh, every tear, and every hand clapping is just for me. It should be against the law to get so high. Sometimes I feel guilty for it.

Right now my state is two years away from our first centennial and I should be marketing and applying for grants like crazy , but somehow I haven't. I've been busy. I just finished seven short plays for my church and I've published short stories and poetry, but I really long for those wonderful huge expensive musicals and I don't even regard the other as work. But at the same time, I feel guilty for passing up an opportunity. I've always operated on the concept that "Opportunties are God's gift to us and what we do with those opportunities are our gift to Him." But then maybe passing up an opportunity is a luxury I never had before and should allow myself.

Like all writers, I also need validation and for me that validation comes at a high cost.

Just rambling thoughts.

[ January 11, 2005, 07:31 PM: Message edited by: smilinize ]

#72175 - 01/11/05 10:10 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
mrsmuzz Offline

Registered: 11/05/03
Posts: 113
Loc: Orange, Texas
Boldness does not come easy for me. Recently I participated in a process which identifies strengths. Being bold was not one of mine! As a matter of fact "consistency" or "balance" was my strongest. Followed by communicator, empathy, achiever and harmony. However, the older I become the bolder I find myself. Even if it upsets someone elses balance. I recently broke off an unhealthy realtionship with a woman friend. I did it straight on with her. It was really, really tough. In the past, I would have just avoided her until she somehow got the message that I did not want to be friends with her. This time, I realized that she was manipulative and co-dependant and I told her I was not willing to be a part of that relationship. WOW, just reading that kinda scares me! I cried, she cried but I stood strong and have had no contact with her since then. That took more boldness than I have ever summoned before. But now that I know I can do it and the world will continue to turn on it's axis I feel stronger and more empowered than I have in a long, long time.

#72176 - 01/11/05 11:27 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Smile, if you love writing musicals, then believe me, they are touching people. Art doesn’t have to have some lofty purpose. It’s enough for it to be simply an expression of ourselves. How cool to write a play that celebrates events in a town’s history. How wondrous to be able to entertain others. Who doesn’t love—and need—entertainment in his or her life? How can you say that your musicals probably don't help anyone?

You confess that it’s the best feeling in the world to sit in an audience, watching your work being performed, hearing people laugh and clap. You’ve even seen tears running down people’s cheeks. What more evidence do you need to be able to admit to yourself that you are doing something worthwhile? Of course you feel joy. You’ve earned that joy.

Even if you hadn't "earned" it, joy alone is reason enough for doing something. No greater purpose is needed.

This might sound insensitive of me, but I don’t think it’s up to you to decide whether your fee and the associated production costs are too high. Let others decide that for you. Don’t censor yourself. Don’t withhold your gifts because you fear towns can’t afford them. Just put your talents out there and see what happens.

But if you want to take a break from musicals, that’s fine, too. Looking at your website, I’m in awe of all you’ve achieved. I wouldn’t be surprised if you needed a rest. I love some of the comments Daphne Stevens made last month about turning inward. They dovetail with my invitation for us all to reflect on what we really want. Not what others want for us, but what we want for ourselves. Who says you should (I’d love to banish that word!) be applying for grants? My thinking is that if you truly want to be writing that musical for your town’s first centennial, then do it. If you don’t, then luxuriate here with us. We love your input.

Lynn— Reading your posting, I’m amazed at your accomplishments. You graduated from college at age 48! You published a book at the same time! You’ve faced your demons and written about them! What an incredible woman you are. Of course you’re good enough to get paid.

Mrsmuzz— Your story inspired me. I think it's one of the hardest things in the world to end a relationship. You say that consistency is your strength. Couple that with your emerging boldness, and the possibilities are endless.

#72177 - 01/11/05 11:53 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
smilinize Offline

Registered: 11/08/03
Posts: 3512
Loc: outer space
Writing this down is helping me to identify the problem so I can either solve or accept it. Thank you for the kind words Prill.

I missed Lynn's and Msmuzz before.

Lynn, I bet your professors were so envious of your publishing and graduating at the same time. What an accomplishment - for any age.

Msmuzz, Making a decision to just drop a friend is difficult enough. Maybe it's a challenge of midlife. So many of us seem to be facing it.
I took the cowardly way out and just stopped answering her calls. I admire you for having the courage to do it openly. I felt that I could have helped my friend if I had been honest with her, but I just couldn't. She is a middle aged divorcee and she was stalking a man. It was becoming pathological and it frightened me. I just took myself out of her life.

#72178 - 01/12/05 12:38 AM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
Smile-- I'm glad that writing about your confusion is helping you find clarity. (I hope my responses haven't been sounding too preachy.) For some situations, it just takes time to figure things out, for all the pieces to fall into place. It took me two years to get clear about leaving my first husband. When I finally packed my bags and left, I was still not absolutely sure about my decision. The following day, I went back. I thought maybe I hadn't tried hard enough to make things work. But when I walked in the door, I saw that my ex had already rearranged the furniture! There's more to the story, but the bottom line is that by the end of that evening, I was crystal clear that I needed to leave him. If I hadn't gone through that whole, painfully agonizing process, I might have always wondered if I had made the right choice.

#72179 - 01/12/05 02:33 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
Prill Offline

Registered: 08/24/04
Posts: 201
Loc: Connecticut
It’s a snowy morning in Connecticut, but the roads are passable. I’m off to a meeting of an organization called The Passion Project. Its core mission is to inspire people to discover their passions and follow their dreams. The person who founded the group is a wonderful, 40-year old woman named Polly. Anyway, she contacted me after reading my book. Turns out she lives right in the next town! When I asked her what prompted her to found the organization, she told me the following story:

"My mother always used to say, 'Someday I'll do this," or "someday I'll do that." But she never did any of those things she really wanted to do. About a year after my mom died, I was looking in the mirror one day, putting on some make-up, when I caught myself saying the words, 'Someday I'm going to _____.' I stopped mid-sentence and thought, 'Oh no. Those are my mother's words.' Right then I grabbed my black eyeliner pencil and wrote in big letters across my mirror: “SOMEDAY IS TODAY!'

As a result of this epiphany, Polly went to India to work with the dying at Mother Teresa’s order, as well as to spread her mother's ashes and provide a sense of closure to her mom’s life. (Her mother had always wanted to go to India.) Then she came back home and founded The Passion Project. Anyway, I love and admire this woman and want to support her work.

Speaking of networking and promotion, the Passion Project is a good example. When Polly wrote me, I could have declined her invitation to speak at her organization. (Let me backtrack here and say that Polly might not have even heard about my book if I hadn't brazenly suggested to my friend Mary Jo that she display my book at her garden store and keep some of my bookmarks on the counter.) Instead, I not only accepted Polly's invitation, but suggested that we get together for lunch a few weeks before. We did, and we hit it right off. Then I told her that I'd like to be on her Board of Directors. I did this primarily because I believe in what she's doing, but I also thought that it would be great to make connections with other like-minded people. This is how I met a woman named Meg, who produced the off-Broadway show that I did an author talk-back at in December. And through doing that event, I met another woman who runs another group..... You get the idea. I also met an independent television producer. Here's the thing. Not only am I getting the word out about the book, but I'm meeting wonderful people who are transforming my life. I, in turn, have been trying to help them get the word out about their incredible projects. Networking is really about connecting human being to human being, one person at a time.

Dotsie is a great example of this. I had no idea about this site before she shamelessly contacted me through my website and asked me to do a link swap with her. We have been championing each other ever since. Even if not a single book gets sold on my end, just knowing Dotsie--and getting to know all of you--makes the effort worthwhile.

P.S. If my entries are too long to absorb, just tell me and I'll be briefer.

#72180 - 01/12/05 04:02 PM Re: Prill Boyle, Defying Gravity: A Celebration of Late-Blooming Women
TVC15 Offline

Registered: 09/03/04
Posts: 2538
Loc: North Carolina
Your entries are perfect! I'm enjoying every word.

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