It’s amazing how rejuvenating a vacation can be! I’ve been back for a couple of weeks and I’m still riding the motivational high. A long vacation with lots of time to journal and rest was just what I needed to organize and prioritize – and tackle Q4. Thanks to all of you who followed along on FaceBook and Instagram (and who told me in person how much you enjoyed my posts!)
I’m welcoming new clients and getting new projects up and running every week, and I’d love to work with you! I also handle proposal development for authors who need some help building a business case that will interest agents and publishers. After years of pitching books internally to publishers and sales teams, I enjoy helping authors refine their ideas, build their market plans, and research market data for a business case.
A few other highlights from last quarter and some things to think about:
Hobbies: A friend and former editor of mine recently wrote a great piece for Philadelphia Magazine about hobbies. I was especially touched when she sent me a note about how my own hobbies were an inspiration to her. It was especially gratifying to see several outlets cover the importance of hobbies and why having outside interests keeps us mentally engaged. Whether you paint, garden, or play pickleball, the important thing is that you do something for fun that helps you keep moving forward. And, for the record? It’s really great to try things and fail from time to time. I cook, draw, and do a lot of needlework. My efforts are not always successful, but I always learn something. What are your current hobbies?
Gentelligence Redux: I recently had a discussion with a chief strategist at an advertising and digital strategy firm about generational differences in the workplace. We were laughing about GenX references that younger colleagues don’t understand, as well as cultural touch points for those born in the 90s or 2000s. While there may not be a comprehensive reference, the important thing is that as execs, you recognize that there are differences – and that other generations don’t communicate and connect like you do. Some execs complain that that the onus shouldn’t be on the older managers to adapt. They don’t understand why the younger ones aren’t working harder to fit into an existing corporate environment. I would argue that the reason is purely a numbers game. There are more of them than there are of you, and the whole “But I’m the boss, you’ll do what I say” trope? Well, that’s not working out so great either.
What do your employees really want? Companies need to invest in great talent. It’s a frequent refrain: “Our employees are our greatest strength” yet so many companies fail to deliver on programs these employees really want. Do you structure your space and work tools for how they best want to work? Do you pay for coaches, professional development, conferences, and classes? Do you encourage them in – and pay for – training to do their jobs better? Employees today want enrichment. The days of conferences, training, and development being the first items cut from a budget have to be over. Don’t just tell your people they’re valuable, show them.
How do you consume news? A corporate executive asked me last month if news was ever going to return to “normal”. He was lamenting the loss of his routine reading the print NY Times or Wall Street Journal over coffee every morning. My comment was this: the news hasn’t changed but the way you consume it has. You may feel overwhelmed with push notifications, headline alerts, newsletters, and more, but remember that you are in control of how you read – or listen to – your news. I skim a few select morning email newsletters, check in again on targeted twitter feeds at lunchtime, listen to a podcast on a particular story (NY Times “The Daily” and something from the WSJ’s portfolio are particularly good), then read an “end-of-day” newsletter or two in bed. Your routine may be different – but the key is controlling how you stay informed, not just absorbing the blast from the firehose every day.
Writing Take-Aways: In August, I attended the annual Wine Writer’s Symposium, usually held in Napa, but this year, virtually. While I missed the networking opportunities of an in-person conference, I loved the virtual format with 4 hours of sessions per day. It meant I could still keep up with my work load and avoid the downtime of travel. Speakers included Ruth Reichl, Jane Anson, author of Inside Bordeaux, and Dorothy Gaiter and John Brecher of the Grape Collective in NYC plus a host of other national food and wine magazine editors. While some sessions were inspirational, others covered technical refreshes for journalists at any level including interviewing, data usage, pitching, and ethical considerations. Many thanks to the organizers and speakers for helping inspire creativity giving me loads of new ideas for my own wine writing. Here were a few takeaways you might find useful, too!
- Be fearless. You have to be a little fearless to succeed as a writer and able to do the things that scare you. Think you have a big idea? It’s worth digging a little to make it active!
- Tell the story. Embrace that you are a storyteller.
- Keep learning. Don’t let your professional writing get stagnant. Keep asking yourself “what’s next?”
- When in doubt, disclose. If you have an ethical quandary, just be transparent and honest about it. It will help lead you to a solution.
- Networking is key. You have to get yourself out there and let others know what you do. This one applies to editors like me, but also to all of you out there who have book ideas of your own.
Inspired? I want to hear what you’re working on.
I’m always excited to hear about new books and writing projects. Contact me about ghostwriting and development projects for Q4 and 2023. (As always, you can see my list of topic specialties and what I can do for you.) If we’ve worked together, referrals are great, too. Let’s keep connecting!