How My Hero Natalie Goldberg Turned Me Down…But It Worked Out for the Best

Quite a few years ago, after much self-inflicted drama over the future of my writing career, I followed the advice of a well-known writer who instructed in his book that if you want to start gaining momentum on a self-made career, you need to attach your unknown name to a famous one. This was actually good advice, but I didn’t act on it in an authentic way, so it blew up in my face. In short, I contacted the PR rep for an author I adore, Natalie Goldberg, whose writing advice has been the voice of reason in my head since my college years…and nervously speed-talked my way to disaster.

It may have been a fantastic brain child idea to call up Natalie Goldberg out of the blue and ask if she would be willing to interview with me for a new workshop series I developed around her freewriting techniques, but I didn’t prepare myself. Instead of meticulously planning what to say, I called on a whim, actually reached a human being, and then proceeded to fumble through a very unprofessional request to attach myself to her fame. Just thinking about it makes me wince. I don’t blame her at all for saying no.

Even though I was deflated by the response I got, I wasn’t surprised. My intention was good, but I didn’t plan or think it through at all. I deserved the stiff arm she gave me, but I didn’t let it stop me from continuing forward. With almost maniacal resolve, I threw myself into my writing work, determined more than ever to get myself published, to teach other writers, and to gain a following, even if I had to do it the hard way.

Fast forward five years into the future, and here I sit at my computer, writing this missive to you. I didn’t need Natalie Goldberg to boost my dedication to writing. What I needed to was to kick myself in the pants and get moving on my own. Sometimes what we think is a good idea turns out to be a wrong turn, even if we don’t know it at the time. After many years of wrong turns, I get a lot less worked up about the little hitches in my plans, and instead try to keep perspective on what’s really important. Am I still writing? Am I still publishing? Are my big goals still working, and am I sticking to them? Do the people who need me find me?

Some people are fortunate to find themselves at a young age. I think I found my calling at a young age, but I didn’t allow myself to believe it yet. It took me decades to accept who I am meant to be. I hope that doesn’t happen to you, but even if it does, it’s okay. Finding yourself happens when you’re ready, and not before then. Trust me when I say, if you try to attach yourself to someone else’s coat tails and it fails, it will work out somehow.

At this point in my writing career, I still don’t think I’ve completely come into my time yet, but I’m ready to help other writers, regardless of my own success or failure. In at least one way, I have succeeded: I have published three books with a fourth on the way. That’s a big win. Though I have a lot more to give, I have the rest of my life to keep giving, and I plan to use every day as an opportunity. What is your plan? Do you have one? Are you shooting in the dark? Please, learn from my lessons and make your life easier.

Whatever your journey has been to date, if you need help writing your book, organizing your content, editing your writing, or figuring out how to publish through Amazon, I can help you with that. I can coach you, edit your manuscript, or we can do writing workshops via Skype. Can I get Natalie Goldberg on the phone? Nope, but I can still offer up all the knowledge I have gained from following her expert advice, and it’s been working for me for almost 30 years. If you want me to help you make your writing its best, I can do that. I trained as a teacher, and love helping other writers embrace their voices.

This work does require dedication, getting organized, and being serious. If you’re in the phase of being unsure if you’re even a writer, you may not be ready for me yet. If you’re deep in the process of writing a novel, but feel all tangled up, I’m your girl. Get your tall boots on and prepare to wade into the murky waters with me. I’ll help you keep the gators at bay. Use my contact page to send me an email, and I will get back to you in about 24 hours. We’ll decide if we’re right for each other, and if we are, we’ll get cracking.

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