When I was in NYC for a conference a few years ago, I sat down next to this guy on the subway. You probably know the type: Wall Street...Freshly scrubbed face...Leather satchel...Three piece suit the color of money...
Anyway, we got to talking and he asked me what I did for a living. I told him I was a writer. His eyes lit up and I knew his admiration for me increased.
It always does.
You see, there's something about meeting an actual writer that intrigues people. Especially women. Beautiful women.
If I had known this 30 years ago I would've told every girl I met that I was a writer. Even if the only thing I'd written off was my last girlfriend. Why? Because telling a woman that you're a writer ranks right up there with telling her that you work with autistic children.
Or that you train seeing-eye dogs.
Or that you collect food for Somalia.
And telling any buxom blond or sexy brunette that you write instructional materials on training seeing-eye dogs for autistic children in Somalia would no doubt hit the "I want to have your children" trifecta.
Unfortunately, I learned this all too late. Now I just impress strangers on subways. Or if I'm lucky, I'll light up the eyes of that three-martini matron at the cocktail party who laments the fact that her recently retired husband just strained his back "leaping to a conclusion."
Ah...if I'd only known then what I know now...
But I digress.
So... I was on the subway chatting with this young-enough-to-be-my-son businessman and told him that I wrote books for a living. After he spent a moment in utter admiration, he sighed and said that, he too, had a book inside him.
Needless to say, I've heard this a gazillion times. "Don't we all," I responded.
He said, "No, really. I do. I just ate a copy of War and Peace."
Then he got off at the next stop.
I'm not sure where I'm going with all this. Perhaps it's to say that if you do have something inside of you that is just dying to get out then perhaps now is the time to do it. Cookbook. Novel. Short story. Poem. If it's clawing at the door of your soul, perhaps you need to let it loose.
But you must do it right. Otherwise you might be better off ordering a la carte at Mortons Steak House.
As in any craft, you'll need to work at it. Sweat over it. Hone it and perfect it. Offer it up for critique. Re-write it. Then re-write it again. Send it to a good editor. Then rewrite it again.
But above all, stick with it.
I've met many a writer who grew disenchanted because, after a whole two months, their blog follower count didn't quadruple...Or they received a dozen or so rejection letters from agents...Or their best friend (even worse, their spouse) laughed and said, "You have something that needs to be said? What happened, did that gorilla who pounds her fist on the floor to communicate with her trainer die or something?"
Listen, if what you have to say is worth hearing, people will listen. But as in most things, much of it lies in the presentation.
You have a book inside you? Let it sing. But not after you've taken out all the sour notes. You found a recipe that sounds delish? Make it. Then tweak it. Then make it again.
The ladies (or men) will love you for it. .
Carpe diem and bon appetit!