What a difference a year makes.Here is my year in review, and a message of thanks from me to you on Freelance Writing Direct.
My End of Year Recap is a short episode, really only 7 minutes, so I will supplement below with what else happened this year. But, first, please subscribe to my YouTube channel, and don’t miss an episode. And for all my episodes, check them out here.
Watch on YouTube
I have to start with two huge events that happened for me this month. One, I was on the phenomenal podcast The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, interviewed by publishing maven herself, and host of the show, Bianca Marais. Bianca got me to share my writing tips and tricks, craft advice, and she also got me to spill about my background in publishing. They even used some cool quotes from me (below). Listen to it here.
And here is my podcast episode with Bianca talking about her witchy novel, The Witches of Moonshyne Manor that cast a spell on me.
I Was Published in Shondaland
Also, I was published in Shondaland about a secret I’ve held because of shame — my decades-long struggle with hearing loss. But being a mom to a teenager and the new battles we’ve fought over it prompted me to write this essay. I made sure to read it to my daughter before submitting and she approved saying she thought it could help a lot of people. I think it also helps that she is obsessed with Grey’s Anatomy, which is Shonda Rhimes’ of Shondaland’s brainchild. Read it here.
Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming.
Last year during late December-early February I was working on the final edits for WRITING THAT GETS NOTICED. But, so much has happened since March, that I almost don’t know where to start. But I’ll try. That’s also when I started my Substack called Writing That Gets Noticed. I will be doing a review of pitches and first parts of essays in an upcoming issue. So stay tuned.
AWP in Seattle
I love Seattle. It is the most beautiful town, and has the best food. While I can get intimated by a lot of people in a crowd, I was able to navigate through the conference by making plans two months in advance. That’s right. I basically, had plans every night and someone to spend time with during the day. That alleviated any nervousness or FOMO feeling I might have had.
Second, the conference was overwhelming but I had a fabulous panel that I moderated called Through a Literary Lens: Craft Tips to Get You Published in Mainstream Publications. My co-panelists were Hattie Fletcher, Vanessa Hua, Dawn Raffel, and William Dameron, all stellar professionals, and I’ve done episodes of Freelance Writing Direct with three of the four panelists.
One of the tips was on a literary premise called The Objective Correlative, which is a way of imbuing an object with emotion, so that you don’t have to keep saying “he was anxious,” or “she was angry,” instead you could show the emotion through how someone uses a hairbrush, puts on a tie, handles a routine, or accumulates a collectible item. William Dameron does this in his Modern Love essay, I analyze in his book by using the objective correlative of a haircut to show the progression in his marriage.
I also had a piece on Micro Memoir in Writer’s Digest Magazine.
I was so honored to receive NYU’s SPS 2023 Teaching Excellence Award. Here is what my director, Miguel Ortiz-Crane had to say about me. (My tribute starts at the 42.56 mark). Such lovely and thoughtful words!
I especially loved what Miguel said, at the end, about how we are not just one voice, together we make a choir, and that I’m an important part of his choir.
Freelance Writing Direct
As of end of April/early May, I became the sole host of Freelance Writing Direct, and immediately decided to add video. That’s why Freelance Writing Direct is now on YouTube. I’m so excited about it, because I think a lot of writers need the visual to really connect with the material. Please sign up so you don’t miss an episode.
Writing That Gets Noticed Is Out in the World.
My book birthday was June 13th.
Here is my unboxing video which I posted on TikTok.
I have an amazing short book trailer that I love. In it, I 0ffer several tips throughout on how not to get ghosted by editors, how to come up with ideas, and what a writer needs to do to stay relevant. See it here.
ASJA Virtual Conference
Michelle Rafter the ASJA conference chair (check out her episode on Freelance Writing Direct) did an amazing job helming the conference and working with the volunteers. Speaking of volunteers, I volunteered to lead a pitch slam session with editors from The New York Times, The Washington Post, Guideposts, The Digital Party, Narratively, and AARP: The Magazine. And my session happened to be on my launch day. Colleagues like Michelle and Rich Eisenberg gave my book a shout-out at the conference, which I deeply appreciated.
I got some fabulous praise, photos and comments on my book from colleagues and friends, and people who have orbited in and out of my life in varying degrees.
If you like my book please leave a review on Amazon. It really helps get the word out, so I appreciate it so much. You can also ask your library to carry the book. In general, taking these steps to bring good books to people really helps writers.
A Powerful Episode
The one and only Cheryl Strayed spoke to me about writing and craft and life and revealed so much wisdom in an episode titled Cheryl Strayed on Writing and Tiny Beautiful Things.
Don’t forget I have 64 episodes in all covering reprints, technical writing, personal essays, pitching, writing books, interviews with top assigning editors, and so much more. Make sure to subscribe wherever you listen to or watch podcasts.
I taught a one day pitching webinar for Writer’s Digest online on July 20th. People brought their pitches and I analyzed it in real time.
Random but Fun Fact
I learned My New York Times essay “Singing My Dad Back to Me” is being taught in a writers’ personal essay class.
I spoke at The Writer’s Digest Conference and loved being there with so many other gifted writers and writing teachers.
I also had a piece in Jane Friedman’s newsletter on How to Successfully Pitch Op-Eds and Timely Cultural Pieces that was the most popular post of the month.
I also wrote the piece for Writer’s Digest How to Maximize Your Launch Week and Get Your Book Noticed.
September (my bday month)
Two great bday surprises this month: I learned that Writing That Gets Noticed is now a course at NYU, and an elective toward the journalism certificate. What a tremendous honor a great way to get my book in the hands of more students and writers.
Also, I had two pieces in Inc. Magazine by fellow New World Author Minda Zetlin (Career Self-Care):
This was not a good month. The devastation of the slaughter by Hammas, and the realization that antisemitism is once again an epidemic came home for me in a very visceral way. Never again is now!
On the publishing front there was one bright spot: I did publish an essay in The Digital Party about a past life experience I had, which tied in perfectly to this surreal month.
The Atlanta Writer’s Conference was such a delight to attend and speak at. The added bonus: I got to meet my fabulous editor from New World Library, Georgia Hughes.
I also ran the latest in my NYU Editor-on-call series, Showing up for Shondaland. My next event will be on May 16th. Sign up for this newsletter to get that info early.
I ended the year on a high note– with my Zibby Award from Zibby Books and Zibby Owens Media where Writing That Gets Noticed was named the “Best Book for The Writer.”
Here is my episode of Freelance Writing Direct with Zibby Owens that covers how she is upending the publishing world — in a good way. And don’t miss pre-ordering her fabulous new novel, Blank, which is available for purchase on my brand new Bookshop along with other books from guests of Freelance Writing Direct.
And, of course, my first mentions about my episode, Finding Your Voice on The Shit No One Tells You About Writing, and my piece on motherhood, teen daughters and hearing loss called “I’m Learning to Listen in New Ways,” for Shondaland.
Lots in store for 2024, including a new video opening for Freelance Writing Direct, more speaking engagements, webinars, podcast appearances, courses, and products. I’m also working diligently on a novel, a memoir and maybe even a children’s book.
Thank you to everyone who had me on your podcast, wrote about me and the book, or gave me a speaking or teaching opportunity. I am grateful for you.
Stay safe, healthy and happy… and keep writing and building your craft. I can’t wait to read what you’ll be writing.
Have a Very Happy New Year!