May 2, 2014

Why I Write.


When I was a kid, I wanted to grow up to be a writer. My mother used to type my stories for me on her typewriter, and in 4th grade my story entitled "Growing Poppies" won second place in the first ever creative writing competition at The Bernard Hoffman elementary school in Terra Linda, California.

Yep, I experienced the bright lights of fame early. In my twenties, I realized I would starve to death trying to be a writer. I realized that many people were more talented than me, and I stopped. And I missed it terribly.

In 1993, I got a call to write a how-to book from Globe Pequot Press. They needed a catering expert and I filled that slot. I had never used a computer before so I wrote my first book and learned to use a pc at the same time. It could never have happened without the help of my lovely second husband. He told me I had to write this book because I had valuable advice to share.

He kindly taught me to save my words. Get in, be clear, and get out. I experienced the flip side of the coin with the editor, who was mean. When I finally had pages to turn in to her, she'd tell me how awful they were. Not constructive, but anyone who knows me knows that above all else, I persevere. What I lack in intelligence, I make up for with stubbornness.  

I wrote my first book. I got the tiniest advance in the history of publishing, but I did it. With great pride, I now announce that the 7th edition of my catering book is due out July 1st, with added information, forms and menus. The life of my little catering book is alive and well.

 

And guess what? I've sold over 100,000 copies and it has paid me (modest) royalties for twenty years. Most importantly, I receive emails every month from people who tell me that is changed their lives. A little book that helped them, inspired them, brought them income. I am humbled and grateful.

In June, I am speaking at the Santa Barbara Food & Wine Weekend and at the Mid-Atlantic Food Writers Symposium. If you have the urge to write or need help getting started, come visit with me.