After the publication of my first book, I started experiencing a new phenomenon in my life. In fact, it probably started before the publication, but became more frequent when I began my promotional tour.
People love to imagine themselves as writers. They want to write books. Iím excited by that. More and more people are approaching me for advice about writing. Books are in my top ten favorite things and I canít get enough. I love to encourage and support writers. However, I donít think that the people who approach me really believe they can do it.
While I am looking forward to what these people want to put in print, I have a nagging feeling that their stories will never be published. Why? Because no one has ever passed the hand test. Every time someone asks me about writing, self-publishing, organization, processes, or anything else, I look at their hands. For me, the sign of a writer is the constant presence of a pen and paper.
I have carried a little notebook and pen everywhere for as long as I can remember. Whether I use it to scratch out a grocery list, scripture references, or a ďto doĒ list for work doesnít matter. The notebook is always in use and constantly referred to when I am writing, which I do every day.
It is disheartening when a potential author approaches me, asks for advice, and then asks me to write it all down in my notebook! In fact, I have started to leave my notebook in my briefcase or purse when I am talking to people. To me, empty hands means that you are not expecting me to say anything important. When I see empty hands, I know that my notebook can stay put because the exchange is for entertainment purposes only.
I like the idea of mini-celebrity, but I like the idea of sharing even more. My nature is that of an educator/entrepreneur. I love to learn things and share them. I do this mostly through writing and speaking. The constant presence of my notebook reflects my deep belief that valuable information is everywhere and I donít want to miss anything. I donít like the idea of a notebook-free experience.
Another strong belief is that everyone has an interesting story. Asking questions about how to write and publish them is important. It is especially important to ask those questions to people who are experienced, so please grab the opportunity whenever it arises. We are writers, we love to tell stories and break down processes! We are also very likely to present the topic in articles or workshops. But, I have to draw the line at writing down dates and titles for you.
I am trained as a psychologist. You can trust the three Ivy League graduate degrees that inform these very basic conclusions. Every writer wants fans. We like to believe that someone is relating to us and that our message has been conveyed clearly enough for people to understand. We love to see your approach because it means that our skills are intact. So please, never hesitate to walk right up.
Your desire to relate is equally compelling and relating on a professional level is a widely accepted practice. ďI write, too!Ē is great way to make contact. After that, it is perfectly alright to change the subject or go further. If you just want social or professional contact, make it plain. Letís exchange cards and go on with it. But, if you ask for advice it is a reflex for me to look at your hands and make a judgment call. Sorry, but it has happened enough for me to have to make a choice about my response.
I want everyone to live as full a life as they can. I want to spare you the troubles that I have endured. I want to give you the real deal. But no one wants to waste their time. When your inner conflicts are resolved, your confidence is intact and you truly believe that you are approaching a person who has information that will take you one step closer to your dream, you will have your notebook ready.
Dr. Yvonne LaMar is an assistant professor at a Christian university in west Texas, as well as a writer, speaker, webmaster, and radio personality. Her classes are taught in the education, psychology, and sociology departments. She holds graduate degrees from University of Pennsylvania and Cornell University. Her first book, "God Provides the Sacrifice: Women Discuss Making Their Hardest Decisions: was released in December 2004. Her radio show, "Make it Plain with Dr. LaMar" can be heard on the internet and will be broadcast live throughout west Texas in March 2005. "God Provides...The Newsletter" features practical articles for anyone who is interested in personal development and productivity. Subscribe at www.drlamar.com Most of all, she wishes you Peace!
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