A Change of Pace
By Paulette Le Pore Motzko
Copyright December 29th, 2012
In the mail came one of the best Writer’s Market magazines I have ever read yesterday, and I have been saving the putting to use the article “Have a Perfectly Inspired Week” by The Writer’s Digest Staff.
I decided to change my surroundings and do something different or go somewhere I don’t normally go to write.
I chose Mimi’s Café, which was around the corner from me and not as far as my usual place in Huntington Beach. I remembered they made some of the best cappuccino I ever tasted and their pretty French Provencal decor was “my style”. Daniel walked up to me and made me happy I walked through the door with his cheery smile and immediately saw me sitting and wanted to take my order. People here notice everything and are on top of it with service, but more importantly they are nice, outgoing people who make you feel at home here.
As a writer I can work anywhere I choose to and do anything from writing web content for a client, editing something, writing a Feature Story for a restaurant or other business, a press release or new content for Totally Inspired Mind and Photos Without Words on Word Press or a new dish on my cooking site called “Cooking Up a Storm All Over The World!”
Over the span of the six years I have been a paid writer, I have seen my knowledge build with each article I read and book I read and my world expand with each new piece of information. My motto in life is:
Do what works and pay attention to what does work. Make note of it and do it over again, refining all the way. Listen to what people in the business say and your readers and take criticism constructively, improving all the way.
Also, pay attention to what doesn’t work and by all means do not repeat the mistake and learn wisdom and gain distance from your work.
I will come here on a more frequent basis because I love the food and menu items that Mimi’s Café serves, and have wanted to write a Feature Story about it for 2 years now, with the manager being interesting in hiring me. (We just haven’t organized a meeting with him, the General Manager and the Regional CA Manager and Marketing Director and I yet. The keyword is YET.)
Tonight I met Corey, a beautiful young lady who was greeting everyone with her warm smile as the hostess. I noticed she looked like she was freezing and I was right. I told her where she could get a pretty black camisole for a reasonable price and then she wouldn’t freeze any more. Then we began talking and after I told her what I did, she thought I had a really wonderful job, and I must admit I do. If you would have told me five years ago I would have 4 web sites, and they would be increasing in popularity daily, I wouldn’t have believed it, because I didn’t know how to do web sites then. I read books, copious amounts of books, and even scour the racks of magazines at Barnes & Noble all the time seeing what is hot and who is doing what. I am also not afraid to ask someone smarter and more knowledgeable how to do something. Most truly successful people love mentoring someone. I know I do. I am constantly being put in touch with people who have always wanted to write or thought it was too hard, and then I tell them how to begin the book and give them exercises to do. (Perhaps that will be another book, come to think of it!)
Corey is going to do the first exercise I gave her, which is to open MS Word on her computer and then number the things she loves doing the most and is the most passionate about.
It is from this spring of innermost feelings that the best stories are made.
I wish I had recorder when I was telling Corey about life and what you take from it. I will try and re-create what I told her.
“In life you simply take the best of any situation and leave the rest behind. You learn from the things that didn’t go the way you expected, and then gain wisdom from it. Most people do not get what they want in life and are constantly on a quest to achieve something. If you asked some of the richest people or supposed successful people what gives them the most happiness, you will find the answers follow a close parallel. I know that my best and fondest memories are from the simplest of things and I derive joy from nature and wonderful interesting people.”
When I talked to Matt here I told him I was really happy I “decided to shuffle the deck and do something different. When you go to new places and talk to new people your frame of reference changes, the people who frequent the place change and it opens your world to new experiences, conversations and stories.”
I only wish Mimi’s were open a little later, because the booth is so comfy, the people are so warm and friendly, and the words keep flowing like a quill pen being dipped in an ink well writing calligraphy.
Going back to the article of “Have a Perfectly Inspired Week”, the pointers were:
Day 1-Set a word count goal for the week ahead. –I don’t really do word count but I have really finite ideas as to what kind of story or article I want to create and begin with an outline. Once I get the idea crystalized in my mind, it is then easy to expand it into a cohesive story. I always begin with an outline as a master plan.
Visit a library-My favorite is the Newport Beach Library and I could be their PR Director. It is there I discovered The Writer’s Market magazine article about creating a blog to gain readership, notoriety in my field, experience and exposure, and to promote my books when they come out.
Cooking Up a Storm All Over the World! Was born shortly afterwards.
Now there are 202 members on it and it is going to undergo a major change in the near future. I want to convert it to Word Press if at all possible, so I am going to talk to a customer service person about it.
Order a drink you never tried before-I haven’t done this one today, but it has been awhile since I ordered a decaf cappuccino at Mimi’s. I forgot how fantastic they are, especially with ground cinnamon on top.
Day 2 Do field research for a potential story-I have one in the works now.
Meet a writing friend for coffee-I will make some phone calls.
Tune into an unfamiliar radio station-I had always said “I like all music except rap, and I thought they left the “c” of it! That was until I heard a song called “Whistle” by Flor_ida, and now I listen to hip hop when I am doing things around the house. I never would have believed that I would like that genre, but I heard it playing on Christmas Day at Taco de Ojo in Huntington Beach and started moving to the music with my friends Erica and Eric.
Day 3 Take a risk with your writing-I will be looking for interesting, untapped avenues and genres in my Writer’s Market 2013 book.
Attend a reading or book signings at a book store or coffee shop-The Newport Beach Library has signings all the time and Barnes & Noble has them too. I have just never made it a point to go. I will now.
Walk in someone else’s shoes-literally-this one I will skip. God knows where their feet have been!
Day 4 Register for a writing retreat, conference or other event.-This one gave me the most joy of all of them, because I never thought of it, and a retreat would be heaven. I would love talking to contemporaries in my field, building friendships while I build my perspective and knowledge.
Visit a newsstand and make a list of publications you’d like to see your work in someday.-I have done this already and am working on an article for Family Circle as we speak.
Assume the attitude of a curious bystander-at home.-I don’t have cable now because I will be moving soon, and many of the utilities have been cut by my miser of a brother-in-law who was dubbed POA on my mother’s behalf by my now late father. I do have an IPOD thought that gets a trillion and one media on it, which will be a nice sub. Well on this exercise between a sporting event and a sitcom, I would take the sitcom because I can use some levity in my life with all the stresses of my mother and ill intentioned “family” members. I never thought about writing what I learned from it before.
Day 5 Learn a new word-This is easy and I do it every day anyway. I
Contribute to a blog
Do something you haven’t done (or wanted to do since you were a kid.)-The first and only thing that comes to mind is swing on a swing, but I don’t’ know where I can find one I could fit in! I am honest folks!
Day 6 Ask a friend to read something you’ve already written but haven’t shown anyone
Write a poem-I wrote a Haiku recently and published it on “Totally Inspired Mind” on Word Press and the responses were very good. Many people wrote me and told me how refreshing it was to find someone who wrote quality content like myself. That truly was my Christmas Present delayed two days.
Engage in a form of physical activity you don’t usually do.-I do love my membership to 24 Hour Fitness and love walking by the sea. I would love to get a cruiser bike that looks like a 50’s bike. Then, all I have to do is find someone to ride with and get a bike rack for the back of the car, and then ride. I used to love doing that when I was a kid, along with roller skating. The latter is out because with 4 leg injuries over 6 years, I don’t want to risk another. Bike riding is low impact and relaxes me.
Day 7 Write collaboratively, just for fun.-This one I love the sound of and there are four people who come to mind and I could write with each of them individually, one by one: Ben Carlin of Kissing The Cook blog fame; Chef Chuck Kerber of Pittsburgh Hot Plate fame; Yesim Caglar of Yesim Style Kitchen, and Teresa Reale La Pasticciona of her amazing Italian blog by her own name “La Pastionna.”
When you met your weekly word count goal, treat yourself.
Write a letter to an author you admire.-This one I did over a year ago to the great iconic Italian cooking teacher and writer Marcella Hazan. I had wrestled with each word of the letter I wrote her, hoping to let her know I was someone very genuine and kind and that I would be honored if she would take the time to write me back. She did and when she did I was elated! Now, each time she writes me back, I remember the time I asked her about her paleontology degree and she old me to read her memoirs entitled “Amacorde”. Oddly enough or as fate would have it, Barnes and Noble had that very book that week for only $10 in their discount section. I was going to do work and then when I saw it, I took the day off and just read and read and read and admired her even more than I did before reading it, knowing the things she went through, the bombings over the family house, the way she did without, and the way she almost lost her hand.-the very hands that would eventually become famous showing others how to cook!
I am surprised this is now 2057 words, but I meant to write yesterday but met a nice lady named Janice, who I am going to help get a job, and we spoke about life, tragedies, loves and aspirations.
I also was privileged to be at Walgreens sitting down because it allowed me to meet Tom, a Senior Tech for Microsoft and his wife Kin who were there. After we talked awhile about what he did and kids being our future, the petition I just created making financial aid available to any American citizen who needs it on a temporary basis, no matter if you have a child or not. They both had said what a good person I was, and that is one the greatest compliments I can receive. Integrity is not something you can buy in a store and I was raised around people who walked the talk and honesty was valued. When I mentioned the title of my book “Self Fulfilling Prophecies & Positive Affirmations” Kim looked excited when she hear what the chapter outlines were going to be and that made me happy. A writer can have the best book in the world, but it takes people who look to be filled with the knowledge you are sharing. I am so pleased that the more people ask me about the book I am writing, or about what my blog is called or my web sites, they want to join it and read the things I write. That is very rewarding indeed. I have a database of the people who are now on my book list so when I feel it is as great as it can be, I will let them know so they can buy it. That is my promise to them.
Recently I took a trip to a hotel I love in Huntington Beach for a few days and it felt like a month. Everyone needs some “time away” so they can do anything they want, not be bothered by anyone to enable your creative juices to flow. As a writer, I know what helps me write in the most effective ways, what music inspires me and what I need to do. As a writer or photographer, discover the places where you feel the most inspired, the music that makes your fingers flow on the paper and get into the right mindset to tap into your creative juices.
When I came back from my trip, I realized not only did my mother need to go into a home that gives 24 hour care to those with alzheimer’s disease, but I needed to move away from negative toxic family members who had been shooting verbal bullets at me for years. I made great sacrifices for my mother Ramona, but not that she is taken care of, I can go anywhere my heart desires. I am hoping I can make a move in short order and have Atlas Van lines coming this week to get an estimate.
I can live anywhere in the world really and thrive in a positive environment. It will be so nice to live in a real neighborhood where people talk to each other, care about each other and English is the language of choice instead of Little Saigon which has the most Vietnamese next to Vietnam!
I am looking forward to having my own, even if it is smaller and I have to down size, it will be mine and I can control every aspect of my world for the first time in years. It doesn’t matter that my siblings cannot appreciate the meals I made for mom all those years and dad. I know I did it and God knows and the world knows because the recipes I created that they ate were published on my blog.
I have skipped all over in writing this but it needed to be written because by tomorrow this will be history and when I am moved in to my new place I will look back at writing this and remember how hard I tried to make it all come together.
Anything worth attaining is worth working hard for. If you can visualize it, you can achieve it.
My exercise for you this week:
- What have you wanted to do more than anything in your life and what have you thought of and wished you could do? Is it too late to pursue it? If not, write down the steps you would need to go from passive voice to proactive voice.
- If you took my advice, write about it in the discussion boxes and comment boxes on:
I hope you have enjoyed reading this. I am always touched by all the comments I have been getting and welcome any comments you have.
May all the positive forces in the universe be attracted to you and may you attract people who are positive, talented and who care about the world around you, and avoid all the ones you do not, like water droplets on Vaseline.