I can't tell you how giddy we are here at WITS. We've been sitting on an announcement, dying to blab, but having to sit on it until today (well, okay, maybe that was just me-I stink at secrets.) You ready?
We have a new crit partner, and full time WITS author/blogger!
Orly Konig Lopez!
You might know her from the RWA-WF or Chick Lit chapters. You might know her from Washington Romance writers or Backspace, Savvy Authors, or SCWBI. You might know her from prison . . . okay, I made that last part up. But we're already loving her sense of humor, and we think you will too. She's going to be around the blog a lot, so I hope you all will show her some comment-love.
Have at it, Orly!
Not long after my son was born, I made the decision to quit my corporate job and take up freelance editing, and marketing communications. At first the idea scared the crap out of me, and not necessarily just the obvious, “will I be able to make it” question.
What was going to become of me at home all day, alone, just me, alone, without the daily interaction I was so used to, alone?
Now, don’t get me wrong, I’ve never had a problem being on my own. I’m an only child, so I’m used to entertaining myself. When I was young, I had imaginary friends (the Ghost of Scotland was my partner in crime when I was six and living in the UK—he had a bad habit of breaking things though, and wasn’t allowed to stay long.) I’m perfectly happy curled up in a toasty corner with a book.
But you know what I discovered? I liked being alone. Maybe I actually liked it too much. I was becoming a happy little troll in my solitary cave.
And writing fit the new me perfectly. All I needed was my laptop and my kitty companions (and a functioning espresso machine.) Because, really, what else do you need? You read craft books and then you write, write, write.
Until someone recommended I join RWA. Ummm, an Association? That meant interacting with people, right? No need for panic, little troll, the chapter I joined was an online one. I could lurk on Yahoo loops, sponge information from the wise members, then write, write, write. I could do this.
Then I pushed the comfort zone a bit more, and joined an online critique group. The idea of sharing my work with someone other than anonymous contest judges made the troll sweat. But after that first scary step, I realized it wasn’t so bad. Okay, it was pretty darn great actually.
Hey, we were on a roll. I joined a local chapter and, tossing that comfort pillow around like I was big troll on campus, then looked at the next thing on my “Oh please don’t make me do this” list—pitching an agent. Live. In person. Not an email query. See the troll cowering in the corner?
But, hey can’t stop now. So in March, when my local chapter had their retreat, I signed up for not one, but two pitch sessions. I wrote the pitch, I practiced, I even put on lipstick. And you know what? The troll survived. I even got two requests out of the experience.
I was kicking some comfort zone booty, people.
And I learned something important. There’s nothing wrong with having the cushy safe zone. Sometimes it’s perfectly okay to roll the boulder in front of the cave and hide. But leave a tiny crack. You never know when a big hairy opportunity will stroll by.
For me, the scary, hairy comfort challenge is in putting myself out there. I’m doing that bit by bit—querying, pitching, becoming active with the RWA chapters., And now, my latest; blogging with this amazing group of ladies. My lipstick may not always be on straight, and I still prefer the safety of my cave, but hello world!
So, what scares you? And who helped you pick out your most flattering color of lipstick?
NOTE: Orly lives on the East Coast and is dealing with Hurricane Sandy at the moment. She's safe, but hit and miss in her electricity. She will respond to comments, but it might be "hit and miss" for the next day or so.
After years of pushing the creativity boundary in corporate communications, Orly decided it was time for a new challenge. Three women's fiction manuscripts later (plus a handful of picture books), she's found her creative outlet. Her manuscripts have finaled in the Wisconsin Romance Writers Fab Five Contest, the TARA contest, Stiletto Contest, First Coast Romance Writers Unpublished Beacon Contest, Novel Rocket Launch Pad contest, and the Greater Seattle Romance Writers of America's Emerald City Opener Contest.
When not writing fiction, she's still pushing the creativity barriers for her marketing communications clients and trying to hide from her family long enough to read "just one more page."