Doin' A What Did Not Come Naturally...

Writing did not come naturally to me. It took years and loads of practice before I was any good at it. I lacked a key ingredient - the confidence to express myself, to let my words go and allow them to find their own way. Ironically, I would never be writing for myself were it not for some things I learned from work, not from school or my personal life. For the purposes of this blog hop, I’d like to share a few lessons I learned from some very clever bosses on a corporate playing field where writing is anything but personal.

 The courtyard at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 

The courtyard at The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. 

I first started writing straight out of college at the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum in Boston where among other things I compiled the quarterly newsletter. I was technically skilled at formulaic writing but had ZERO knowledge of composing “a bigger picture.” In fact, it was the first time I had ever heard the expression as it was regularly summoned by the incoming media-savvy museum director, Anne Hawley. While she was all about “The Big Picture,” my editors were the incredibly brainy curators who taught me the micro. This was the first glimmer showing me that Writing is as much about the macro as it is about the micro.

All writers know that you can’t write unless you know what you are writing about. I learned this for myself when my career shifted from museum work to corporate public relations at Giorgio Armani in Boston. It was here I learned that in order to write well, you can’t sit around and expect words to come.  You’ve got to get up and get out there to find them.

I was expected to work five days at PR and an additional sixth day – every Saturday - on the selling floor assisting the sales staff. I resented the six day work week. It was agonizing. As a young twenty-something I was unable to grasp the importance of being in-sync with my colleagues and in touch with the business I was writing about and promoting. It took some time and significant growing pains for me to realize that my boss, Donna Montgomery, was doing me a huge favor, showing me that I was part of a bigger picture, that it was not about me. It was time to ditch my twenty-something ego and learn my place and my role in the business of public relations. THE BEST writing practice, whether PR or private, is to get out of the office and get in touch with the story and all its parts… the client, the product, and the trends. No PR Princess in an Ivory Tower will ever be good at writing unless she keeps up and gets out of her own way.

When I moved from Boston to work for Giorgio Armani in L.A., I did a proverbial “Linda Blair,” turned my head around in a complete circle, and threw up everything. Blaaaaghghgh. Once again, I ditched the ego and learned how to do things in a new way, a West Coast way. That was daunting, but I confess, it was thrilling. My boss in LA, Wanda McDaniel, was a gifted writer, but she was a brilliant strategist, too. She made certain that every word she chose supported the message she needed to convey. Every time I sat on the other side of her desk and scribbled down her messages to Mr. Armani, A-List celebs, and Hollywood’s Power Elite, I was learning the true meaning of crafting a message.

Sadly, Grief was my next boss-Teacher. After my daughter died, I stopped writing. My light had gone out.  I could not articulate my struggle. For years, I had no voice and I mourned for its return so that I could express both the agony and the beauty I held inside. I eventually found "safety" in writing when I went back to work but beneath it all, I knew that if I truly wanted to write in order to express myself, I would need to jump beyond the corporate to the personal. To do this, I not only had to regain my confidence but I had to find it in the first place. It was a slow process but my voice did eventually return to me, and it was different. I was different, both had been forever changed in an instant and over the years. I like this voice better. It’s not always so frightened to say something wrong.

What am I working on/writing?

The process of writing every day is not at all new to me. I’ve been non-stop-writing for the past thirty years. What IS new to me is the JOY of writing for myself. I am working on keeping that joy flame going for as long as possible. Writing Good Girl Go stories offers me a chance to do just that.

2) How does my work/writing differ from others of its genre?

What strikes me is that my subject matter is very similar to so many others. I guess I am not so very unique after all, but that doesn’t bother me one bit. I love that so many people out there are interested in health and wellness and are trying to improve lives, their own and others. I love that we are not trying to be perfect, that we are accepting of our flaws and searching for and finding ways to nourish our mind, body and spirit. We can all learn from one another and partake in a movement that can better ourselves and indeed, our world.

3) Why do I write what I do?

After banging out press releases, business proposals, fundraising pitches, press strategies, brochures, advertising jingles, anything in the name of corporate communications, I no longer wanted to spend my time writing about things that were not meaningful to me.  I now write about things that have inspired me to grow in ways I might not have otherwise. It took a long time for me to gain the courage to open up and write in this way. Another part of me wanted to write about the experience of losing my first child at birth but I did not want to focus on the sadness and trauma of it all. I wanted to focus on the other side of it, the part that is the Deep Peace and Fulfillment that eventually comes from Grief, the part that makes us Grateful to be alive and appreciative of what we do have in our lives and not hooked on what we have lost. At some point, we all get knocked for six. I like to write about what happens after we work through it. It makes being human, wonderful after all.

4) How does my writing process work?

I write all the time, but mostly in my head when I am dog walking, driving, preparing a meal. Only when I am ready to write do I sit down and type. Then it’s just flow and edits, flow and edits. Time flies for me when I write. It’s pure joy as I pull thoughts and words together.  The act of writing brings me to where I really want to be, a place where I am connected to my thoughts inwardly while expressing them outwardly. I am grateful to be here, finally, after all these years.

Participating in this blog hop has opened up a new dialogue for me and brought to my attention many fine and intelligent women who are sharing their words, their wisdom, and their humor. I am grateful to Laurie Luh at Mimosa Lotus for bringing me into the loop and am thrilled to introduce two very inspirational fellow blog hoppers - Katherine Miller of Kosmic-Kitchen and Keryn Means of  Walking On Travels . Like Laurie, they also know some inspiring ways to make your life awesome and healthy... 

   Laurie Luh  is a career counselor, HR consultant and the co-founder of Mimosa Lotus, a lifestyle   website that inspires personal growth by providing tools to live a happier, more fulfilled life. Laurie   was the head of Human Resources at Participant Media since the company's inception in 2004 and   left in 2013 when she realized that it was time for her to jump into the next phase of her career   life. Now Laurie writes about the practicalities of “jumping” and dispenses overall career advice for    Mimosa Lotus  and  greenlightjobs . She will also be a featured blogger on a new online career center   that’s still in development. Laurie has been a guest lecturer at USC and has spoken on several panels.   Outside of writing and career counseling, Laurie lives by the beach in Los Angeles and is an active   runner and hiker hoping to add surfing to her list of activities very soon. She’s easy to find over at    Mimosa Lotus  or you can follow her on twitter @LaurieLuh, where she’s often tweeting photos of   favorite SoCal hotspots.

Laurie Luh is a career counselor, HR consultant and the co-founder of Mimosa Lotus, a lifestyle website that inspires personal growth by providing tools to live a happier, more fulfilled life. Laurie was the head of Human Resources at Participant Media since the company's inception in 2004 and left in 2013 when she realized that it was time for her to jump into the next phase of her career life. Now Laurie writes about the practicalities of “jumping” and dispenses overall career advice for Mimosa Lotus and greenlightjobs. She will also be a featured blogger on a new online career center that’s still in development. Laurie has been a guest lecturer at USC and has spoken on several panels. Outside of writing and career counseling, Laurie lives by the beach in Los Angeles and is an active runner and hiker hoping to add surfing to her list of activities very soon. She’s easy to find over at Mimosa Lotus or you can follow her on twitter @LaurieLuh, where she’s often tweeting photos of favorite SoCal hotspots.

  Katherine Miller   has spent most of her life exploring the question how do we create radiant health, in body, mind and spirit? To find the answer she studied macrobiotics and other dietary regimens, raised a family on whole-foods, became a yoga and meditation practitioner and teacher, and served as Executive Chef at a spiritual retreat center for 14 years. She also received certification as a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and as a Master Fermentologist to guide people to a better gut health. In 2010 she created   Kosmic-Kitchen   to teach people practical ways to shift their experience of healthy eating into a new dimension of possibility and pleasure. Recently she launched a new venture, Mbodied.com, dedicated to guiding women during their transition through menopause. Both businesses offer virtual and in-person programs designed to guide you in the discovery and practice of radiant health. 

Katherine Miller has spent most of her life exploring the question how do we create radiant health, in body, mind and spirit? To find the answer she studied macrobiotics and other dietary regimens, raised a family on whole-foods, became a yoga and meditation practitioner and teacher, and served as Executive Chef at a spiritual retreat center for 14 years. She also received certification as a health coach from the Institute of Integrative Nutrition, and as a Master Fermentologist to guide people to a better gut health. In 2010 she created Kosmic-Kitchen to teach people practical ways to shift their experience of healthy eating into a new dimension of possibility and pleasure. Recently she launched a new venture, Mbodied.com, dedicated to guiding women during their transition through menopause. Both businesses offer virtual and in-person programs designed to guide you in the discovery and practice of radiant health. 

   Keryn Means  is a freelance writer and founder of   Walking on Travels , a site that gives hope to today’s active parent who doesn’t want to stop their lives; they simply bring their kids along for the ride. You can find Keryn dragging her two boys around Seattle most days and across the globe several times a year. Follow her on  Facebook ,  Twitter ,  Google+ ,  Pinterest , and  Instagram . 

Keryn Means is a freelance writer and founder of Walking on Travels, a site that gives hope to today’s active parent who doesn’t want to stop their lives; they simply bring their kids along for the ride. You can find Keryn dragging her two boys around Seattle most days and across the globe several times a year. Follow her on FacebookTwitterGoogle+Pinterest, and Instagram