A funny thing happened… my most embarrassing moment. Ever. I learned to really appreciate this quote:
“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche
Ah, yes. The famous quote. By this standard, I am Wonder Woman.
I’d like to add my own quote:
“When your life flashes before your eyes, stupid quotes and clichés race through your head.” – Lynne Cobb
I recently had the privilege to attend the Erma Bombeck Writers’ Workshop (EBWW). It was a dream come true. Erma was my favorite – my inspiration as a young writer. I was beyond giddy to attend.
Earlier this year, I kicked off the New Year by attending a local writers’ workshop where we discussed the importance of writing goals and pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones. It was there I took a short survey that revealed my “word of the year,” which was brave.
It’s a total self-diagnosis. A few hundred people get it around this time of April, about every two years.
“I really can’t tell that you are excited…” – My husband
From the moment I started reading newspapers in the morning – so, basically, many moons ago – I’d always read Erma Bombeck’s column. When I was a local columnist, and a reader wrote that I reminded her of “a young Erma Bombeck,” my heart soared and my ego inflated! Someone compared me to Erma! Whoa!
“I write journals and would recommend journal writing to anyone who wishes to pursue a writing career. You learn a lot. You also remember a lot… and memory is important.” -Judy Collins
On the first weekend of the New Year, I braved the bitter cold and headed out to a local writer’s workshop. The theme – perfect for starting the year – was “Writing Goals and Skills,” led by the president of the Detroit Working Writers.
I purposely left my laptop at home, for a multitude of reasons. First, there was the practicality of lugging it in the cold. As uncoordinated as I can be, I envisioned slipping and falling in the icy parking lot, struggling to save my device as opposed to struggling to save myself.
“Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.” – William Wordsworth
Paper – a trade tool most every writer has used. Sometimes we curse it, when it is blank due to writer’s block. Other times, we crumple or shred the pages we pour our souls onto, thinking the work is no good. Yet there are times we frame that paper, because it bears our byline. Either way, there can be a love/hate relationship with the paper we need and use.
Author anxiety and public events. The struggle is real. Whether you have a book signing, a speech or other public venue scheduled on your calendar, have a laugh and do as I say, not as I do did.
Over the years, I have planned some successful soirees – our daughter’s backyard wedding; baby and bridal showers, holiday brunches and so forth. My expertise is not so much in the planning, as I’m happy to be the behind-the-scenes supporting cast. No one complains about issues at when you are serving them wine and chocolate cake.
But there I times that I have to strike out on my own, which can produce author anxiety. Especially as a midlife writer attending my first book signing.
Though I didn’t plan the main event I will be attending, I certainly had to plan for my own little part of this big day.
Am I anxious? You betcha! It is like the first day of school – excited to see everyone, nervous I will be making a faux paus or two.
The Girl Scout in me is doing my best to “Be Prepared.” The MilSpouse in me knows I can pretty much roll through anything.
So as I scrutinized myself in the mirror this morning, looking for blemishes and stray hairs, a few practical event-planning ideas popped into my brain. Though my dad used to mention I might be “a hard-head,” I prefer to think of myself more as a “hands-on learner.” Trust me when I say I have a Masters in How to Embarrass Myself and a Doctorate from the School of Hard Knocks.
Allow me to share what I have learned in life, should you need to represent yourself at a public event:
Facial waxing: Don’t do this the day of your event. A red, swollen lip will just bring attention to the fact you have waxed your meno-stache. Some beauty secrets needn’t be shared. Plus it affects your speech. Trust me, you will thank me for this.
New make-up: The day of your event is not the time to experiment with the latest make-up trends. One time, I thought adding a bit of blue eye shadow to my lower lid would make my eyes pop and look fab with my dress. Sadly, I looked like Mimi from The Drew Carey Show. Also, if you have never used eyeliner, THIS IS NOT THE DAY to try it. Heed my advice and eliminate stabbing yourself in the eyeball, making tears of colors streak down your face while sporting the Elvira look.
Workout routine: The day before your event is not the time to go the extra mile – literally or figuratively. I may have tried to do a plank one time, which may have pulled a muscle that I didn’t know existed, which may have prevented me from breathing properly when trying to talk in front of a small crowd. Maybe.
Fine dining: Stick to a what you know works well with your body. A new food may result in hives or digestive issues. And think about your favorite foods, like that yummy garlic dip with fresh-baked pita bread. Um, experience has taught me that the aroma of garlic seeps from every pore of one’s body. Though I’ve been told garlic is good for keeping colds and flu at bay, it is also good for keeping people at bay.
Clothing: Try on your outfit ahead of time, using a 360-mirror. And don’t decide to change your turtle neck after you have curled and shellacked your hair in place.
New shoes: Of course you need new shoes! Duh!!! That being said, test them first. Limping and wincing doesn’t make you look like a heroine, however, it may get you some sympathy sales.
Lugging gear: A few summers ago, I almost bought a collapsible shopping cart for going to our local farmers’ market. But since that would have given off an “old lady vibe,” I concluded that struggling with heavy plastic grocery bags that cut off the circulation in my hands would be the better option. I’m fairly certain that blue-tinged fingers without any sensation won’t allow me to sign any books, so I now use a carry-on bag with wheels to lug my gear.
Beauty sleep: “Don’t be anxious about tomorrow. You need to be rested for your writers’ debut.” These are wonderful and wise words from my dear husband. After thirty-plus years, he knows the deal. That even if I look like I am asleep, my brain doesn’t disengage. “Do I have enough books to sell?” or worse, “Will I sell anything?” Or, “What if I trip in front of everyone?” Or, “What if I get a zit?”
Which leads me to my final bit of advice:
Breathe. Hah! How can I do that when I’m caught up in my brain’s “worst case scenario” escapades? When my frontal cortex goes into all out panic, I tend to forget to breathe. So, I will mentally note to make use of my lungs. And as a precaution, I will toss some relaxation-inducing essential oils into my carry-on bag. Who cares if it is a placebo effect? Whatever works, until I can get home and toast the day with a glass of wine. And some chocolate.
If you have any tips to share, please do so in the comment section! Also, if you think my experiences will help someone plan for an event, feel free to share using one of the social media icons on this page.
Not able to attend the book signing? Here’s a link to Feisty after 45.
A few months ago, I responded to a request from Katherine at KatherinesCorner.com, as she was looking for women bloggers over 50 to share their experiences, such as what inspired them to start a blog, what keeps them motivated and so forth. With her expertise and hard work, she is giving more than 80 bloggers the opportunity to expand their horizons and reach more people.
So, I threw my hat in the ring, was accepted to be part of this series, and now you will hear a little more about me. My blogging journey started out as an outlet during my dad’s battle with Alzheimer’s Disease, and then took a more “random” turn after he passed away. A few years before he died, the newspaper industry was slowly beginning to fade. As a displaced writer, I was learning to wade into the digital world from the print media realm. One of my favorite writing gigs was a weekly column in our local paper. As I became more comfortable with blogging, my blog began to develop into its own character, and began to look similar to my old columns: a bit of family fodder, some opinion, an occasional recipe and my favorite – conversations with my readers. When I started writing sponsored posts and product/book reviews, I became more interested in the “how-tos” and migrated my work over to a self-hosted blog. I learned a lot and trust me, there is more to learn – like the value in posting on a regular basis, which is something I really need to do!
One of the most rewarding benefits to midlife blogging is meeting wonderful “Boomer Bloggers.” A few I have met, and there are many more I look forward to meeting “IRL.” What impresses me with the north of 50 crowd is the willingness to share our collective knowledge and expertise among each other and the new bloggers arriving into cyberspace.
Some professionals in the blogging world suggest carving a niche, and being an expert in a field. I agree, but I still defer back to my old columnist days and prefer to write about whatever topic moves me. So if you are hopping through my posts, you are going to see a little bit of everything that interests me. It may not be what I should be doing, but it is what I like to do, so maybe my little niche is, “Midlife Lifestyle Blogger.” Because I am an almost empty-nester, my husband and I have been able to travel a bit more, so you’ll read about our trips. We’re attempting to be healthier and greener, so you’ll find recipes from homemade bread to toothpaste. Plus, I have been dabbling in some humor writing to balance some of the more serious opinions and life-changes of moving forward after raising four little ones. One of my menopause posts was chosen to be part of the anthology, Feisty after 45 – The Best Blogs from Midlife Women.
In addition to cruising through my site, I do hope you click on the link below and check out some of the other writers and their work. And if you have ever wanted to give blogging a try, I encourage you to do so! It is a great way to record family history, share opinions or hobbies and meet others.
If you have any questions, there is a “North of 50 Blogger” right here (me!) who is happy to help! A list of how to contact me is on my “Contact” page.
The reason for her rant? Just one minute in and you’ll see…
“I was scrolling on the Net one day; In the merry, merry month of May. I was taken by surprise, with so many headline “whys;” Scrolling through the Net one day…” – Lynne Cobb
When she sees clickbait, she instantly…
By nature, I have always been inquisitive. At the ripe old age of, um, 11 years-old, you’d find me reading the newspaper, with a keen love of the Dear Abby and Ann Landers’ columns. The headlines would attract me, and I couldn’t wait to read the sage advice of these opinionated ladies.
Of course, I loved the opinion page, too. Raging debates among readers, especially in sound-off type columns, were another addiction of mine. Catchy deadlines would draw me in, so, it is really no surprise that now, with the world at my fingertips, I am never more than a click away from reading some crazy content.
Headlines have always befuddled me. I love to write, but finding the perfect headline can cost me hours of thought time. And now, as I prepare to lead a social media class for boomers and beyond, I find myself getting hooked on headlines that I know are going to disappoint me, and waste my time. Yet, I can’t not click…
When you hear the reason why she wrote this…
If you didn’t know it, clickbait is the term used for headlines that lead one to read the most insane copy posted on the Internet. For those who need a definition, here you go:
click·bait: /ˈklikbāt/ Noun; informal (on the Internet) content, especially that of a sensational or provocative nature, whose main purpose is to attract attention and draw visitors to a particular web page.
So while I have been diligently searching for some examples of clickbait to use in my presentation, I have kind of become a statistic. And a junkie. My name is Lynne, and I am hooked on clickbait.
I mean, who wouldn’t click on jewels like these:
The crazy food that will make you lose 15 pounds in one…
She discovers her husband doing this, and what happens next…
The secret that dermatologists don’t want you to know is hiding…
He grabs a microphone and what happens next…
The top 12 reasons why you should…
It used to be the off-the-wall Websites that used this nonsense to grab readers’ attention. But recently I have even seen major news organizations use this tactic! Ugh! Please make it stop! Though, to be fair, if the strategy didn’t work, they wouldn’t be using it.
You will not believe what blogger discovers during important…
Admitting that you have a problem is the first step in healing, right? So, knowing that I can’t always control my finger from clicking, I have resorted to hiding my mouse and tying my arm behind my back, then using a blindfold bound around my head. Ok – not true. But sometimes I really do close my eyes and scroll past the temptation. Instead of actually clicking the story, I peruse the comments to determine if reading the content is worth my time. Then I develop another problem – I get sucked into the comments sphere! Help!!!
When soul-searching her problem, what she does next inspires…
Okay. So I admitted that I can’t come up with awesome headlines, and that I am a sucker for clickbait. But what I discovered about myself in the process is so awe-inspiring! So remarkable!
She realized she could drive traffic to her blog with one simple hack…
Really, it’s true! Every headline on this page, I made up myself! So I can write to my heart’s content, slap some silly gimmick headline on it, match up my SEO and be viral in a moment! Woot! Yay, me!!!
What she shares with her readers will bring you to…
Seriously, I wouldn’t do that to you. Yes, I want to be a rich and famous, well-known writer. So, no, I won’t resort to these guerrilla tactics to get likes and views and all kinds of accolades. I will go back to wasting precious hours working on the perfect headline. Unless, of course, I just go and click over here read for a moment and get distracted for some, um, inspiration….
“The answer to all writing, to any career for that matter, is love.”
Though I have been in the writing field for about two decades, it was just this past year I started to attend writing conferences. I have attended workshops, but never day-long conferences. Trust me when I say I am kicking myself for not attending these events sooner.