Conferences stimulate. And sometimes they surprise.
For my day job, I attended the annual PAEOP “Reach for the Stars” Conference in State College, PA. As I sat down in a workshop given by Pamela Posey, President of the National Association of Educational Office Professionals, I expected simply to gather pointers that would help me in my job. Pamela’s accent, an intriguing blend of southern Illinois and Mississippi, guided us through goal setting. Unexpectedly, I heard her quote a familiar name. “Margie Lawson,” she said. Surreal.
As an educational secretary I probably would not know of Margie Lawson. But writers of romance know her and stand in awe. Her Deep Edits system has breathed life into countless novels. A few years ago I attended an all-day workshop Margie presented at an event sponsored by the New Jersey Romance Writers. It was grueling. Six hours of Deep Edits and other wisdom left me feeling whipped and wrung dry. I drove home knowing I’d run a marathon. But my writing improved. God bless Margie, and other such giving writers.
I try not to mix my “gotta save for retirement” job with my career as a writer. I lead a double life in separate worlds. When I leave work at 4:30 or 5:00 pm each day, I eagerly shed my office skin and don my writer’s identity. My alter ego. Call it a need.
But yesterday, when I heard Margie Lawson’s name, my two worlds met and momentarily merged. The experience was…interesting.
Near the end of the conference, I sat in on a roundtable discussion with other office professionals who work in offices similar to mine. For the opening exercise we wrote on slips of paper — “some secret that few people know about me.” The folded slips were gathered. We then each chose someone else’s secret and tried to guess who at the table had written it. I wrote on my slip “I write romance novels.” It felt good. ∞
Oh, Deb, I’m so glad you’re celebrating the collision of your two worlds and selves. You should as both really do contribute to the other. And wouldn’t you know, the FAB Margie was the one to bring it home to you. 🙂
Mary Jo, light bulb moments come in many ways. I enjoyed this one, surreal as it was.
Google Alerts always give me treats. 🙂
Deb — I can imagine your visceral response when you heard my name at the Pennsylvania Association of Education Office Professionals.
I bet you had a similar visceral response when you wrote: I write romance novels.
What fun! Thanks for sharing your experience.
Surreal. Visceral. Merging your worlds. It’s all good. ;-))
Thanks so much for your comments! I just returned from a long trip to Wisconsin…visits with family and ending with the WisRWA Conference. You have many fans there!
I’ve taken all of Margie’s classes. Any time annyoe asks me how to become a better writer, I say MargieLawson.com. This class in particular I took four or five years ago and is the single biggest reason I’m published and a better writer to boot. After years of using the color system, I now think in colors when I’m first drafting. And after years of using this system, I still come up short in green my weakness setting details. I still print the pages and do like Jeannie does. But I have several other writers I know that use Word capabilities and highlight on the screen. I guess it’s what works for you. I added purple to highlight character movement. That helps me see when I’ve had them standing in one place to long or nobody moving and breathing. The only problem I had was I never got her way of doing orange. I could not assess my tension that way. I finally adapted her version and use orange to highlight my power, action verbs. You know the ones: -ed oriented, action words that avoid the cliched, overused ones, i.e., punched instead of hit. It quickly points out was, is, have beens, common words and those kill tension. I love this technique and no matter how you learn it website packet or class GO FOR IT! It will make you a better writer.