Thursday, December 2, 2010

"Can You Write?"...The Story of How I Became a Writer

Over at Writers Workshop, one of the prompts today is "What inspires you to write?" Well, I am not sure how to answer that...I still am not sure I consider myself to be a writer - it was never in  my plans, never even a thought, but here I am, 6+ (non-fiction) books later. A couple of months ago, my agent asked me to share the story of how I parlayed my area of expertise into writing. This is the post that appeared on the agents blog.
"Can You Write?"
I am a planner….that is what I do. I went to school and landed my dream job as a fashion designer…I was set…I had it planned out. I knew my path. Writing was NEVER a part of my plan. I never had any intention of writing anything. It found me.

In fact my first foray into the publishing world was an accident of sorts…a 7 am phone call from an acquaintance jolted me out of bed with the simple question  “Can you write?” To which I carefully replied…”I got an A in English.” Little did I know this phone call would send me down a path I never expected.

In an instant, I became an accidental author. My very first book deal was as co-author of a book titled “The 100 Careers in Fashion and Modeling,” and I solely got that gig because I was in fashion, was knowledgeable about the business…and could write. It did not happen because I was brilliant. It did not happen because I got that A in English. It happened because I parlayed my expertise in my career into a tangible idea.

Soon after this writing experience, I married and used my status as a recent bride to explore a new area of expertise. This led to a second book, one about wedding planning from a bride’s perspective.  Taking this all one step further, I veered off my plan again and switched careers. I was now a wedding planner. I embraced all things wedding and set out to parlay my experiences and knowledge of weddings into writing. I had already seen what happened when I presented my self as an expert in one field…this same idea could easily be parlayed into another field and into subsequent books.

So, how did I do this twice? First I established myself as an expert in my field…and yes, that meant volunteering for some things….I spoke at bridal seminars, I edited small bridal publications, I wrote small articles (for free), and I made myself available to professional organizations to speak and to be a part of their professional meetings. All of this helped spread my name and establish me as a go-to wedding gal. Not only did this help my “new” career as a wedding planner, but also it strengthened my role as a writer, and subsequently author of multiple wedding books.

Do I mean go out and volunteer and give your precious time away for free, not for the long haul…but you have to plan and work to establish yourself as an expert in any field and to gain the credentials you need to make the publishers believe you are the one who knows the most about your chosen subject. Find professional organizations that cater to the client, the reader you want to reach and offer your knowledge.

Of course you may not be the only looking for this route to authorship, so you also need to know who else is out there writing books in your market – what are there credentials? Are they better than yours? Do you need to improve yours? Continuing to educate yourself in your field, as well as making yourself available and accessible to those who can benefit from your particular field of expertise will establish you as an expert and just may lead to the many opportunities that are out there waiting for you.
So, that's story.
I am inspired, still, to write about weddings to reach out to brides and offer my expertise and insight. I am also inspired to write about what my daily life consists of now - kids, cooking, crafts, whatever! I truly want to dive into the fiction realm - that stretches my comfort zone, but it makes me question my talents - but I want to, need to, give it a shot.
So...What inspires you?

Mama's Losin' It

Don't forget, go check out some cool holiday traditions at Elizabeth's place.
I am visiting over there today!


  1. Great story! How inspiring! :)
    Visiting you from MamaKat's

  2. Isn't that kind of how life goes?! You go to school for one thing and end up doing another because of opportunities and interests. I love hearing your story. How fascinating and kudos to you for having 6 plus books. That is amazing and insiring. You are a very talented lady and a fun blog friend! Wish I could someday meet all of you wonderful ladies in person - wouldn't that be fun.

  3. I am amazed, inspired and overwhelmed at the same time. Kudos to you for your accomplshments!

    I have a question: what was the approximate timeframe? How long a time/how much experience did you need to be considered an expert?

  4. That's amazing landing a book deal and have books written. I haven't had the chance to author books as yet but would take the chance if given.

  5. Very inspiring, Holly! I had no idea you had so many books under your belt. What a wonderful accomplishment! This just goes to show that you never know what the future holds for you, and one must be able to adapt to see multiple possibilities. :)

  6. Holly I didn't realize you were a writer!! Well, I mean besides the blogging kind. :) I knew you had been a wedding planner and worked in the fashion world. But a awesome!!!!

    It's one of the things I want to do someday!!!

    Of course, I want to be an interior designer! (Which I think you already knew.) I am inspired by blogs of course, but most of my inspiration comes from MAGAZINES!!!

    I have been obsessed with magazines since I was a kid. You wouldn't believe how many I have stashed around my house, in baskets, under the bed, nightstands...out of sight, but I still pull them out regularly and flip through them...old and new. I find new things I missed before and become inspired again!!!

    I'd love to do freelance writing for decor magazines someday!!! As well as write a book about my crazy family! :)

    And YOU constantly inspire me to push myself to do more than just dream it...that it CAN be a reality with planning and hard work.

  7. I had no idea! I didn't know anything about you other than your blog. So cool!

  8. Excellent post Holly. It is never a bad idea to establish credibility in a field--volunteering is a smart way to get your foot in the door and make connections.

    My inspirations continue to be in crime, policing, and missing persons.

    Enjoy your day.

  9. cool post! It really inspires one to go for what they want and see what come of it. visiting form Mama kat's

  10. Anonymous12:11 PM

    That is such a typical life.. you plan for one thing... and get another. I loved reading the tips in this post. Thank you for sharing!

  11. You are full of surprises!! I had no idea you had so much writing experience and you are a "real" writer (you know what I mean!).

    Thanks for sharing all of this!

  12. What a great story! Thanks for sharing. I've been submitting articles off and on for almost ten years and have yet to be published. I'm trying to figure out the whole "expert" part of it! In the meantime, I enjoy what I do and I suppose that's half the battle. I love to read success stories though, it give me hope. Stopping by from Mama Kat's.

  13. I loved hearing this! And it just goes to show that playing off your strengths, having a little guts and having a smart business mind can help a person go very far. :)

  14. Life has a way of bringing out our talents, and getting us to use them. Things got set in motion, and your knowledge and expertise crossed paths with your writing skills. And voila. Six books, and who knows how many more to come.

    I like how you explained the process of setting the groundwork.

  15. I am your newest follower from the blog hop. Please follow me back at Thanks!

  16. Great story and very inspiring! I would love to become a wedding planner and volunteered coordinating my first wedding (by myself) this past summer. It was awesome, but it's hard to know what to do next (except more of the same). It's great to see, though, that it's possible. Thanks for sharing!

  17. Holly, I love the little snippets I'm learning about you, many of the folks I am with daily knew me or I them, before birth! After 20 years as an Air Force wife it is comforting, but I so enjoy reading about the paths your life has taken.

  18. This is all so fascinating to me! I've dreamed of having a book published since I was a little girl. I SO admire you for having so many books out...amazing. <3 This was all interesting to read too. Thank you.

  19. I love this post. It says so much about you (go-getter-girl) and about how important it is to be open to that next exciting "chapter" J in your life

  20. You've inspired me ;)

    I work hard every day, networking, writing, brainstroming, blogging. My web design skills landing me a job as a web copywriter and marketer when I had no degrees or certifications to back me up. They asked for a writing sample, I sent them a website with the writing sample within it, custom made for their business. I was hired.

    Now I want to make my blogging a full time job. I've been planning to do what you have, networking, volunteer, and work it. My subject, "Thrifting" offers me unlimited writing opportunities. It's the subject I'll never get tired of writing. "Inspiration" isn't exactly the word, it's more like a fiery passion!

  21. I think that's a great story - and if your blog writing is any indication, I'm sure they're good books :)

  22. That is wonderful. Isn't it awesome how those things sometimes just help things fall into place?? Can you please dress me? I am totally unfashionable!

  23. I've been waiting for a great time to sit down and read this. I was looking forward to it! Six books ~ who knew? Thanks for sharing (once again.) :)

  24. Hey, I didn't know you'd been an author! How cool are you? Now I'm even more in awe than ever!!


  25. I am not a writer, but it is something I Have always wanted to do and it is posts like these that truly inspire! Thank you, Holly.


Thanks for stopping by and joining the conversation! I sure hope you come back for more!