Waiting for Critique

In the memoir genre, about 70,000 words forms a standard book.  As I cruised past 40,000 words on my project, I thought about the haphazard content I’d typed in double-spaced format.  It was likely time for a professional review and I turned to my cousin Cindy in Los Angeles, who had mentioned she had some writing contacts if I were ever in the market for them.  Cindy dutifully sent along “M”‘s name and put us in touch. As it turns out, M had an intimidating writing pedigree, schooled at a well-known college under the tutelage of a renowned American author, as well as having several published titles to her name.  When I laid out my story, an amazing thing happened.  M told me that she too had been burned at a young age, a casualty of trying to be cool by smoking in a closet.  “Unless I wear a short sleeve top, no one notices,” she said referencing the burns on her arm.  What are the chances that I’d so quickly find a writing professional who would understand the very personal nature of burns?  As luck would have it, M’s plate was full and she did not have time to serve as my critique professional.  Instead, she put me in touch with her similarly pedigreed writing friend “K”. Eagerly I contacted K, who did not have a burn injury to share but rather a witty life story of life as an outsider of sorts in southern Indiana.  More importantly, she had time at hand.  After some hand-wringing, I looked over my project, divided it into 3 parts, packaged up Part I as ready fir review, closed my eyes and hit the “send” button.  And now I wait.  Wondering if my book, or at least the initial piece of it, might pass professional muster,  might have story enough to be told that it has a literary life.  And I wait.

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Liz. The name is Liz. Just Liz.

I had the good fortune yesterday to meet with Liz Strauss (www.successful-blog.com), blogging expert extraordinaire. My friend Louise who knows of my efforts to blog and write a book on my burned leg experiences, called saying just this: “Google the word “Liz”. Just Liz.” Hurumphing all the way, I did. And bang, up came Liz’s blog information. Impressive and mighty well optimized, I might say. So I looked forward to lunch. I took notes. Lots of notes. Liz told me that one of the most searched terms, if not the most searched term in this cybersphere, is “Starting Over” — that people are hungry for ways to reinvent, remake, reconfigure themselves. Liz thought my project has potential in that regard. I’ll take potential. One of the things I’m realizing (and this adds to the comment Kris Plendl made on this blog yesterday) is that getting in motion sets things in motion.