My friends Nicola Kraus and Emma McLaughlin are famous writers, and they recently released their final literary collaboration, and I attended one of the book readings. Full disclosure, Nicola is responsible for my beautiful new website, has been my career coach this past year, and will be the mastermind behind All Good Things becoming a YouTube series. Initially, we were working towards turning the blog into a book and at some point, the road took a turn. We have changed our route. The book is still my end destination, but the small screen series will be our testing ground to clarify my voice/brand/style/ability. This is a small but important stop along the way. The series will then be pitched to bigger platforms, eventually picked up, produced, and with that exposure - I will get to make my dream book!
Why am I telling you this? Two reasons: I’m planting the seeds for this YouTube series while prepaving my road with the intention of success with all of your support. The second reason comes in a lesson that I’m learning and I can’t help but share it with you.
At Emma and Nicola’s book reading and talk, Emma was asked about their formula for writing a book. She was spouting off so many one liners of wisdom and I couldn’t get my phone out fast enough to start taking notes. The ones I managed to get are some golden nuggets that reach so much further into a formula for living life than just a formula for writing a book.
“It is essential to know where your story is going. There is not an endless road.” This is my big take away from the talk. I have been paying so much attention to actual roads lately, trying to get to the heart of those words that have been living in my phone since the reading. Where is the story of my life going?
Lately, I’ve been taking pictures of roads, or train tracks from the subway that seemingly go on forever. There is not an endless road. The tracks will eventually stop, we will arrive at our station where we must get out and take action.
One of my favorite images is of green lights. A few years ago I had the opportunity to be part of a pilot for a Food Network show and we received word that we were given a ‘green light’ to continue moving forward with the project. I was sharing this news with my gratitude group, and my friend Olivia shared a phrase with me that I’d never heard but is now a blessing I call out often, “May all your lights be green!” May every opportunity be given a YES! My friend Jeanine posted this photo of continual green traffic lights heading off into the most amazing sunset. Such a hopeful image!
But very often all the lights are not green. There will be one or two green lights and we then find ourselves stuck at a red light. We must learn to sustain the momentum. Hold the vision as we sit in the traffic on the way to our dreams. One night I was on the Williamsburg Bridge in Brooklyn traveling into Manhattan and there was this beautiful trail of red lights. Brake lights for miles. It’s very easy to receive red light after red light as a continual stream of NO’s. But they are just opportunities to rest, to breathe, to pause, to reassess. There is not an endless road of red lights. They will eventually change to green. And when we are stuck at a red light, that means someone else is getting a green light and they are moving forward! Ultimately, this cycle of red and green lights on our journey will come to an end and we will arrive at our destination.
Here is another road image that really struck me. I was traveling in a cab from Queens into Brooklyn over the Pulaski Bridge and the drawbridge was up. I felt like a kid watching this event. I didn’t care how late I was, how much time this would take for the bridge to raise, the barge to pass, the bridge to lower, and for traffic to begin moving again. I got out of the cab to take the picture. It was so awesome to see. Some events are not planned but they provide unexpected adventure on the road to our dreams. The next time a big obstacle presents itself and arrests my development, I’m going to pretend it is a drawbridge and that a very important barge carrying precious cargo needs to get somewhere faster than I do.
And lastly, this image was posted by my friend Abby with this caption: A passing freight train. . . I could be annoyed about having to wait, or I can choose to take the time to listen to a song I love and enjoy the rumble (I grew up near train tracks and have always found the sound comforting). Isn't it great we can make choices? Yes Abby. Yes!
It is essential to know where your story is going. There is not an endless road. Hold the vision, plan for obstacles of bridges, freight trains, and red lights. Choose to enjoy the rumble. Be open to new routes along the way. Celebrate the green lights. (Of yours and everyone else's!)
Oh! And if you are trying to write a book, or are looking for literary career guidance, seek out Emma and Nicola at The Finished Thought.
This week’s recipe has been my balm for the unexpected chill in the air and the buckets of rain that have hit the East Coast this past week. I think we New Yorkers thought we would ease into Fall, that our road to changing seasons would be a gradual transition. But no, it took a 35 degree drop in temperature and called for winter coats. I didn't mind because I came home to Matzo Ball Soup every night. No big recipe, I rely on the good people at Manischewitz. How could I possibly improve on something that’s been around since 1888? Follow the directions on the box, add chopped carrots, onions and celery to the broth, and finish with your favorite green herb. If you live someplace where these products aren’t available, they have a great online store.