In All the Right Places, at All Times

I just landed my first assignment for Coastal Living magazine. I’m excited, of course, because it’s a great magazine for any writer’s byline to appear, but also because the editors came to me instead of the other way around.

From what I can tell, they decided they wanted an article about yacht charter. An editor went to to look up books on the subject and found Dream Cruises, which I published as a second edition in 2007.  He said Dream Cruises “was everything I hoped it would be” and then found his way to my site CharterWave, which also made a favorable impression. I’m not sure if he ever made it here to to review my clips (which is all most editors would have done just a few years ago, with printed copies of my magazine stories), but somewhere along the way he decided–his words, not mine–that I could provide what he needed in my sleep.

The power of the Web for writers to market their expertise and skills is amazing. It’s easy to pooh-pooh those of us who are pushing the limits by self-publishing books that can’t find conventional homes, launching websites about niche subjects, and writing for online publications whose circulations seem minuscule compared with print titles, but my current experience with Coastal Living says otherwise. This is a premier magazine with more than 650,000 readers per issue, and its editors came to me because I am working constantly to show my skills and knowledge in all media. Wherever they looked for editorial information about yacht charter vacations, I was the leading expert–a status it has taken many years of hard work and strategic thinking to achieve.

How good it feels to have been in all the right places at the right time.

An Achievable Goal

This weekend, I attempted the entire swimming and bicycling portions of September’s triathlon course for the first time. Six-tenths of a mile in the pool on Saturday, followed by 17 1/2 miles on the bike on Sunday.

I made it through both legs–but with a combined time about six minutes too long for triathlon day.

I’m taking it as a sign that the triathlon is an achievable goal with three months of training still to go. Yes, I still think I’m going to finish in last place, but I do believe at this point that I will be able to finish, as opposed to having the triathlon finish me!

A Kindred Spirit

I woke up this morning, got out of bed, and said to my husband: “Time to make the content.”

Sweet Relief

After nine days of talking incessantly with uber-geeks, soothing the nerves of frustrated advertisers, and wondering whether I would have to learn in-depth programming in some kind of boot camp for writers who never made it past high school-level calculus, there is finally a solution to the “slowness issue” that has been plaguing CharterWave and pushing me toward an early death by aneurysm.

Who knew that identifying a single server problem could feel like lifting the weight of the World Wide Web off my shoulders?

Hoping to Go Steppin’ Out

The team at McGraw Hill is having a meeting today that is expected to include discussion of one of my current book ideas, about how businesspeople can apply lessons from the world of freelance journalism to make the most of branding and soft selling just about anything in the new media age.

I’m so hopeful for a favorable response that I’m wishing on every star I see, including the you-rate-’em fashion pics of Angie and Brad at E! online.

So far, most of my book writing has been about travel. It would be a thrill to branch out and show that I’m more than a one-dress pony.

How Time Flies

My training continued this weekend for September’s mini-triathlon. I did eight miles on the bicycle alongside my sister, whose encouragement is the reason I signed up for the triathlon in the first place.

She’s three years younger than I am, which apparently translates into about 3 mph faster on the bicycle. I need time to fly more in my direction by race day.

Saying What I’ve Been Thinking

There’s an interesting discussion thread going on now at the Boating Writers International group at LinkedIn, with one of the marine industry’s big  publishing advertisers encouraging individual journalists to take the lead over existing media brands and build their own websites. Apparently, this advertiser believes individual journalists are better positioned than leading magazines to develop meaningful readership on the Web. And this advertiser has the dollars to support the best ideas.

It’s the first time I’ve heard that sentiment expressed so bluntly in a public forum. While it no doubt raised the hackles of many publishers whose magazines carry my byline, it also validates my decision to have launched CharterWave nearly three years ago.

As the current president of Boating Writers International, I’m working on ways to help my fellow journalists do exactly what I’ve done–and now with a bit more wind in my sails.