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Dec 17, 2015

Carolyn See is a Rock Star

I wish I could ingest Carolyn See’s book Making a Literary Life and have it swirl around inside me keeping me as inspired and excited about writing as I was in my first moments reading her marvelous words and advice. Ms. See has a success formula that she insists will get you the literary life you’re seeking. I believe her!

Carolyn See – Inspirer

I’ll share just one of her many brilliant, practical and do-able suggestions that she insists you must execute 5 days of week for the rest of your life: send a charming note to someone in the literary world. It can be an author, an editor, an agent or a publisher. It doesn’t need to be long. Just complimentary, charming and not requesting anything in return.

Her point is for you to create a network for yourself in the sphere you are entering. Instead of sending your precious writing off into the universe blindly, you begin to put out threads in what will become a growing web of connection. Find authors you admire and write to them. Look up their agents and thank them. Write to critics and praise their columns. Get your name out there as someone who is interested and interesting.

The Charming Note Stationery I ordered from Etsy.com

Of course, before I could start sending out these charming notes, I had to find the perfect memorable stationery, which I did on easy.com, and then wait for it to arrive. I’ll mail my third charming note tomorrow, not the 5 weekly she insists on. I’m willing to take a little longer to establish my literary life. But I love the process and could not recommend her book more highly.

To demonstrate her own success, there is a blurb on the cover of Making a Literary Life by one of my all-time favorite writers, Anne Lamott. When a colleague of mine had sought Lamott’s words for her own memoir, she was turned away hearing that “Anne has declared a blurbatorium.”

If only my friend had been writing those charming notes like Carolyn See did.


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  1. Elizabeth H Cottrell (@ElizCottrell)

    Oh my goodness, I am thrilled to read this and can’t wait to buy her book. This advice about personal notes is absolutely true. I have struck up “friendships” (or at least gotten on radar screens) with folks who would otherwise have been completely inaccessible to me. In fact, I recently won a book from a highly respected blogger because my name was drawn from among those who had left comments on her blog. I wrote her a thank you note for the book. She was highly amused at receiving a thank you note for her own thank you gift, but she emailed me, “So few people do this kind of thing that it makes you really stand out as something special. The gesture wasn’t lost on me. Please know how much I appreciated it.”

    Anyone as interested in personal note writing as I am is welcome to join my Facebook group: Revive the art of personal note writing! https://www.facebook.com/groups/HeartspokenNotes/. I’m getting ready to share this post with members of the group.

    • janepollak

      @ElizCottrell – You’re going to love this book! Thanks for the great story about your prize book. Thank you notes are a lost art and there is much to be gained from pursuing the practice. I love writing and receiving them, more now than ever.

  2. janepollak

    @ElizCottrell – She’s so special! That book inspired me so much.

  3. Scarlett De Bease

    I LOVE this idea. As you know finding a publisher for my Stop Stressing About Dressing book, has been incredibly difficult. However, also as you know, writing a note is easy and can have life changing consequences.

    • janepollak

      @Scarlett De Bease – And I know that you things that can change your life easily. Go for it!


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