The Bandera Courier
Bandera Courier
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2014-01-09

Once upon a time

Mikie Baker

Was it my love of fairy tales or my gift of story telling that turned me into a writer? I know not why I am cursed with fingers that must have a keyboard beneath them. Whatever the cause, I am here to help all of you out there whose New Year's resolution is to "write a book."
It seems I have always chosen professions that other people assume anyone can do. When I was a young disc jockey and told someone about my occupation, you could bet I'd hear, "A DJ? Say, I could do that. I know lots about the Grateful Dead and people tell me I'm funny. Got any job openings down there?" I'd scowl, "Sure the 2 am shift is always open but there's really nothing funny about the Grateful Dead."
My next career was as a music director whose job it was to record music tapes - there was recording tape before digital, you know. I sat in a soundproof studio and played records all day long which may be possibly the best job in the universe. Even Martians like their tunes, you know.
Invariably, when I'd explain exactly what kind of music director I was, I'd hear, "Oh I thought all music directors conducted choirs. There's actually a kind that plays records? I could do that job because I know all about music." Excuse me, but no you don't. What was George Hamilton IV's biggest hit? And do you still possess over 3,000 record albums? I do.
Then I owned my own marketing and design firm - think advertising agency without the TV commercials. I just wish I'd hired someone as cute as Don Draper from Mad Men to work for me. That would have been a great female employee benefit, I can tell you.
So when my company created beautiful printed pieces and I showed them off, someone would jump right in and say, "Yeah, I can do that. I've got a new graphic program on my computer. You should see how cool my flyer for the neighborhood garage sale is. I'm thinking I'll do a newsletter next." Spare me - I've seen your advertisement and it doesn't even tell the date.
Now that I'm a writer, I find that even more people than ever can do my job. So, for all you "wanna be authors out there," here's some sage advice from a gal with arthritic fingers.
• "I should write my life's story." No, you should not, because the only people that will buy your book are your family members so you'll sell maybe 100 books total. Can't pay the rent with that.
• "I've always been fascinated by the Civil War so I'm going to write a book on it." Good luck. First check out the library. They have an entire section of Civil War books. Next, take two years off from your job to do research and then pray you can write which can be tougher than the Battle of New Orleans.
• "How hard can writing a book really be?" Well, Stephen King says if you write 1,500 words a day, pretty soon you'll have a book. This column is 600 words, it takes me a couple of hours to write and I've been doing it for years. Can you really write for five or six hours straight everyday?
If you want to lose weight, you eat like a thin person. If you want to be an author, you write. So go ahead - just make sure you get vaccinated for writer's block first.