How To Explain Self-Publishing To Family, Friends, And Random Strangers

Self-Publishing

“You do know that’s a long process, don’t you?” they say when you mention traditional publishing.

“Why are you choosing the easy route?” they retort if you’ve chosen self-publishing instead.

But, let’s face it, there’s nothing easy about self-publishing. Sure, you skip having to wait to hear back from a literary agent and then a publisher, but that doesn’t mean it’s all said and done in a matter of weeks. You’ve got to write a book, hire a team to help you edit, design, and take care of minor details, or end up doing most of it yourself. Point is, your book’s success is hanging solely on your shoulders, and there’s nothing easy about that. Hence, explaining the process to family, friends, and yes, those random strangers you sometimes bump into in the elevator, shouldn’t be another step.

If I had to simplify my step-by-step explanation of the self-publishing process, like I did with traditional publishing, this is what I’d say:

Self-Publishing

What aspect of self-publishing drew you most to that option? Did I miss anything in my quick summary? Share below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman.

How To Explain Traditional Publishing To Family, Friends, And Random Strangers

Traditional Publishing

I love my family despite the combination of loudness, bad tempers, and limited attention. I remember quitting my agency job and explaining that I’d done so, in part, because I wanted to devote more time to writing.

“Can’t you write and work?” my mother had asked.

Then, when the time came to explain that I’d finalized a novel and was preparing to pitch, no one seemed to understand my nerves, my concerns, the overall process.

No one in my family is a writer (no one except for my teenage cousin who is only now beginning to explore that talent and hasn’t contemplated writing a book, much less the process of getting one published).

But as clueless as I feel my family is when it comes to my career choices, strangers aren’t much different. One neighbor suggested self-publishing via Amazon as though she’d discovered America, as though I have no clue as to what my options are. Of course, my immediate perception of her suggestion simmered down when I realized she didn’t understand the traditional publishing route, and why would she? She’s not an aspiring author; I am.

I’m familiar with the steps of traditional publishing because I’ve done a lot of research, but when it comes to explaining them, let’s just say less is more, so instead of delving into the details, I’ve simplified my explanation.

When I put it this way, family members, friends, and random strangers seem to understand…at least for a little while, at least for the few seconds they render their undivided attention to me:

Traditional PublishingHave you tried explaining traditional publishing to those around you? What was that like? Share your funny anecdotes below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman.

Interview: Anne Fulenwider, Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire

Nearly a week after attending Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life, I was invited to attend New York Women in Communications‘ 2014 Student Communications Career Conference, featuring Anne Fulenwider, the Editor-in-Chief of Marie Claire. On stage, Anne spoke about the importance of remaining perseverant despite all obstacles and more importantly, of listening to yourself. I noticed a few correlations between the way she measures success and the way Gabrielle Bernstein suggested we measure success. Therefore, it is no surprise that I jumped at the opportunity to interview her.

Anne Fulenwider at the 2014 Student Communications Career Conference (Photo Credit: Mary Anne Russel)

Anne Fulenwider at the 2014 Student Communications Career Conference (Photo Credit: Mary Anne Russel)

GE: I know that Marie Claire is big on covering career topics. It’s one of the reasons I love the magazine. What advice would you give to a person, like myself, whose dream job is to work for a women’s magazine?

AF: I think there’s so many opportunities right now. The fact that you’re blogging is such an advantage, because all those bylines and that voice was really much harder to come by when I was starting out. So, you already have your stack of bylines, is what they used to be called. You have a proven starting point, and you can bring these in and show them to whoever you’re interviewing with.

We have internships, and we also have assistant jobs. In many ways, women’s magazines are old fashion in that these things are like apprenticeships. But I would say, apply for one, jump in and once you get there, it’s sort of getting your foot into an organization that you believe is a good fit and something that you like. And really from there, you can make your own career. I mean, you really can. It’s about showing up and what you do with that opportunity.

GE: Is there any other way to go about it besides applying? I know some people who have landed jobs through social media.

AF:  That’s a whole new way that I don’t even think about, but it’s true.

Doing what you’re doing – going to conferences, meeting people, asking the right questions, kind of getting out there. It takes a little while. It doesn’t always work immediately, but it’s really the only way ’cause applying with no face attached to the name where no one knows you is much, much harder.

GE: I recently attended the Cosmo Fun Fearless Life conference, and Gabrielle Bernstein said she measures success based on how much fun she’s having, and I heard that in your speech. Was there a time in your career when you were confused about what path to take? And if so – you mentioned intuition as well, and I’m big on intuition – did your intuition guide you in making a decision you were unsure about?

AF: A combination of intuition, ambition and impatience, probably. [Giggles]

It’s hard to break up from an assistant level to the next level. There are certainly opportunities, but you have to really be creative and scrappy. Twice in my career, I have left one job knowing that that’s where I wanted to be but thinking there was no path for me there, so I’m gonna go do this somewhere else. It just so happens that there’s a parallel in my life where I did that at Vanity Fair and at Marie Claire.

But I think sometimes you do have to make a lateral move or not be afraid to take something that isn’t your ideal glamorous job for a little while and also constantly be looking for opportunities. I mean, even if you’re at, let’s say, your ideal magazine, if you don’t feel like you can grow any more there, you have to look around for the other opportunities and say, “Look, I’m going to learn this skill at this job and maybe I’ll be back.” You sort of have to not get sucked into thinking that you cannot do anything but live for this one organization.

GE: We rush into things. We set up our own pressure, so to speak. What advice would you give to the women who think, I want to be successful or I have to be successful by the age of 25 or 26. They set these crazy – ’cause we know that’s not how life works, or at least that’s what I’m learning through my experiences.

AF: I think your 20s are really all about that impatience, and it sort of defines and drives you. As long as you’re doing something that you somewhat enjoy, find challenging and find on the right path, I think one of the things about your 20s is you have to realize that you’re just a very small fish in a very large pond. And you may do great things, but you know, give yourself a little break. Be a little patient. Know that you could actually get your dream job at 32, and that’s still a giant accomplishment. So I think that while I don’t want anyone to just rest in their laurels and sit back and think, it’s gonna happen, no worries – you have to be constantly doing things that set yourself up for the opportunities when they come – but, you know, give yourself a break.

Amidst our conversation, Anne invited me to send over my résumé, and that’s exactly what I did. Now, as I scan the room for opportunities, I am taking an even more proactive approach towards reaching my goals by preparing as much as I can for them. How are you preparing for your dream job? What did you think of my interview with Anne Fulenwider? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below or send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman. Don’t forget to use the hashtag #MondayMuse.

Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life: Day 2

As content as I felt on Day 1 of Fun Fearless Life, the second day was even more of a treat.

 

I’d been so tired the first day, that I hadn’t networked as much as I should’ve, so I was determined to make the second day count. More importantly, I was determined to let Cosmopolitan‘s Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles and Cosmo For Latinas‘ EIC Michelle Herrera Mulligan know how much I believe in the brand and how badly I want to work for Cosmopolitan. I knew that if I got the chance to speak to them, I’d have a limited amount of time, so I began to mentally prepare my “elevator” pitch on my way to an even more amazing day than the preceding one.

Sunday, November 9th began with a yoga session hosted by Tara Stiles and a short workout with Adam Rosante, author of The 30-Second Body: Eat Clean. Train Dirty. Live Hard.

To transform goals into reality, Adam suggested:

1) Decide what you want. Come up with a goal. Get crystal clear on it.

2) Write small actionable tasks you can do leading up to that goal. When you do this, you get over the mental-fuck of such a big goal. Then, check them off. This ignites a spark of motivation.

Example

Major goal: Write a book

Small actionable tasks: Write a one-page synopsis of the book

“Before you know it, you’re standing there having accomplished your goal,” he said. But besides simply pursuing your goal, Adam added, “You have to tie emotion to that goal.”

After Adam’s energetic speech and workout, Joanna Coles introduced Kelly Osbourne and then Jillian Michaels. Kelly shared her struggles growing up and learning to accept herself. When a friend forced her to spend some time in front of a mirror, she gathered a clearer sense of why her life had to change. Drugs weren’t going to solve a thing. Kelly and Joanna pointed out that oftentimes we are told to love and accept ourselves as though it is that simple, but it isn’t.

Moments later, Jillian Michaels chimed in, saying, “We’re living the life we are expected to live instead of the one we want.” Her words resonated with the crowd as she said, “You have to look at your life and see how you’re compromising and settling. Look at what you’re passionate about.”

Dr. Jennifer Ashton, board-certified ob-gyn and the author of a monthly feature column, “Ask Dr. Ashton” in Cosmopolitan magazine, joined the conversation shortly after, stating that it’s important women limit alcohol consumption to three glasses of wine/liquor per week to avoid detrimental side-effects. On a lighter note, she shared: “The more sex, the better – even if it’s with yourself.” At which point, Kelly joked, “Anyone who says they don’t have sex with themselves is bloody lying!”

Jason Silva – the host of Brain Games (National Geographic Channel), TV personality, media artist, filmmaker and techno-philosopher – joined the array of inspirational speakers. While many argue that constantly turning to Instagram to document experiences is not living in the moment, Jason said, “Everyone is an artist aiming to document the transient present.”

(To view the insightful videos Jason showcased throughout his speech, visit YouTube.com/ShotsOfAwe.)

Alexa Von Tobel, CEO of LearnVest.com, spoke after Jason, sharing financial tips we can all apply:

  • Money matters and if you tackle it in your 20s, you can have the life you want in your 30s, 40s, 50s
  • 50% of your income should go to essentials,  30% to your lifestyle and 20% to future savings
  • If your rent is 60% of what you make, you’ll be in trouble in the upcoming years because it’ll be harder to save
  • Live beneath your means as much as you can in your 20s – that’s when you want to make the really smart decisions
  • Find a roommate because you won’t live significantly better on your own in your 20s
  • A bonus of any kind should go 90% to your future and 10% to anything you want
  • You need three months of essentials saved, so if anything happens you’re not worried about money
  • Rip the financial band-aid and remind yourself that mistakes are okay
  • Increase your retirement account (out of sight, out of mind)

Similarly to day one, there was a lunch break in between presentations. It was during said lunch break that I had the opportunity to meet some great women (including Cosmo For Latinas’ beauty editor Milly Almodovar Thompson). I also had a chance to speak with Joanna Coles and pitch myself in a matter of seconds. I said something like: I love everything Cosmopolitan is doing. As you mentioned in your recent interview, the magazine is addressing the topics that matter to women. I especially loved the article in the November issue on asking for a raise. I want to work for Cosmo. I leaned in and said, I’m even willing to volunteer one or two days a week. May I hand you a business card? Joanna said yes and thanked me for all that I’d said.

After the break, Joanna was interviewed and revealed that she grew up with a fear of routine. If her job consisted of doing the same exact thing every day, she wouldn’t be able to do it.

Following Joanna’s interview, Michelle Herrera Mulligan, EIC of Cosmo For Latinas and an array of women spoke about dressing for the workplace and why fashion matters.

When asked about role models, Michelle said, “I see women struggling every day. I see women that have been on the brink of homelessness. I know women who’ve slept in their cars and then gone to work. My own family, I came from a family of maids and janitors, so to me, they were my role models, because my mom had to come out there every day…Sometimes even in your own family just that confidence of saying I’m going to freaking get this done and I’m going to be happy all the time – even if I don’t feel that way, that’s my role model.”

Moments later, Gabrielle Union spoke about the celebrity nude photos scandal, calling it an invasion of privacy and a crime. Shay Mitchell joined the panel and spoke about following her dreams despite not being the typical blonde-haired-blue-eyed girl next door: “From vision boards to saying it out loud to believing it, it will happen, because if I did it, you can, too.”

Shay Mitchell

The second day of Fun Fearless Life came to a close with one of the speakers I was most excited to listen to: former public relations professional Gabrielle Bernstein.

Gabrielle Bernstein

I was first introduced to Gabrielle while working at an advertising agency. When I told a coworker that I’d quit that job to pursue my passions and eventually become a motivational speaker, she said I should look into Gabrielle Bernstein’s journey. Flash-forward almost a year later, and I was listening to her amazing speech and feeling even more confident about having quit the job that didn’t make me happy. Because Gabrielle is such an inspiration to me, I’ve decided to write a separate post on her speech. For now, I’ll leave you with a captivating phrase she said: “If you do not bring forth what is within you, what is within you will destroy you. If you bring forth what is within you, it will save you.”

While Gabrielle did an excellent job at formally closing Fun Fearless Life, for me, the weekend wasn’t truly over until I spoke with Michelle. After I told Michelle just how much I love Cosmopolitan and want to work for the brand, she encouraged me to pitch some ideas. I’d pitched Cosmopolitan and Cosmo For Latinas months prior, but never an Editor-in-Chief directly, so instead of explaining this, I thanked her for her guidance and said she’d have an email from me by Monday morning.

 

I’ve yet to uncover where this opportunity will lead, but one thing’s for sure, @FunFearlessLife has left its mark.

Special thanks to Cosmopolitan and Cosmo For Latinas for the press pass. And a very big thank you to every person who helped make this magical weekend a reality!

Cosmopolitan’s Fun Fearless Life: Day 1

Cosmopolitan has always been my favorite magazine. As a teenager, I’d look forward to time under the hair dryer, because it gave me an opportunity to catch up on my favorite [naughty] articles. With time, I gravitated towards writing with more substance, only to return to Cosmopolitan as its content began to evolve.

Sure, there are fun articles on love and sex, but there are also insightful ones on landing thee dream job (which, for me, is Cosmo, by the way). The November issue of Cosmopolitan, for example, is highly informative, including guidance from Facebook’s COO and author of Lean In, Sheryl Sanberg. (Isn’t it brilliant that Cosmo teamed up with Sheryl Sandberg?!)

And just when I thought Editor-in-Chief Joanna Coles and the rest of the Cosmo team had done it all, they came up with the fantastic idea of hosting a conference in New York City filled with powerful speakers and career-driven women (and men!). I knew as soon as I saw the ads for Fun Fearless Life that I had to attend. Unable to afford tickets, I put my thinking cap on and did what any other determined, ambitious and passionate journalist would have done, I requested a media pass.

The response was prompt, so I assumed it was automated. Another response followed days later, but it seemed too technical to be real. (Plus, I didn’t want to get my hopes up. I’d just gone through career heartache and wasn’t prepared to go through it again.) Much to my surprise, I received a third response, and that’s when it finally hit me: I’m in! 

Press Pass

I’m not sure how I didn’t explode due to excitement then, or this past Saturday, November 8th, when, despite the chilly weather and only three hours of sleep (long night at work), I walked into the David H. Koch Theater and up to registration, where I was asked to give the name of the publication I’d be representing. For the first time ever, I’d acquired access into an event (related to my dream job) through this blog, the brand I’ve built. My, is that an indescribable feeling!

I knew the minute I walked in and felt the energy around me that this wasn’t just any event. I’m pretty sure I knew that all along – especially since Cosmopolitan is on my vision board. Nevertheless, I was thrilled to start my day not just with some coffee, but as every fabulous woman should, posing in front of Cosmo‘s step and repeat!

Geraldine Estevez

Thank you, I whispered, as Joanna Coles, a woman I profoundly admire, made her way to the stage just after an array of celebrities (via TV screen) and male models welcomed us. From the intro, to the decor, to the branding, my heart skipped a beat, and I knew I’d fallen even harder for Cosmopolitan.

Fun Fearless Life

The remainder of the day looked something like this:

Sara Blakely, founder of Spanx, shared her story on creating a brand that revolutionized the industry. Before her success, she was a telemarketer for a couple of years. She had doors slammed in her face a couple of times, until finally deciding that the path she was on wasn’t the right path for her.

She then grabbed a pen and paper and began to jot down her skills and weaknesses. One day, as she went to put on a pair of white jeans, it dawned on her that she didn’t know what to wear underneath. Sara’s idea for Spanx stemmed from her own insecurities. After a lot of hard work, determination and plenty of rejection, Sara finally got Spanx off the ground.

When it comes to success, she said that two things matter most: your attitude and your drive. “What levels the playing field for everyone is attitude and drive,” she shared. During times of trials, she always asks herself, “Where is the hidden gift in this?”

After Sara’s speech, we had an hour-and-a-half long lunch break followed by a panel on finding one’s power, in which women highlighted the importance of focusing not on the fact that a field may be male-dominated, but in becoming the best version of yourself despite that.

Amy Cuddy then spoke about body language, but not in the way we’re accustomed. She revealed that we tend to make ourselves smaller when we feel helpless, but when we feel mighty, we expand. Hence, Superman and Wonder Woman’s signature poses. It’s the reason we famously raise our hands in the air when we win. Needless to say, the entire audience ended up power posing and Cosmopolitan’s amazing social media editor, Elisa Benson, captured that and more!

Fun Fearless Life Crowd Power Posing (Image via Twitter.com/JoannaColes)

Fun Fearless Life Crowd Power Posing (Image via Twitter.com/JoannaColes)

Cosmopolitan.com‘s editor, Amy O’Dell, went on to introduce Wall Street Journal‘s Elizabeth Holmes and Nasty Gal CEO and author of GIRLBOSS Sophia Amoruso. “It’s the things I didn’t know that helped me become really successful,” Sophia said. “Being naive can be a tool; it’s up to you to do the research.”

A short break ensued. Throughout the day, Maybelline reels played featuring inspiring women, and Express gave out $100 gift cards. Whenever we’d go on break, we were welcomed with goodies, such as Express handbags containing a portable charger, free matte Maybelline lipsticks, Cosmopolitan and Cosmo For Latinas magazines and more.

At one point, Joanna Coles welcomed troops on stage, informing us that Maybelline was donating $1 per kissed postcard.

Maybelline Kisses For The Troops

Then, we picked up with a panel introduced by DKNY PR Girl, Aliza Licht.

Aliza Licht

The panel featured Pretty Little Liars‘ Shay Mitchell, who said, “From vision boards to saying it out loud to believing it, it will happen, because if I did it, you can, too.” Shay shared her journey as an actress, stating that at first she wasn’t getting roles because she wasn’t the typical blue-eyed-blonde-haired girl next door, but she didn’t let that stop her, nor did she refrain from trying out for the role of Emily on Pretty Little Liars though producers originally had a very different woman in mind.

Shay Mitchell

Mathropology, a male panel hosted by model Chrissy Teigen, was next. Matthew Hussey, author of Get The Guy revealed that the reason many women keep stumbling into the wrong men is because we’re not making the first move often enough. Making the first move, he described, doesn’t necessarily mean being obvious. Something as subtle as asking the guy you like to help you out can spark something between you two. It allows him to feel useful. Furthermore, Matthew suggested that instead of nagging when your partner isn’t doing what you hope he’d do, compliment him when he does things correctly. This will entice him to continue doing things correctly.

Tara Mohr, an expert on women’s leadership and well-being, closed the day with an outstanding visualization. She had us close our eyes and imagine a light, we then followed that light until it led us to a woman we’d come to know in twenty years. She said to imagine that woman opening the door to her house and letting us inside. I knew, as I stared at the woman before me and got goosebumps, that I was looking at an older version of myself. Tara said to pay attention to the woman, to her home, to the advice she gave me (whether orally or visually) when I asked her what she would tell me now.

I saw an older, elegant woman with long black hair. She lived in a luxurious modern home in California near the beach. She greeted me with a smile. She was calm and confident, and told me to stop worrying. She told me everything will work out as it should.

Tara then asked us to walk through the light and back to the present. She explained that the woman we saw is our inner mentor. She said that we can access that mentor whenever we need to. She also said that what we visualize isn’t a concise interpretation of what will be, but it does reveal whether we’re content with what we’re doing now. If you don’t like who you see in the future, something has to change.

Shortly after (time flew!) Tara captivated the audience, Joanna Coles walked back in. She said that as inspired as she hoped we were, she was even more inspired by us. She thanked us for attending and warned us that Day 2 of Fun Fearless Life would be even more amazing. And she wasn’t kidding! There is, after all, a reason I’m saving Day 2 as a separate post I hope you’ll come back to read.

(Note: Though I attended Fun Fearless Life as media, I was asked not to take any camera besides my mobile one due to strict onsite video and photo policies.)

‘The Book of Life’ Press Conference Featuring Channing Tatum

Channing Tatum

If you follow me on Twitter and Instagram, then you know I met Channing Tatum on Saturday.

I was invited through LatinTRENDS to attend a press conference for the animated film The Book of Life, starring Channing Tatum. Needless to say, I am grateful to the LatinTRENDS family (everyone from CEO Juan Guillen to Web Editor Shelley Mendoza to Editor Maria Luna and everyone else in between) for the doors they’ve helped me open.

In The Book of Life, Joaquin, the boisterous character Channing Tatum plays, is forced to recognize that to be a hero one must truly be selfless. To this point, I asked Channing if there has ever been a point in his career when he has been selfish. “Selfless or selfish?” he asked.

“Selfish…and perhaps learned to be selfless afterwards?” I added.

“Actually, when I was going to do Jump Street, I had just worked with Chris Pratt, and I looked at him when I was about to go do Jump Street. I looked at Chris Pratt and I go, Man, I don’t know how to tell you this, but I’m about to go do a movie I think you’d be way better for,” Channing chuckled. “I guess that was my selfish, because I went and did the movie.”

When it comes to being selfless, it has taken Channing around three to four years to learn that as an actor, “You are not the story. The story is the story. The movie is the story.” While a lot of young actors tend to worry only about themselves, Channing suggests looking at the storyline as a whole and thinking of yourself (the actor) as just a part of it. This, in turn, will result in your best work.

Furthermore, he revealed that he loves to be an actor because he loves stories – something most, if not all, artists can relate to.

Channing Tatum

Minutes into the press conference, one journalist asked Channing how he felt about the part of the storyline where Manolo’s father tries to sway him in one direction.  When it comes to parenthood, he confessed he doesn’t have it all figured out and is certain he’ll learn with time.

When asked if he’d purposely do more animated films for his daughter to watch, he quipped that her greatest punishment will be Step Up. He doesn’t feel pressured to stick to one type of film. So long as the film ties into his vision, he’s up for it. When asked if his wife, Jenna Dewan-Tatum, ever disagrees with the roles he plays, he says he and his wife have been together for 10 years and while at first it was hard, they’ve gotten used to each other’s work. He revealed that she’s pretty cool while he does things on film most wives wouldn’t want their husbands to do in real life. Likewise, though he still feels odd while watching her kiss another man, he would never limit the work she does. Perhaps their mutual respect, understanding, support and love is the equation that has led to such a long-lasting relationship.

The Book of Life is a 20th Century Fox film and premieres this Friday, October 17th.

Waitressing And What I Learned About Myself That Surprised Me

New York City

Have you ever experienced many changes at once? I am nervous and excited about what’s to come, but more importantly, I’m thrilled by the changes I see presently flourishing. I am changing, and I love the woman I am becoming. She is stronger, wiser, and more open-minded. She is more herself than she’s ever been, and that has taken a great deal of courage.

Weeks ago, I started waitressing, and when things didn’t turn out as “easy” as I envisioned, my energy began to falter. I dreaded going to work, and I complained about everything. In just a matter of days, I’d let go of the attitude I had going in: I’m doing this temporarily for a greater goal. More importantly, I’d forgotten to enjoy the journey. Despite how many times I’d said it to others and to myself, it wasn’t till a friend said, “Enjoy the journey as much as the goal. Love the people, love what you do, love where you are now,” that I realized my mistake – I had focused so much on the future, that I was forgetting to see the beauty of now.

In a matter of days, my perspective shifted. See, the thing is, even if your work isn’t so great, when you’re working with amazing people (I kid you not! I will be sharing more on my coworkers soon!), it is easy to surpass what’s insignificant in the long run. What matters isn’t the little tasks that annoy me or the fact that sometimes my coworkers [understandably] lose their tempers, but the relationships that I am building, the friendships that are teaching me something new about others and myself, the people I am meeting, and the endless opportunities that abound.

If I am to be completely honest, I’ve shocked even myself when I said these words out loud: I enjoy waitressing much more than I enjoyed working at an advertising agency. Sure, it’s tough physically, but I spend my days interacting with others as opposed to in front of a computer screen, and to me, as a writer, that in itself is heaven on earth. The more people I meet, the more inspired I become. I’ve noticed that it is no coincidence that I want to (apart from publishing my first novel) wholeheartedly pursue a career in entertainment journalism – I love meeting people and getting to know their stories. Simply put, I love stories.

The other day, as I thanked LatinTRENDS‘ web editor, Shelley Mendoza, for allowing me the opportunity to interview Kim Cattrall, I said, I can’t believe I get to attend these events, interview artists, and in exchange, all I’m expected to do is write about it. It’s what I love on top of what I love! Waitressing is more of that. The plates are heavy, serving makes me tense, but God, I love meeting and interacting with people!

Have you ever been a waiter or waitress? What was your experience like? Any cool stories? Let me know in the comments section below!

Interviewing Kim Cattrall At The Red Carpet Premiere Of “American Masters: The Boomer List”

Kim Cattrall (Getty Images for AARP)

Kim Cattrall (Getty Images for AARP)

As you all know, I’m a huge fan of Sex and the City, and while I relate to Carrie because I’m a writer, I’m more of a Samantha – which is part of the reason I was over the moon last night upon meeting and interviewing Kim Cattrall at the red carpet premiere of PBS’ American Masters: The Boomer List.

American Masters: The Boomer List celebrates the baby boomer generation’s impact on American culture through intimate interviews of 19 iconic boomers. Erin Brockovich, Kim Cattrall, Tommy Hilfiger, Samuel L. Jackson, Billy Joel, David LaChapelle, John Leguizamo, Tim O’Brien, Rosie O’Donnell, Maria Shriver, Amy Tan, and others speak candidly about their experiences, the history they lived through, and ultimately helped to create.

When I asked Kim Cattrall what inspired her to be a part of this project, she said, “I am very proud to be part of this generation, because so much change happened. I was very fortunate to grow up in a time where I had more choice, a lot more choice, than my mother had, a lot more decisions to make based on how I wanted my life to be, and that’s something my mother didn’t have. We were an immigrant family to North America. I grew up in Canada and then moved to New York at an early age. And what was always apparent for me and clear to me is that if I set my mind to something, I could achieve it, on some degree, I could achieve it. And I was lucky enough and stubborn enough and determined enough to learn and to be an actor, which I’m still working on.”

After the red carpet, the media and an array of guests were ushered inside the theater to view the documentary. Needless to say, there’s at least one icon each viewer can relate to. Kim Cattrall speaks about ageism and how she almost imposed it on herself. She acknowledged that Sex and the City producers originally wanted to give Samantha a daughter, and she laughed it off saying, “That isn’t going to fly with this character!”

American Masters: The Boomer List (Getty Images for AARP)

American Masters: The Boomer List (Getty Images for AARP) 

Furthermore, Tommy Hilfiger knew where he wanted his life to go, but he didn’t know how. “If you have a dream, don’t give up,” he says fervently, right before the camera switches over to the next American Master.

After the screening, I caught up with Kim Cattrall over hors d’oeuvres and red wine. (I’ll never be able to look at servers the same way!) I thanked her for speaking up about not wanting children, for bringing Samantha – a female character who openly embraces her sexuality – to life, and for inspiring me…and many other women. When I shared that I’ve written a Huffington Post article on being childfree and that it received over 38,000 likes on Facebook, she said, “We are not alone. There are many of us!”

American Masters: The Boomer List premieres Tuesday, September 23rd at 9:00 p.m. on PBS (check your local listings). I highly encourage you to watch. You’ll be inspired!

Where I’m From

Geraldine Estevez

Last night, I asked my mother: Do you like living here? When I have enough money to move you out, will you do what Romeo Santos’ mother and Jennifer Lopez’s mother did and choose to stay in the Bronx?

My mother quickly replied, “No, I don’t like living here. This isn’t really living.” Then, she went on to explain that life, for her, is a monotonous cycle of “Where am I going to get the money to pay the bills?” As a hair dresser, each month she scrapes to put the money together, only to have to do the same within weeks. “I walk by a store and see something I like, and I don’t go in to get it,” she revealed, sharing that doing so would only result in vast mortification when the time to pay the bills comes. (Note: My mother said all these things in Spanish. Also, my mother is my biggest support system, the reason I am able to focus on my greatest dream.)

When she shared this, I told her that the feeling has always been there for me, but now it’s accentuated by the desire to prosper, as opposed to the deep resentment that once lingered. I used to hate the Bronx, feeling I was above it, better than it. Slowly, I’ve realized that where I’m from does not define me. I am not limited by my surroundings. On the contrary, I am stronger and more determined because of it.

Yesterday, I stepped out to get some recaito for my mother, and I got the same feeling I got when I was younger, only now it’s even stronger. I feel like I do not belong here. People here are unaware that there’s an entirely different world out there, one with opportunities to prosper well beyond their imaginations. So, while they find pleasure in loitering and think a nice apartment and steady (but misery-inducing) job is making it, my dreams surpass that.

I found myself saying last night what I couldn’t put into words just months ago. I told my mother: I want to be a best-selling author, the Dominican version of the typical favorite women’s fiction writer. I want to make it big, and I want to remind people that I’m from the Bronx. I want other people to look at me and say, “Well, if she can make it big, so can I.” I want to inspire others to dream big.

It is for this reason that I wanted to pay tribute to my upbringing not just through words, but through images. So, when Clifton (@Underground_NYC) reached out, I didn’t hesitate. His vision consists of placing something beautiful amidst something grimy, and my, if that doesn’t capture what growing up in the Bronx is like, I don’t know what does! Growing up in the Bronx is finding the beauty of dreams amidst ugliness. It’s remaining true to oneself and one’s vision, even when others can’t and won’t understand. It’s having the courage and will to look and see beyond what abounds.

Geraldine Estevez

If nothing else, I hope my journey inspires you to chase your dreams like your breath depends on it. Don’t allow your surroundings to pass as limitations, because the only limitations that exist are the ones you set yourself, the ones you are willing to accept.

I am a Dominican author from the Bronx, but this is not all I am, nor all I will be. Where are you from?

Geraldine Estevez

Interested in collaborating with Clifton? Follow him on IG and Twitter: @Underground_NYC and visit KillTheUnderground.com.

Why You Must Create A Vision Board

As you probably know by now, I believe in the law of attraction, among other things. As I’ve mentioned before, I believe in God but not in the way people typically do. With that said, after spending some time with my friend Ada – an amazing blogger and networker who’s also into spirituality – I finally got around to creating an extended, more specific version of my vision board.

I’ve been practicing the law of attraction by remaining attentive to my thoughts. When my mind drifts off to the past or to anything negative, I make it a point to get back to my happy place. To do this, I listen to a song I love, write to God or do whatever it takes, but I do not allow myself to dwell on what didn’t work, what could have been or anything else that will detract from my happiness.

Lately, I’ve been having a hard time getting back to that place, not because my intensions to do so aren’t there, but because visualization has been challenging. I shared this with Ada, telling her that I was aiming to improve my mindset. If the key to success is continuously improving my mentality, then what have I got to lose? If anything, I’ll be happier, I thought.

So, when Ada said, “Make a vision board!” and she shared that she already had to make another one because everything on the one she recently created came true within six months, I knew it was time. We met up on Wednesday, and I started my vision board that night. I finished it last night, and I felt so incredible while making it and after completing it (and now when I look at it), that I URGE you to make yours.

For my vision board, I decided to focus on the following six months to a year. According to the law of attraction, the universe doesn’t measure your goals and say “This will take much longer than six months.” You simply put out the intension, and the universe makes it happen. So, don’t worry about the how. Just focus on the what – what you want and what you will feel once it comes true. Visualization is made powerful by the emotions you attach to it. Keep that in mind while you select your images. Be mindful of how they make you feel.

Here’s my completed vision board (with my world map wall sticker peeking on the right):

Vision Board

While designing it, I divided my vision board into six sections.

1) Love and passion: What I’d like to find in a lover and how I’d like to feel. I couldn’t incorporate all of my thoughts through images, but I’m jolted back to those thoughts and emotions when I glance at the images pictured. In short, I want romance, but I want wild passion, too! I want a man who’s open to adventures and travel. I want a worldly, intelligent man. And I want lots and lots of love – the real, genuine, profound kind – the kind that’s rare. Sweet!

Love and Passion

2) Travel and adventures: I’m obsessed with Italy, so that’s the biggest image in that section. I didn’t plan it that way, but I did find the image. Coincidence? I think not. I want to travel [primarily] to Italy, Greece and France. I also want to return to California and the Dominican Republic. I want fun, love-filled adventures with family and friends.

Travel

3) Self: I want to be in even better shape, and I want to be healthier. With health, I can accomplish anything and everything. I want happiness and inner balance. I also want to get back to one of my passions, photography – in front of the camera.

Self

4) Journalism: I want a career in journalism – whether it’s working for a magazine or a major network. I want to attend events and parties, walk the red carpet, interview celebrities on and off the red carpet. I’m ready to live the life of my dreams!

Journalism

5) Published novel and magazine articles: This has been my greatest dream since I was a little girl. I want to publish a best-selling novel (and many more novels after that). I want to see images of YOU reading my book all over social media. I want to hear how I’ve inspired YOU in person and via social media. I also want to have articles published in major magazines, such as Cosmopolitan. I want to inspire people all over the world through my writing.

Dream

6) Life is beautiful: The words around my picture are reminders and reinforcements of what I want my life to be full of: Love, happiness and prosperity. I want to be an even more amazing woman and lead an even more beautiful life! The hearts across the board symbolize my desire for love to abound in all aspects of my life.

Life Is Beautiful

I hope I’ve inspired you. Are you ready to start your vision board? Do you have any questions? I want to help! Comment below, send me a tweet @TheWriteWoman, or email me: Gera@TheWriteWoman.

One last thing, one imperative reminder: Don’t forget to dream big.