Coffee Talk and Writer Secrets #2

Coffee Talk and Writer Secrets.jpg

Good morning, writer.

Do you have coffee? Tea? Something to drink? Because this is vital to your happiness and health – find something delicious and join me for a writerly chat. Let’s talk about writing [and then go write!].

But first, beverage.


What are you drinking? Right now, I’ve got an amazing cup of Get Hydrated tea from the Republic of Tea. It’s fruity and flowery and just the right thing for this morning.

This week, my focus thought comes from Vanessa Van Edwards from The Science of People. But first, did you know her book is out? I’m so excited – I can’t wait to read it. It’s Captivate: The Science of Succeeding With People. I took her People Skills course last fall and learned a ton! I’m so glad I did.

Vanessa Van Edwards asks us to consider:  “What personal passion project are you working on right now?”

It’s a solid question: what are we passionate about? What are we working on that involves that passion?

I spent the last week deep-diving into freelance writing and a book that I read first in 1995. You’ve probably heard about it:  What Color is Your Parachute? by Dick Bolles. Every time I find myself at a crossroad, I turn to that book for some reason, and it helps me work through what I want and what I love. The funny thing is I came to the same conclusion today that I did back in 1995: I’m a writer and I need that.

Are you a writer who needs it too?

On that note, I’ve got something interesting for you from one of humanity’s great minds:

I do not think there is any thrill

that can go through the human heart

like that felt by the inventor

as he sees some creation of the brain

unfolding to success…

such emotions make a man forget

food, sleep, friends, love, everything.

~ Nikola Tesla

I’ve often found myself lost in time…just yesterday, I sat down at my desk to work, and hours later, my computer’s alarm went off to remind me that I need to eat. I love that writing sweeps us away and we dance with fate. That’s one of the reasons we do it.

Oprah Winfrey once said, “I believe luck is preparation meeting opportunity. If you hadn’t been prepared when the opportunity came along, you wouldn’t have been ‘lucky’.” Some of the smartest people I know think that luck is magical. Some people are born with it, while others are left out in the cold. They think the best we can do is to hope for the best. I disagree. I believe we make our own luck through groundwork and sweat equity; there is more to luck than fate.

If I stuck with the cards fate dealt me, I would still be living in Harbor Springs, Michigan, and probably working as a cook at the Pier or at Boyne Highlands. It would have been a good life, but I didn’t think that was for me. Through a series of life changes, I moved across the country. Somewhere between being a full-time caretaker, a part-time mentor, and a full-time student, I started my own freelance writing business. My entire life was spent in the exploration of books on writing and business because I wanted to get ahead. I knew if I was in charge, I could have the best chance to meet my creative and financial needs. I established DarWrites and Reilley Writes in 2010 and have worked as a part-time freelancer since then.


Another example of why opportunity and preparation work together is my bachelor’s degree. When I declared my B.A. major in anthropology, it was a shock to others, but not to myself. Everyone thought I would be an English major – I wanted that, but I also knew I needed something different: I wanted to merge writing with science and anthropology was a science that encompassed everything about humanity. I first fell for anthropology before knowing what the word meant – I only knew that Egyptian artifacts were shiny and I liked them. Since that first picture book, I assembled a body of knowledge and work that prepares me for opportunities that aren’t necessarily in the wheelhouses of anthropology. In February, I pitched a workshop for the Romance Writers of America on Anthropology, Archaeology, and Romance. This past Sunday, I finished teaching the workshop. Because I was both a writer and an anthropology student, I merged two things I loved into a workshop that helped writers achieve their writing goals. I thought outside the box, and without preparation, I wouldn’t have been able to create this workshop.

When I graduated from Pacific Lutheran University, I took a moment to look at my opportunities in liberal arts and science. I thought about going full-speed into a Ph. D. in archaeology, but realized I wanted something different first. I wanted to write and teach writing. I reached high when applying for a Master’s degree in creative writing at Goddard College. Through my past experiences at Pierce College and Pacific Lutheran University, I knew I could do the intense coursework. Through the years of writing articles, business docs, essays, novels, and short stories, I knew I could write the essay. I spent years reading about writing, writing about writing, and teaching others what I knew informally. Each year, I saw my craft level up and along with it the quality of my stories. Through conviction, passion, and preparation, I met the opportunity. I graduated with my MFA in February.

We dance with fate, but when the final curtain comes, we make our own decisions based on experience, preparation, and gut feelings. It’s what led me here to you. Luck happens when we merge groundwork with prospects. As usual, Oprah was right.

We all need people who nudge us to step up our game and change our lives. That’s what I want DarWrites to be for you.

In my writerly musings this week, I came up with a few ideas for this blog and how to empower you as a writer to do your thing. I hope you stick around, because this journey is about to level up.

Now, we must write.

You must write.

So must I.

What say we inspire each other?

Today is the day to start the next chapter of your life…

It’s up to you what you write on it.

Make it a good one.

Write on,



Enjoyed this? Buy my books.

About Darlene Reilley

Hey, I'm Darlene, a nomadic writer and teacher. If you're looking for writing prompts, inspiration, and a fellow writer to commiserate with, you've come to the right place. If you're a reader looking for a fun mix of poetry, romance, science and fiction, you've found a buddy!
This entry was posted in Creative Writing, Freelance Writing, Inspiration, writing craft, writing life, Writing Secrets and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Coffee Talk and Writer Secrets #2

  1. Pingback: Coffee Talk and Writer Secrets #3 | Dar Writes

  2. Pingback: June Roundup | Dar Writes

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