For the last year and a half, I’ve been working on a pretty big project. When I first signed the contract (over margaritas and Mexican food) to ghostwrite/edit a book, I had little idea of what it would entail, but was excited for an opportunity to actually be part of a book-writing process. The author didn’t really know me. I didn’t really know her. I didn’t know much about the book she wanted to write and I had absolutely no clue how to work on a project of this nature (which I’ve kept a secret until now). My talent lies solely in my ability to string sentences together that don’t completely suck. And maybe make people laugh occasionally. That’s about it. Honestly, I didn’t know if I was even capable of such a feat, but the book proposition presented itself, so I pretended I was an expert writer who could transform anything she handed me into spun gold.
I am still amazed that she took a leap of faith, reached out to me, and blindly trusted that I wouldn’t butcher her story and vision. It feels good when someone you don’t know believes in you and your abilities; it strengthens your belief in yourself. I found a generic writing contract on-line and changed things where necessary. I quoted a price for working the project, thinking it was a huge sum of money. (Which it actually wasn’t.) She officially hired me. From that day forward, we’ve been learning from each other and making up the rules and as we go along. In our particular case, ignorance was power. We did what we wanted because we didn’t know to do it any other way. One of our everyday questions was, “Why not?”
I don’t recall when the project stopped being a job and started being a mission; can’t remember the day when I realized that what I was helping to create was going to be exciting. Eye-opening. Revolutionary even. That I was suddenly a part of something larger than myself, and that I had stumbled into this position purely on the whims of a woman with a dream and a vision, who needed help with sentences. We’re in the final mile-stretch of this race; I can almost see the finish line. The book will be printing this December and ready to launch in early 2012.
Writing for Rene has been a similar journey for me. After visiting her in New York a couple months ago, I returned home feeling such a sense of awe. I witnessed her laborious work creating this GEM empire she believes in; typing columns until 1:00 a.m., following up on every email and tweet she received, constantly interacting with others, networking, smiling, laughing, and even teaching people like me how the hell to use HootSuite, even when I know she’s exhausted. Long after I had gone to sleep, she stayed up and continued to write, work, and build her dream.
Looking back, I signed onto write this book at the same time I signed on to write for GEM, not knowing if either of these writing jobs would work out, last, or become anything important. I signed up to do them, not because the money was great, but because I had a feeling in my gut that it’s what I was supposed to be doing. I had a sense (I can’t describe it) that here were two opportunities/women/causes/ that were going to be BIG, and I hoped (wished) to be a small part of that process from the beginning. These women have included me on their journey, have taught me lessons about perseverance, fortitude, and strength. When they don’t know the answer, they wing it or look it up. They teach themselves new tricks. They challenge the status quo. My favorite Rene-ism is, “I don’t know everything. But I’m smart, and I have YouTube.”
Now that the book is almost finished and Rene’s GEMpire is taking off in leaps and bounds, I’m thankful for not just the work they’ve provided me, but the lessons I’ve learned from them along the way: You don’t give up. When things get tough, you work harder. You never take no for an answer. You believe in yourself more than anyone in the whole world has ever believed in you. And when you falter and doubt what you are doing, you fake it until your muster your resolve enough to pick up where you left off. And margaritas and wine can help bring problems into perspective.
So thanks, ladies. For everything. I continue to learn about myself and my life’s purpose by working with you both. Stealing from Rene, “I don’t know everything, but I’m smart, and I have You Two.”
Who has influenced your life the most? What did you learn from him or her? Have you ever felt connected to a purpose for reasons you couldn’t define? I’d love to hear your stories of success!
Rachel Vidoni is a professional writer and blogger and former classroom teacher. She is a mediocre mother to three pretty neat kids. You can follow her humor and family blog at www.eastcoastmusings.blogspot.com. You might not be a better parent after reading her blog, but you will feel like one.