“If I Hunt, I Will Eat”

I’ve been a freelance writer, editor, and graphic designer since the mid 1980s, minus a few short stints on somebody’s payroll that left me eager to get back to my self-directed work-life again. You’d think the income insecurity of this lifestyle might be troublesome, but in fact, satisfying and remunerative work has pretty much always come along just as my project queue needed filling. Early on, I learned the secret–do good work for good people at reasonable prices. They’ll tell others, and the work will flow.

One time, a couple of decades ago, I was doing too much worrying about money and where the next project would come from. I addressed my fear with a period of meditation on animal spirits, leading to identification with the Fox as my spirit animal. (I know, kind of a Doh! for a redhead.)

What did I learn from asking Fox what she had to teach me?

“If you hunt, you will eat.”

It was that simple. Never neglect your marketing. Even at your busiest, respond to that new project query.

Today, when I “hunt” for work, I’m open to a broad range of projects, from 1-shot writing workshops to book-length collaborations. But the work I’d most like to fill my calendar with, in the months ahead, is writing partnerships. That’s what I’m hunting now.

As your writing partner, I serve as a friendly coach, secretary, and editor. I visit your home to talk about your memories and the craft of writing memoir. Between my visits, you practice your new writing hobby.

Each time I visit, I read aloud to you the pages you’ve written since my last visit. Reading the story for the first time, I discover the questions your intended audience will want to ask. As you hear your words in a fresh voice, you discover new insights and ideas. Our conversation sparks new ideas and triggers recall of more memories. By the end of each visit, you’re full of ideas and ready for more writing. We find our way forward, gently and logically, from first drafts to final manuscript.

Here are a few testimonials from past Writing Partner clients. 

Sue and I met at the Goodman South Madison Library “Celebration of Writing,” where I led a mini-session on writing memoir. Later, she found herself with a story to tell–and sought me out.

“Hiring Sarah was one of the best things I’ve ever done for myself. When I got home from a 4000-mile solo cross-country bucket-list trip pulling a camp trailer through the West, I asked Sarah to coach me as I wrote up my notes. I wanted the encouragement I knew I would get from her, and I wanted help with my writing. Sarah kept me on track. I always looked forward to our sessions, which were both productive and fun. I ended up with something far better than I expected or imagined I was capable of. And as Sarah responded with enthusiasm to my stories, I was able to relive every day of that remarkable trip and experience its magic all over again.”

– Sue R.

Erin and I met when I taught a memoir workshop for Wisconsin Union Mini-courses (now Wheelhouse) in 2011. Two years later, she contacted me to help her capture her memories of a 5-week trip to Morocco with her mother and two small children. On the flight home, her son had accidentally deleted her trip journal from her iPad. (He loved that “poof” files made when they hit the trash icon.) Starting with the clustering technique, we got Erin’s memories back. We began a productive memoir coaching relationship–and a friendship.

“Working with Sarah shifted the trajectory of my life!  Her guiding hand transforms cluttered thoughts into coherent roadmaps that extend beyond writing goals.  Attentive, insightful and supportive make Sarah an indispensable coach.”

– Erin A.

Ellen was referred to me by a mutual friend. Ellen had been on such an astonishing health journey with her husband, everyone told her “you must write a book.” I was happy to help.

“Sarah White is a gifted writer, editor and coach who helped me tame the irascible storm of ideas in my head about how to write my memoir. Her criticisms were gentle but insightful. Her resources were helpful and inspiring. Her story arc lessons helped me break free of fear, deep sadness from parts of my life, and procrastination. I could not have written my story without Sarah’s steady hand.”

– Ellen F.

Would you like to find yourself immersed in a satisfying writing practice, like Sue, Erin, and Ellen did? Get in touch–sarah.white@firstpersonprod.com.

To learn more about my work, visit my website, firstpersonprod.com.

About first person productions

My blog "True Stories Well Told" is a place for people who read and write about real life. I’ve been leading life writing groups since 2004. I teach, coach memoir writers 1:1, and help people publish and share their life stories.
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