The Courage to Be Yourself: Susan Caba

She's written nonfiction books. She's been published in the New York Times. She's written short, serious pieces and social media posts that make me belly laugh. In fact, Susan Caba can write about anything, the most boring topics imaginable, and make them compelling. Her writing looks simple. Its looks like it was easy putting those words together. Oh how I envy that. I've noticed how Susan sometimes forgets the gift she possesses: making good writing look easy. Perhaps she, like her readers, focuses on the smooth-flowing end product, forgetting how much effort and thinking and refining and sweat it took to get those final words down on paper. Susan does know that she's touched lives with her writing. She says she's grateful to have had many opportunities to meet and memorialize truly interesting people. When pushed, Susan admits that she's  even righted wrongs now and again. On what she calls her newspaper career 'luck,' Susan writes: I was lucky enough in my newspaper career to work for two of the greatest, during the period they were the greatest. I honed my reporting and writing skills at the Des Moines Register and, in the process, developed a great understanding of … [Read more...]

“DAMN! I am the expert. And it feels great.” by Susan Caba

The notice on my freelance writing site said an agent was looking for a business expert to write a book on leadership. I had recently ghosted a business book (Break Points: Where Businesses Get Stuck) and I needed a new assignment. I decided to look over my publications and see if I could muster enough evidence to convince someone that I was a business writer. I’ve been interested in leadership and management for thirty-some years, in a casual way. Some of my newspaper friends were editors and we would often dissect their business knots. I covered city councils and other governmental organizations, as well as criminal courts--all of which required an eye on human interactions and their consequences. I wrote a monthly Q & A column, interviewing CEOs about their daily routines. But I certainly didn’t consider myself a business writer or an expert on leadership. In fact, I wasn’t sure what my strengths were as a reporter and writer. I’ve been a Jackie-of-all-Trades, which is good in some ways but left me scrambling for focus. If anything, I thought that focus would be the arts, artists and what I loftily refer to as “material culture” (stuff--I was a shopping … [Read more...]

Writing in the Heart, Head, Mouth Zone

If you would not be forgotten, as soon as you are dead and rotten, either write things worth reading, or do things worth the writing."- Benjamin Franklin I do a lot of writing. Between this blog, my book-in-progress, assessments, plans and reports for clients, and seemingly endless email, writing is a big part of my life. If it weren't for a writing scholarship, I wouldn't have been able to pay for law school. The truth is, writing comes hard for me. Most days, the 'why am I doing this' question pops into my mind. Sometimes it stays for hours. One of my all-time favorite writers, Annie Lamott, provides me an answer... We are a species that needs and wants to understand who we are. Sheep lice do not seem to share this longing, which is one reason why they write so little."- Anne Lamott If for no other reason, I write to elevate myself about Sheep lice status. Recently, I had a blast editing a paper on character development for one of my clients. During the process, the bitter pleasure of slicing 125+ pages into 15, I was fascinated to learn that an agreed upon definition of character does not exist. Lay people, researchers and educators do tend to agree that a person’s … [Read more...]

Focus, Persistence, and Falling Off The Ladder

Late last week I fell off a ladder. Don’t worry, I’m okay now. I was writing away on my book… Well that’s a lie, a tiny fib really. Here’s the truth. I was sitting at my computer staring at the last paragraph I’d written for the book I’m finishing, The Flight Patterns of Superwomen, praying the next halfway decent sentence would come soon. After about one hour and forty-eight minutes of staring at the last words I'd strung together, I realized that stuck near the top of a tree outside my window were what appeared to be the remnants of a super-sized plastic bag. Mostly white with some black lettering on it, the bag was fluttering in the wind like a kite. There was some green on it too, in fact quite a lot of green. But who could really tell since it was, oh, I don’t know, maybe 15 feet in the air flapping around in the breeze. It was caught in the branches in such a way that unless a Sharknado hit, it couldn’t, wouldn’t come loose. And, what if it did come loose? Then it would be ground-based litter. Or worse. It might fly off and land on a biker, blinding her temporarily and causing her to crash. A car even. It could break free, float onto a windshield impairing the … [Read more...]

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