Gifts of Gab By Yolanda Fleming

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One of the reasons I am employed as a writer is because I talk to people — in the check-out line, the doctor’s office, the vet, the post office, the nail salon, to name a few — because I want people to know who I am and what I do, just in case they’re ever in need of one. How often have you been at a party to hear someone bellow, “Is there a writer in the house?” How about never? Gab, and you shall be rewarded. It doesn’t pay to be shy under any circumstances.

My most recent gifts of gab were related to my favorite genre, memoir. When work from one marketing firm dried up, I turned to my other profession (massage therapy). One client, a Tuskegee Airman, did exactly what I’m suggesting. He talked about writing a memoir. At 86, this man truly needed therapeutic touch to keep his blood flowing after a series of health problems nearly wiped him out. Each visit, I would get an update on the trials and tribulations of writing a memoir. I said I was also writing a memoir and eventually, he asked if it would be appropriate to hire me to edit and title his book. I agreed and made a modest chunk of change.

Another gift of gab moment transpired at my favorite restaurant, Chilangos. The owner is as talkative as I am, and often goes around thanking people for coming. I’ve always made it a point to talk to Leo, a great conversationalist and storyteller. One night, he got chatty about the invasion of drug cartels in Mexico sometime before he escaped. We were on our way out when the conversation started, and stood at the door for another hour gabbing when he said, “Someday, I’m going to write a book.”

That’s when my husband said, “Yolanda can help you.” Leo truly had the desire. By the following week, I drew up a contract, and two weeks from the day of our long chat, I had a check in hand and a fascinating assignment.

Fast forward a few months to find me now, smack in the middle of the project that after all my years and lost contracts and agent-free manuscripts still taking up space in my desk, will finally result in my first published book. It really does pay to talk, and not to be shy about what you do. Most people will be fascinated, or even better, possibly even inclined to pay you to do what you do best.

Yolanda Navarra Fleming has been a freelance creative writing specialist since 1999. Before that, she was a feature writer and theater critic/columnist for The Asbury Park Press, Neptune, NJ for 11 years. Currently, she is ghost writing the memoir of an entrepreneur/Mexican immigrant, and functions as the Editorial Coordinator for New Jersey’s own Living In Media magazines. The Jersey girl is also a musician, who records and performs music for yoga, relaxation and healing under the name Yoji Ananda, and the mother of two aspiring writers.

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