May 10, 2003

Who Are Those Three Ol Bags? By Linda Sparkman, one of ThreeOlBags | printable version

Hello! We are ThreeOlBags. Travel bags, actually. Our travel-writing group is made up of three creative, fifty-ish women who love the Lord, enjoy each other's friendship immensely, and like to have fun.

Originally, we met for fellowship, to study God's word and pray for each other. We simply added "learn to be travel writers" to that list, and hit the jackpot!

At first, we laughed (a lot) at our dream and ourselves, and at how very bold it all seemed. But now, we have real stories to discuss, and real editors waiting for our material. We even seem to have developed a kind of fan club. We've got business cards, a web page, and everything!

Early on we decided to combine our interests, killing many proverbial birds with the one stone called "writing". So, we planned to take short trips, write about them, get them published, get paid for them, and start the whole thing over again, paying for our trips with the money we made.

"Success" means different things to different people. To us, our venture is a huge success...so far. We set out to get published, and yes, we have. We set out to become better at dealing with publishers, and, again, yes we have. One of us didn't know what a query letter was, or even the correct formatting for a business letter. That one is now our PR person, writing, and contacting agents, editors, and sources...beautifully, I might add. We set out to make money, and we are actually in the black this year--that's after the expense of our trips! We set out to have fun. Whoa Nelly, do we ever. Like the time we posed as Charlie's Angels, or the time we romanced a clown, but found him much too rigid for our tastes, or the time...only 600 words allowed? I better not go on.

Our success began about four years ago, when the most experienced of us contacted an editor she had worked with at one time, and introduced our newly formed group, ThreeOlBags. Once the editor stopped laughing, our representative 'Ol Bag asked if she would like to consider a travel story the group had written.

Not only would she consider our article, but the editor wanted a meeting with us as well. We were excited, and nervous. To our delight she was impressed, bought our travel story idea, did an on-the-spot interview, and ran a piece about us in a large suburban Detroit newspaper.

I'd like to qualify myself before I go any further. We each seem to have our own versions of just how we do what we do and why we do it. We even have many debates over just who we actually are.

This brings me to a current project we're working on. It's a children's book about us, in which we spend many funny moments 'discussing' who should do what, and just when they should do it. Inevitably, the "bossy" Ol' Bag says, "OK! I've made up our minds!"-so the discussion is over, and the little travel bags do as their told. Of course, in our real lives none of us is bossy (wink, wink).

For more information, visit http://www.threeolbags.com, where we each have a bio page.

 




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