Ever since I encountered the word synchronicity, I’ve seen it working in my life. I met that word about the same time I met Peggy Vincent. At that time, 2002, Peggy was writing her first book, Baby Catcher: Chronicles of a Modern Midwife, a memoir of her experiences birthing babies in the San Francisco area.
She had a voice and style that I readily understood. We were both members of the Internet Writing Workshop, a free online group of writers who submit and critique each others work. We quickly became a team – she submitted, I critiqued. I wasn’t her only resource, but along with the writing and critiquing, we grew a friendship.
While she wrote her book, she encouraged me in my own writing, helping me find my way into writing memoirs and personal essays. When she sold to a market, such as Christian Science Monitor, Adam’s Media, Cup of Comfort anthologies, Chocolate anthologies, or Skirt! Magazine, she introduced me to them and provided contacts. Through the years I’ve honed my skills a bit at the personal essay and sell a good many of them to Christian Science Monitor and the other markets, finding a few of my own along the way, including Better Nutrition at a delicious $1 a word sale, Birds and Blooms, Ohio Magazine, and The Washington Post.
Peggy went on to find an agent and sign a six-figure deal (after a bidding war) with Scribner. She went on a book tour and during that time she journaled her adventures and detailed the experiences so that I and others could learn when it was our turn to make it big.
One market that she broke into, Notre Dame Magazine, continued to elude me. I wrote, submitted, met with rejection and then forgot about it for awhile as I sold my work elsewhere or wrote articles for a hobby magazine that loved my profiles.
A decade of writing fillers and profiles on demand as a newspaper reporter helped me create saleable articles. My sales were not self supporting, and I kept plugging away, dependent upon my husband’s income to see me through.
This year, I’m beginning the year with new confidence, for you see, I just heard from the managing editor of Notre Dame Magazine and she’s ‘happy’ to buy my submission. Her offer is the most money I’ve ever earned from one essay sale. Okay, from any writing sale.
If I hadn’t felt desperate to connect with writers, I would never have joined the IWW. If Peggy and I had not met on the IWW, I would not have found my essayist’s voice, would not have cracked any of the markets that Peggy introduced me to, and I would not be doing my happy dance, knowing the sale of one essay just paid off our Christmas charge cards.
Even more than that. I would not have made friends who have not only helped my writing, but kept me afloat during tough times. I wouldn’t have met one of the IWW administrators who helped me start my blogs. I wouldn’t have met Mona, who told me about an editor she met at a conference – an editor at Publisher’s Weekly – who liked my book reviews and paid me to read free books and write my opinion. I wouldn’t have met Carole or Judith who introduced me to a group of freelance journalists at another online group, who turned their love of writing into a lucrative business.
Synchronicity — Coincidence of events that seem to be meaningfully related Source: dictionary.com
My definition of synchronicity is the miraculous bringing together of choices, people and knowledge just when you need them to progress to the next step in your life. Writers do not write alone – together we can grow our art. Together we can nudge each other on to success.
Dawn Goldsmith, journalist and freelance writer, specializes in personal essays and profiles for a variety of national, regional and custom publications including Better Nutrition, The Washington Post, Christian Science Monitor, ABC News, and Notre Dame Magazine.