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Friday, October 18, 2013


Friday Speak Out!: A Just Ask Attitude, Guest Post by Nicole Meier

A couple of years ago, I went on a business retreat with my husband and his company. The employees were encouraged to bring their spouses and attend workshops on everything from team building to organization. While the weekend was packed with information, there’s one piece of advice that stayed with me: "just ask."

I was given this tidbit from an unlikely character--a short, peroxided number with heavy make-up and over-the-top animation. She bounced around the conference room shouting out life lessons in a voice that was a dead ringer for Bette Midler’s. I didn’t want to like this woman, but the more she spoke, the more I couldn’t resist her charm. She embraced life with a vengeance and, by the end of the hour, her passion felt contagious.

She shared one life philosophy, that it’s always okay to ask for what you want. After all, she had said, what’s the worst that could happen? She gave a few examples like asking to be put into first class on an oversold airplane or to meet a celebrity at an event. She said if we put our needs out there, we’d be surprised at people’s willingness to help. And you know what? She was right.

Since that time, I’ve put this idea into practice and have been blown away by the results. Of course, I don’t ask for outrageous things, like to take over for the Queen of England. However, when it comes to my profession, my writing life, I use it.

When I first started writing, I was stuck and needed an editor. I wanted a good recommendation and wasn’t sure how to get that. Having just returned from a rather large writer’s conference, the name of an accomplished author, who spoke at the event, came to mind. With a "just ask" attitude, I emailed the author. Wouldn’t you know she responded right away and not only gave me some tips, but also offered the name and contact information of her personal editor? I was so grateful, and slightly stunned at the same time.

Since then, I’ve had countless positive experiences from reaching out to the writer community. A few months ago, I wanted to interview an author whom I’d read about in Oprah Magazine. I sent an email, but expected she’d be too important to talk to a small time writer’s blog. Not only did she willingly agree to be interviewed, but also subsequently offered to help with my novel manuscript out of the goodness of her heart. I’d never met this person, and she was clearly far more busy than I, but because I asked for help, she agreed and then some.

Maybe it’s because we’re women and our instinct is to aid those in need, maybe it’s because we’re writers and know what a lonely road our vocation can be. Whatever the reason, I believe if we reach out, someone is bound to reach back. It sounds risky, but boy, is it worth it!

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Nicole Meier writes a women’s travel blog, Have Tote Will Travel, that features trip ideas, inspirational travel stories and destination reads ( She also writes the blog for a pacific northwest literary organization, The Nature of Words ( Nicole loves to travel, cook, read and spend time with her husband and three children in Oregon.

Would you like to participate in Friday "Speak Out!"? Email your short posts (under 500 words) about women and writing to: marcia[at]wow-womenonwriting[dot]com for consideration. We look forward to hearing from you!

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Blogger Margo Dill said...

This is excellent advice. Thank you so much for sharing it with us. I agree--just ask, the worst thing someone can say is NO. I too am surprised by the kindness of the writing world. :) But thank goodness that's the world that I am usually in!

7:37 AM  
Blogger LuAnn Schindler said...

If we writers do not ask - for whatever we want/need - we become our own enemy. Like Margo wrote, what's the worst that could happen? They could say no. Ask away!

7:15 AM  

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