This is my first blog on my new web site, RealPropertyMatters.com, a cyber-place I intend to populate with not only by my regular columns, but also with the kinds of personal thoughts and comments I cannot put into the web sites and newspapers I write for.
I began my writing career in real estate eleven years ago for more than one reason: to satisfy my natural instinct to express myself, because of my penchant to help the mostly uninformed, confused visitors who visited my model homes, and to impress the homebuilder for whom I sat in a beautifully decorated model home nearly 6 days a week.
I pitched the idea of a consumer newspaper column dealing with homebuyer issues to the Sacramento Bee and the new homes editor loved the idea. I aptly named the column Builder’s Corner, proceeded to write my little blurb each week and waited for some glimmer of recognition from my employer — a huge, nationally-owned homebuilder. I was sure NO other agent in the entire Sacramento area was going the extra mile the way I was — to write a newspaper column designed to help potential homebuyers, citing the name of my builder in the column’s tag line. Free publicity!
Several fellow on-site subdivision agents gave me kudos for the column, but nary a word came from the people I wanted most to impress. I waited. Then I waited some more.
It came time for my annual performance review with my sales manager. The meeting was pleasant and upbeat, with the manager citing my strengths, a few things I needed to work on, and my top producer status — and then the conversation ended. I continued to stare at her. “Is there something else you’d like to discuss?” she asked.
“Well, yes,” I said sheepishly. “How about my weekly column in the Sacramento Bee?”
“Oh yes, I ‘ve heard about it.” She gazed down at her corporate employee evaluation form and look perplexed. “I guess there is no place to indicate that here.” The expression on her face reminded me of a flight attendant who had just informed me that she had just run out of peanuts.
As I left her office, I swore that my budding writing career was not going to be dependent on any corporate weenie dumb enough to fail to recognize creativity when she saw it. The next day I changed the name of the columns to Under Construction, altered the format from a Q & A to a professional news opinion format and looked for more places to freelance my writing habit.
The days of the dot-coms were in full bloom in 1997. Soon I was asked to be the new homes columnist for Inman News Features (Inman.com). Subsequently an entirely new world opened up for me. Newspapers from California to New York, trade magazines, PR firms and more and more web sites wanted my content. I quit selling homes to work full time as a writer. Life was good. Each morning I could throw my sweats on, pad downstairs to make a pot of coffee and proceed a few yards away to my home office, where I would tap away all day, knowing lots of little checks would float into my mailbox over the course of the month.
Because of life changes that veered me into different directions in the homebuilding and real estate industries, I have not consistently written full time since then. But I was always writing something — for someone. Sometimes it was a book, other times, a PodCast, press releases, a ghostwriting assignment — you name it, and I did it on the side. It would serve to keep my writing skills sharpened while I figured the rest of my life out. And I somehow knew no matter what I did or where I went, I would continue to write.
To my delight, I am again back to writing full time, even though the housing industry is in a world of hurt and newspapers are dropping like flies. I will still be here to report the good, the bad and the hopeful wherever I can, however, in whatever medium will pay me a little here and there.
Please become a subscriber to my page on Examiner.com to get my sometimes goofy little articles — some of which might put a smile in your day. The address to go to is:
…and all my other articles will be displayed at the bottom and to the side of the piece.
To all of you taking life’s journey with me here on RealPropertyMatters.com, I thank you, I wish you enlightenment and I hope to bring something meaningful into your day.