Judy at workshop 2

This past weekend I attended a conference that was only half an hour away. My good friend, Joni invited me and we stayed overnight at a hotel near the Los Angeles airport.

The title of this conference was “Big Money Speaker Bootcamp.” A dynamic and well-connected speaker named James Malinchak ran it. James gave a lot of excellent information about how to receive large sums of money in return for sharing knowledge as a public speaker.

I wasn’t enticed by the “big money,” but excited about how wonderful it would be to share my stories, music and inspiration with large audiences. James emphasized how important it was to approach the marketplace with clear goals and success depended upon having high self-worth.

In my dreams this was what I had always imagined myself doing. While in college, I was on the Speech Team. I actually won first place for an expository speech and ironically my topic was songwriting!

Speech Award

I do love sharing my music, but more than anything I would prefer to offer inspiration with my words. A song could be played over the loud-speaker as a preface to a story. I might perform a song or two, but speaking is far better for me than singing for an extended period of time.

When James spoke, he had two screens on either side. He clicked slides to present his information. I began picturing my artwork projected there instead.

Even if I couldn’t draw audiences interested in my touching stories and music, I had other topics people might find interesting. Anecdotes from my art career could make for an interesting speech. So many lessons from being an illustrator have been life lessons for me as well.

Orange Supersoil

Potting soil ad
Wegmans w. fruit

My blog and my “journey of insight” began in 2010. It has been four years now and I haven’t marketed anything for many reasons. I’ve gone through a divorce after a long marriage and buried both my parents in the last two years. I’ve also had unrelenting eye problems. I’m very close with my three children and they all depend on me.

Perhaps the biggest reason I’m not selling anything is because I’ve allowed myself to fully delve into my passion for songwriting. There’s been a lot for me to learn and I want anything I sell to reflect my best effort. Recently, I have made a lot of decisions about how I plan to release my first CD. I have no regrets about waiting, none at all.

Although I do also love writing, I haven’t thought about creating a written book for a while now. I simply write for therapy on my blog and am proud of my efforts. Every story requires many hours of my time and energy; I enjoy creating images to go with each one.

But because I don’t have anything finished that I’m selling, I’ve been labeled as a classic perfectionist. Well, it turns out that my situation is fairly typical.

According to James my approach is the “failure model.” He said that spending a lot of time crafting a book is the most common reason for failure.

I’m certain he would not approve of my blog where I share all my music and writing for free without even generating a significant mailing list.

I did like his suggestion to get started immediately. This was the best quote (and I’m not even sure it’s his):

“You don’t have to be great to get started, but you have to get started to be great.”

Any book I’d sell would have a title and message related to my speech topic. Videotaping the speech could create an audio book. He suggested printing a small book that could be a gift; his example was one that simply consisted of quotations. Right away, I began thinking of all the lyric lines I could use.

For his hefty coaching fee, he would arrange for celebrity endorsements to adorn the back cover. It certainly bothered me that people needed to do that in order to gain credibility. Someone who was perceived as famous was able to fill seats even if they weren’t a very interesting speaker!

His list of ways to craft a topic had me pondering my appeal as a speaker. He said it was important to have something people wanted. Announcing an easy “fix” for a problem was popular.

Right off the bat, that challenged me. I wasn’t planning to sell a message so directly. The thought of calling myself “a healer” was downright embarrassing. Then I realized that I could offer comfort, hope and inspiration by example.

As the conference wore on, I began to imagine a possible topic using one of my favorite lyric lines below:

“It’s never too late to turn your life around – no reason to wait.”

Those words are from my song named “Clear.” I composed “Clear” during a difficult time, a year before I found the courage to tell my husband I wanted a divorce. My lyric line kept reminding me that I was waiting!

Once again, that line is taunting me. I desperately want to believe it’s not too late for me to start this exciting new phase of my journey at the age of 54.

Unfortunately, I am waiting. I want to feel better. My eyes hurt and I cannot imagine myself speaking to an audience with this condition.

Judy at workshop

Yet, I’m always amazed that I can still smile . . .

© 2014 Judy Unger and Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Judy Unger with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

About Judy

I'm an illustrator by profession. At this juncture in my life, I am pursuing my dream of writing and composing music. Every day of my life is precious!
This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to NO REASON TO WAIT

  1. I do believe you have a lot to share, a message that will touch many hearts. I also agree with the speaker when he says that waiting for something to be perfect will not lead you to the ultimate goal, if that is what you want. I am sure there are artists that would find it motivating to hear how you turned your art in to a living. Is that what you want to share? Things are still a bit raw to start telling other’s how to survive the things you have. Maybe other’s need to hear how to listen to their own voice and sing the pain as often as it takes. I know you are going to awaken one day and say this is what I want to say and what I needed to hear but there was no one else saying it. You started years ago and if it takes years then that is what it takes. Too many people want to say here are 3 easy steps to healing from the loss of a child, marriage or parents. Write songs in 3 easy lessons. What people need to hear is this may be a lifetime journey and if so… then so be it. You will decide when you are ready and we will be waiting.


    • Judy says:

      Sandra, every time you write to me I feel as if you’ve been my friend all my life. You understand me better than people whom I’ve known for years. Thank you, thank you, thank you. I am not passionate about art so that is not what I really want to share – I would do it only as a lead in for my true passion, which is related to my songs and life stories. But things are still quite raw for me to tell others how to survive anything as I am in survival mode. I think you are so right that I simply have to listen to my own voice and sing my pain as often as it takes.

      When I wake up and decide what I needed to hear, it won’t be because no one said it, I believe it will be your words. I am listening. When I am ready, perhaps you will be gone but never gone from my heart. Wherever you are, I will know that you are waiting, listening and shining a light for me.


I would love to hear your thoughts!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s