Madison, I am honored today to share my writing journey with your viewers and for me it has been the ride of a lifetime.
I had always wanted to write and had been writing poetry since I was a child but I had little confidence in my ability to do it professionally. As it were, I guess the universe had other plans for me because as if by magic the call within me to write became overwhelming. I made a difficult decision to make a transition from a lengthy career as a psychotherapist but had no clue what I would do next.
Lo and behold on Christmas Day about 4 years ago, I saw an ad to write for a national magazine. I figured, “Oh well, probably few people will see this ad today and I have nothing to lose by sending a resume to them.” Answering that ad was the beginning of a freelance career that has transcended my wildest dreams. As a result of that gesture, I became a contributing writer to several national magazines including Salon City and various online magazines such as WE for women, Connections for Women, Next2eden.com Self-Growth.com, etc. addressing such topics as relationships and sexuality, art and culture, health and wellness, the environment and spirituality. And I am thrilled that I am considered the relationship expert/ writer at Runway Magazine. It turned out that my years of experience as a psychotherapist was the launching ground for a rich writing career.
Some of the titles of my published articles include “Finding the Light: Overcoming Depression”, “Attaining Joy: The Hidden Secrets”, Eating for Life: Overcoming Eating Disorders”, “The Benefits of Vegan Living”,” “Embracing the Green Spirit”, “Self-Confidence: The Secret to Sex Appeal at Any Age” etc. I then developed and wrote two advice columns entitled “Ask Therapist Laura” and “Counselor on Call”. One of the most interesting jobs I’ve had was writing a monthly column entitled “Media Trends” that addressed the erotic evolution in film and television with such titles as “Love at First Bite: Vampires and Erotica”, “Dancing with Werewolves: The Erotic Beast Within” and “Undressing the Erotic Thriller”. Analyzing aspects of films and television later paved the way for becoming a book reviewer, but I’ll get to that shortly.
While I was writing for magazines and columns, I continued to hone my skills in writing poetry and my work was published in such venues as Abandoned Towers Magazine, Writer’s News Weekly, War Poetry and Forth Magazine. My personal essay entitled “A Poet’s Journey” was published in The Coal House Review, a division of Autumn House Books. I completed my first poetry manuscript in 2010 and the book “Arise and Shine: Laments from the Darkness, Songs of the Light” was released in late 2011. To order the book one can do so at bit.ly/wBobmL or http://tinyurl.com/8a4gu84
In July, 2011 I became the only U.S. poet to be chosen to contribute several of her poems to an international anthology entitled “Sudden Thunder.”
Writing became a familiar pleasure but I longed to branch out in different genres. I didn’t know what form that would take until once again I saw an ad to write book reviews for the New York Journal of Books. The New York Journal of Books was an incredible outlet to learn more about the methodology of writing and to further examine what constitutes a good story. I’ve always been a voracious reader so here was an opportunity to both read more and learn a heck of a lot to enhance my own skills.
A requirement ( and a great one at that) to write reviews for the New York Journal of Books was that we could only review books in genres that we had credentials in or had previously written in that genre. Here again my background as a therapist was in play. I was allowed to choose books in the areas of true crime, self-help/psychology and poetry. Great reviewers delve deeply into a book with plot and character development in the forefront of their minds. Some books have a great premise but are disjointed and hard to follow. Others have fabulous characters and could be fascinating but the story is not compelling. Each book had positives and negatives—none are absolutely perfect. But some have come very close. The variations are endless but I’d say that 80% of the ones I’ve reviewed have more redeeming qualities than not. The other 20% have more negatives than positives and we are bound by our integrity to enumerate both sides in each review.
I desperately wanted to review books in the genre of true crime as have always had a passion for this subject matter crime. An essay of mine entitled “The Psyche of Serial Killers” was published at www.crimemagazine.com. and a treatise entitled “Strychnine and Stilettos; Anatomy of Female Serial Killers and Their Victims” was published in Crimespree Magazine. These paved the way to review books in the true crime genre. After several years of writing reviews, I’ve been able to expand the genres I’m allowed to review to include fiction, biographies and memoirs. Any author who wants their book reviewed by The New York Journal must have their publisher communicate directly with the staff. At present, self-published books are not reviewed, nor those sent directly by the author.
A new chapter began when in August 2010, I decided to create (along with Italia Gandolfo-Trent, my partner and Co-Director) an online writer’s group called Writer’s etc. The mission was to include writers and authors of all genres, publishers, book reviewers, etc. that would build a new and exciting bridge between the publishing and Hollywood communities. We welcomed over 500 members within the first week and grew to over 650 members.
My writing journey is still expanding and bringing new and exciting opportunities. I have several other books in mind but have not yet made a final decision which one is to be first. But my muse will let me know which one is right at the right time.
If you’d like to contact me to ask questions, get further information or peruse some of my work, you may contact me at my website www.lauraschultznow.com or find me on Facebook and Twitter.