Lessons Learned

Submitted by Jessica Trippe

Though she always enjoyed telling stories, Leslie Anne Tarabella never envisioned herself becoming a writer. Her journey from blogger to columnist, to book author was more a case of one thing leading to another. During the February meeting, she shared with Pensters and guests how a friend initially suggested she start a blog. After a little research, she decided to go for it, recruiting her teenage son for tech support and choosing a pseudonym.
A few years of blogging and accruing a following opened the door for a weekly newspaper column. It was excellent training, she acknowledges, noting that having a word count forced her to focus in on the main idea of each piece. Even the “best paragraph in the world” had to be cut when it drifted too far from the main point.
Another skill she recommends developing is listening. “Listen for the story. Listen to the quirky things people say,” she advises.

Today’s readers want to know about the person behind the stories, and Tarabella singled out Instagram and Pinterest as the two that help establish a “persona.” During the discussion, she acknowledged social media is essentially a requirement for authors these days. “It takes up so much time, but it can really pay off. Instagram has been surprisingly one of the best things I’ve done.”