Happy Monday and a jubilant Freelance Writers Appreciation Week to all! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays, because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share my Memories of My Mom, the ORIGINAL Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, with all of you!
Yesterday was, among other things, the start of Freelance Writers Appreciation Week. It’s one of those special, week long “chances” we get (each year) to be grateful for writers! I’m a big fan of reading so I’m very grateful for the creative talents of writers, producing works that are inspirational, educational, informational, entertaining, thought-provoking, and so much more.
I consider myself to be a writer but not a freelancer, as I don’t make any money from my writings or this blog. Freelance, per Dictionary.com, means “selling [one’s] work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.”
In fact, even the links that I incorporate into my blog posts are not ads and I don’t receive money (or anything else) for anyone clicking on them. I include them merely because I find their subject matter to be relative and current, as well as at least one or more of the adjectives I listed above. Simple as that!
Mom started her career in freelance writing when she was a young teen. What began as winning essay writings for various contests turned into food-for-thought columns that she syndicated to various newspapers and magazines as a young adult. Writing, you could say, was always in Mom’s blood.
As I wrote in my introduction picture, I started this blog (and continue it) to raise awareness of Mom’s trailblazing talents in the food industry, as the ORIGINAL creator of copycat cookery; but also for the wonderful legacy that she left all of us through her own freelanced, syndicated, and self-published writings.
Mom wasn’t just the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, who investigated and developed (in her own kitchen) imitations of popular restaurant dishes, fast food items, pantry-shelf products, and more. Mom also filled all of her books and newsletters with just about as much food-for-thought editorials and food-for-the-soul inspirations as she did food-for-the-table recipes and kitchen tips.
Mom always wanted her creations to be just as much at home on the living room coffee table or even the bedside table as they were on the kitchen counter. Her books and newsletters were like no others, which put her writings in a unique position to be noticed – and that they were!
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 22)
JOURNALISM IS a peculiar profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate to reach out to someone with ideas, with thoughts, with reasonings and [remembrances].
Somehow, we had to make a difference, touching others with some good – like the single stone tossed into the still waters of a shimmering pond, the ripples begin, as they always do, where the stone touched the water’s surface and responded around and around, until the widest circle touched the grassy edge [of the shore], again and again.
While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire – not if they are truly writers. Editors retire. [Even] reporters retire from their work at some given point. But old writers never die, they just run out of words.
[Unfortunately, Mom ran out of words on January 21, 2018. But her legacy will always live on!]
The pros and cons of freelancing can be limitless, depending on so many different factors for different people. Freedom, control, flexibility, and independence are just some of the possible perks that attract freelancers. However, there’s always an “on-the-other-hand” side to that coin too.
No paid benefits (like vacation, personal, or sick times; nor, employer “sponsored”, health insurance), a lack of job security, “client” development, and unstable/sporadic work opportunities are just some of the disadvantages that weigh heavy on a struggling freelancer.
Thus, it takes a lot of courage to devote one’s talents (in more ways than one), to succeed as a freelancer – whether it’s part-time or full-time. Either way, you have to be able to put yourself out there, selling you and your “brand” just as much as your creations.
AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 86)
HOW I CAME TO KNOW WRITING LAYOUTS & PUBLISHING SKILLS
I WALKED INTO THE OFFICE [of the Roseville Community Enterprise], kids in tow, and John [McPartlin] asked, ‘what can I do for you?’ To that I replied, ‘it’s what I can do for YOU. I’m here to apply for the job of suburban correspondent.’
He said there had to be some mistake, for they were not looking for one. I told him I realize they were not looking for one, but nonetheless, they did NEED one, and I was prepared to provide them with good articles, reports on area municipal meetings and any other features they would require.
‘Inspiration doesn’t make appointments!’ – Gloria Pitzer
John was reluctant, I am sure, to give me the job, but the association did prove to be a very beneficial one for both of us. I learned to key line while working for him, which enables me to now lay out all of my own work, without the assistance of a ‘publisher’.
From my work with John, I also learned about advertising production and sales and proofreading, as well as typesetting with the IBM composer, the very machine that now sets the type of this page and all of our work, making it ‘camera-ready’.
The important lesson I learned, however, from working under John McPartlin was how to recognize a good story and how to write it properly. My favorite daily newspaper in Boston has the slogan, ‘to bless all mankind and injure no man’. That is how I would want to write my own publications.
I learned, among many things, that writers do labor for the love of their work, like a lot of people do, and they live with discipline and constant rejections, which ultimately will separate ‘the men from the boys’ in this profession. The gift is like a slave-master, and the writer must write no matter what else is neglected or sacrificed. So writers settle for rewards of recognition rather than financial security.
Security, to a serious writer, is an amplitude of ideas. Seniority means nothing. Effort and ability mean everything. Competition? There are approximately 400,000 professional writers today  with their articles or books in print, all clamoring for attention from a few thousand were the publications and book publishers. In my specific field, there are over 45,000 cookbooks on the market today . These are, both, collaborators and competitors.
‘A writer’s tools are ideas and ideas are funny little things that don’t work unless you do!’ – Gloria Pitzer
A writer’s tools are ideas and ideas are funny little things that don’t work unless you do! Often, ideas come without an appointment – like at 2 o’clock in the morning, or in the middle of a pleasant lunch and a lovely restaurant. Then you pull out pen and paper and make notes because the ideas are fresh, and you cannot let yourself postpone the surge of inspiration you instinctively feel is touching you at that moment.
All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them but confront them. Touching this ultimately, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble. It goes back to basically the expectancy of good, which takes some thoughtful consideration. Despite overwhelming challenges, expectancy of goods sustains us, dissolves doubts, even impels a beneficial change in our thinking. Infinitely more than wishful thinking, it’s Divine Law in operation, governing each of us.
STILL, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 1)
A STORY TO SHARE
From the mimeograph machine that I hand cranked and inked, with every 200 copies, came the first pages of our newsletter and the first 200 recipes of favorite dishes from famous places. Actually, I added only a few recipe cards at the time to each of the early issues of the newsletter and these grew from 25 to 50 to 100, finally being concluded with 200 selections as of our February 1977 issue.
Those we offered through the newsletter and on 4 x 6 cards have never been published in one complete edition, so we now offer this collection to celebrate over 20 years of our continuous publication of our Secret RecipesTM. In most of these 200 recipes I’ve not had to alter the ingredients nor the technique but in some that had no regard for what is considered wholesome, I’ve made a few changes and improvements.
It never occurred to me that the dishes we were trying to imitate would not be of interest to a deserving family of readers, who simply wanted to enjoy dining-in as if they were dining out. From that day, in August 1976, when this recipe enterprise became this family’s only source of income, it was a welcomed challenge to be able to work at it, not as a job, but always is a joy.
People often question my ability to continue at it with untarnished enthusiasm and never having had to deal with what is called ‘writers block’. I can’t imagine a day when I am not writing and enjoying every moment of it. The 200 original secret recipes were only the beginning of what I felt would eventually become a well-described collection of worthy recipes. And it happened exactly that way.
Yesterday began the Great American Pizza Bake week (and Tuesday is National Pizza Day – see more below). In honor, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Skillet Pizza; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 76).
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
According to NationalDayCalendar.com, some of February’s other continuing, month-long, national celebrations include: Black History Month, National Snack Food Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.
Tuesday is National Pizza Day & National Bagel and Lox Day! The following recipe is a re-share of Mom’s imitation for pizza like Little Caesar’s (as seen in a number of her cookbooks and “free recipe offers”.)
Wednesday is National Cream Cheese Brownie Day!
Friday is National Plum Pudding Day!
Sunday is Valentines Day & National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day! It is also the start of National Kraut and Frankfurter Week [which starts the 2nd Sunday in February] & National Random Acts of Kindness Week.
My next interview with Kathy Keene, on WHBY, is coming up in two weeks!
…6 down and 46 to go!