Budding Writer, 1978: Dream boat in irons

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About this series: I revisited my journals from my first year as a freelance writer and found they told a story of their own. In this series I get the rare opportunity to give myself and other writers career advice with nearly 50 years of hindsight. Enjoy!

Another entry from my 1978 journals showed that I knew I was going nowhere staying at my childhood home:

I fear these entries are becoming shorter and more cryptic. This perhaps, is well — it certainly is fitting, as little is happening and most of it is directionless. A dream last night had me trying to sail a boat, but unable to go anywhere — blocked and tackled.

8 December 1978

As a seasoned editor and sailor, I know the expression I was looking for was “in irons.” That’s when you’re literally headed into the wind and can’t fill the sail on either side of the boat to get forward motion. A lot of careers end up that way.

Ironically, this photo is from a sailing writing workshop on Lake Champlain in Burlington, Vermont, when my career started gaining a little headway. Photo by Barbara Hampton

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