I’ve worked as an assistant to a writer for almost 5 years. When Connie hired me as a college student, I came to work with her for 15 hours a week, helping file papers and submit to literary contests. At the time, she had just finished her Ph.D. and was teaching, and was seeking a way to also create space for creative publication. She admitted that, prior to hiring me, she had perceived the luxury of an assistant as a resource only famous writers could access. However, inspired by her mentor, Rosemary Daniell, she realized her own emergence into the field was a feat worth pursuing.
Intoxicated from the beginning, I was inspired being around a creative person. “A real published writer!” I thought to myself. My goal was to gain some experience, eventually get a job at a publishing company or a local magazine, and perhaps become a writer myself. With Connie’s help, I was able to gain internship credit one summer working as her assistant. When the summer ended, I realized I didn’t want to write as a career choice so much as I wanted to be a part of the finished product. It’s a great feeling to know you’ve assisted in accomplishing someone else’s aspirations.
When Connie and I first met, I had no idea how important to me she would become, and I to her. After a while, we formed a weekly synergetic relationship that fed off the creative energy she provided, and was then run by my ability to keep her creative world running smoothly. She formulated a plan and was able to spend more time doing what she loved, and I got the satisfaction of knowing I’d helped her reach that goal.
I enjoyed that satisfaction so much that I vowed to figure out how to turn “that feeling” into a profession. After a thorough brainstorming session and a recession-based kick to the curb from my regular 9-to-5, I had all the reason I needed to make Literally Efficient become a reality. I wanted to provide the same stimulus for other writers without costing them a fortune.
In the long run, hiring an assistant can save the time and energy of trying to tackle a difficult project on your own – well worth a little luxe if you’re the procrastinating type. Connie and I have a unique relationship – I am her assistant, her manager, and thankfully, her friend.
If you want to find out more about Connie, visit her website at www.conniebaechler.com.
(This column is forthcoming via Georgia Writers Association.)