Podcast Episode #35
[00:00:00] Welcome to the Extraordinary Life Podcast from the creator of the Extraordinary Life Tribe, Crystal Obregon, the self-development podcast propelling you forward toward your goals using science backed high performance habits. Reach the next level in your physical and mental health. See new Heights in your relationships.
[00:00:18] Gain clarity on your purpose and live your extraordinary life. Welcome your host writer, speaker and coach Crystal Obregon.
[00:00:29] Crystal: Hi there. This is Crystal from Crystal Obregon Coaching with Episode Number 35 of the Extraordinary Life Podcast. In today's episode, I'm talking with Patricia White, a wife, mother writer, editor, and the managing director of our local Polka Dot Powerhouse Networking group.
[00:00:54] I've known Patricia for a couple of years now, I did meet her in person [00:01:00] before our networking meetings went on Zoom during the pandemic, and I've gotten to know her better through those Zoom meetings. And lately, as we've had some in-person events, as everything has eased up a little. She took on the role of managing director of our networking chapter a few months into the pandemic.
[00:01:24] And I've really seen her blossom in her role. And she also did some work on editing the copy of my new website. Patricia has attended my Design Your Decade Workshop and my introductory program, The Success Habits Reboot. I have to admit, I'm really excited about this interview, partly because I'm so enthusiastic about the writing project Patricia is working on, but I'll let her tell you about that.
[00:01:56] So let's get started. I'm so excited to [00:02:00] have you here today to start out. Would you tell my listeners a little bit about yourself?
[00:02:08] Patricia: Sure. So, well, first, the, the way that I know you is through our networking group, hook it up powerhouse, which has just been amazing. I'm the managing director of our local chapter in Aptus, in the Santa Cruz area in California.
[00:02:23] I'm also an editor. So I help people with their writing projects. And I'm writing a novel about my grandparents. I am also a mom. I have a 20 year old who is finishing up university in England, studying music technology. I'm married, my husband and I have been together for, I forget what our last anniversary was, 22 years, something like that.
[00:02:44] And I have two cats. So kind of me in a summary.
[00:02:49] Crystal: Tell me a little bit about how you became a writer.
[00:02:55] Oh, it's, you know, life is so interesting. It meanders and, you know, goes [00:03:00] in all these different directions. Nothing is linear, but I remember always just loving words, even as a child. When I first learned to write, you know, the physical act of writing words and sentences, I have a very strong memory of that.
[00:03:15] And I just loved words left putting words together. You know, I had other interests too, but I remember that. And then when I was a teenager, I really wanted to write novels and I was interested in writing romance novels. I, you know, have lots of my notes from then. I got this great book called how to write and publish your first novel, which I still have on my shelf behind me.
[00:03:38] I haven't published anything yet, but like I said, you know, I had other interests and did other things and I didn't actually start writing for a living until later in my career, I worked as an admin assistant for a while and I ended up at this great company with a great mentor. It was, uh, I was CTB McGraw hill and [00:04:00] CTB is the California testing standards and McGraw-Hill publishes educational textbooks and so forth.
[00:04:07] Like I said, I was working as an admin and the company decided to create a software development brand. And I just happened to be a part of that group when they started. And we developed one of the first online library catalogs ever. This was in the early nineties. So I was placed as an admin assistant for the technical writing group reported to the manager and he was this great guy.
[00:04:34] Excellent writer, really great mentor. And he noticed I had some editing ability just from working with his correspondence and he encouraged me to take some classes the company paid for. So I started editing for the group of writers. Just loved it. Absolutely loved it. And I remember having conversations with them and saying, yeah, I'd really love to, you know, write novels, but again, never really happened.
[00:04:58] But what did happen [00:05:00] is I developed a love for technical editing. So, you know, working with software, user guides, reference manuals, and then the company went through a big reorganization and I was laid off as it turned out. One of the writers that I had been helping went to work for another tech company.
[00:05:19] And she brought me in as a junior technical writer. So that was my first job as a writer. And this was another. Breakthrough company that was doing some of the first internet software, like developing websites, how to build websites and using graphics on websites. So it was very cutting edge. Again, got some great experience.
[00:05:43] Absolutely loved it. Met my husband there because he was working as a software consultant for. Did that for about a year and the company reorg and I got laid off again. So, um, my husband had been working [00:06:00] freelance for a long time in his business, and he encouraged me to do that. I started freelancing as a tech writer, did that off and on for a few years until my daughter was born, then just mostly spent time raising her homeschooling and whatnot, but continued freelancing here and there.
[00:06:17] And it, it just kind of went from there. And I discovered a couple of years ago that I was really missing doing editing. I had taken some writing jobs, but I was really missing doing the editing piece and really polishing work and helping get clear messages across. And so that's how it all came together.
[00:06:39] I should note that after I spoke for our local polka dots networking group, you edited my little black. And I thought, oh, I'm behind getting my website. Copy done. So I had you edit my website, copy, which great.
[00:06:58] Patricia: I love doing that. [00:07:00] And you know, as much as I love the words and working with them, I love helping people too.
[00:07:05] And that's really like when I hear that. Oh yes, that's clear. That's what I wanted to say. That's the message I wanted. And that gives me so much satisfaction because I know I'm helping someone. What spent for me to realize is that you can be a writer and you still need an editor, that whole idea of the team aspect.
[00:07:26] Crystal: Yes. You're the one that has to do the writing in the first place by. It really takes two, at least.
[00:07:33] Patricia: It really does. It really does. And, and even, you know, when you are a really good writer, you don't have the outside perspective of a second pair of eyes looking at something with fresh eyes. So I really feel like it's a collaboration to
[00:07:49] Crystal: I'm a reader. Tell me about your own writing project that you're working on right now.
[00:07:54] Patricia: Thank you for asking about that. It is very close to my heart. It's very personal. [00:08:00] So I am writing a novel based on my grandparents romance during world war two. I am incredibly blessed to have over a hundred letters in the original envelopes with postmarks from 1941 and 1942.
[00:08:21] Mostly my grandfather's letters that he wrote to my grandmother. I heard their story when I was growing up. And it's just a beautiful story. I won't go into detail, but it's, it's, it's different. And world war II is so rich. You know, there's so many layers and it was such an incredible time for our country, for the world.
[00:08:44] So many changes. So many, you know, the world kind of turned upside down for awhile. So I knew about their story and they had shared a couple letters with me. At one point I asked them, I said, you know, this would make an amazing story. Can I write. And they [00:09:00] agreed. And then time went by raising my daughter, living my life.
[00:09:05] After they've passed away. I went to see my dad who was living in Oregon at the time. I think this was 2015 and he handed me this box of all these letters, a few letters from my grandmother as well. And he said, you know, I'd love for you to right there. Go ahead and write their story. So it's, it's again, been stop and start, but reading the letter was letters was incredible.
[00:09:33] I have their whole story. And so I've really decided this year to move forward and get it out there because I think people will love it. Like you said, you're a reader. And it sounds like a great story. So it's a true romance, a true historical romance. I think it will inspire people to have hope to hold onto to their dreams, you know, to hold onto what they encouraged to, you [00:10:00] know, because like I said, things were upside down and they, they moved through it and kept moving forward.
[00:10:07] Based on all of those obstacles. And so I think it's not only a beautiful romance. It's a story about courage and hope.
[00:10:14] Crystal: I love that. And tell me about the add-ons as well.
[00:10:19] Patricia: I realized just a few months ago, I was taking your workshop, actually thinking about how to kind of share more information with people in different ways.
[00:10:30] My plan is to publish the novel. Publish a companion book with a sampling of the letters so that people can read the actual letters. And then I want to do a graphic novel because the imagery from world war two, just kind of begs to be, you know, a visual medium, and to tell the story.
[00:10:55] Then I also want to do a children's book based on my grandmother's [00:11:00] dog who is prominent in the story. And I think that will be a really neat way to reach a different kind of audience about that time. Beyond that, I would like to do a film because again, the imagery. To go beyond a graphic novel, it would be an incredible film. My plan is kind of turned into a whole brand, so I'm very excited about all that.
[00:11:26] Crystal: I'm excited about it, too. And even the children's book. I have a love for children's literature to just ask my kids and just ask Bookshop Santa Cruz. I spent a ton of money there. And both my kids, that's one of their favorite places to.
[00:11:44] Patricia: When I get a gift of a book it's like such a treasure to me. And I think a lot of people feel that way.
[00:11:51] And you know, to have a book that you can dive into and children's books, I can totally relate to that too. [00:12:00] I was a big, not only fan, but customer, I still have a lot of the children's books my daughter had. Again, it's a neat way to reach them, especially with starting to show them history. I think it's a really nice way to introduce young kids to that.
[00:12:17] I remember when my daughter was like, She was, she was really into the Little House On the Prairie books. She read all of those. I had read a few of them growing up and then she also loved the Magic Tree House books and my husband and I would take turns doing the voices and she just absolutely loved it.
[00:12:36] And it just, you know, again, it's that way to bond. And it was, you know, it was at nighttime, it was a fun thing to do before bed. She found it relaxing. Reading to other people and reading on your own is really, really great.
[00:12:50] Crystal: What's one piece of advice that you would give to someone starting out as a writer or editor that could even be [00:13:00] finding out that that's what you want to do.
[00:13:03] Patricia: I think the first piece of advice I would give is to pay attention, to see if that's your passion, especially for editing, because it's very detailed work. It could be seen as tedious if it's not something you love. So I would say, check in, check in with yourself and make sure that something you really want to do as an editor, as a writer.
[00:13:26] I think the best advice. Again is to, well, of course, if you think you want to write, you know, you probably get something you're going to love. I think the best advice is to decide what kind of writing you want to do, because there's, it's a huge industry. There's so many different topics. There's so many different mediums.
[00:13:49] So I would say investigating and deciding kind of where you are. Where your love is going to be for what type of writing would be the best advice when you're getting stuff.
[00:13:58] Crystal: When your daughter [00:14:00] was born, you really stopped your work for the most part to raise her. How did you reconcile that? Were you happy to just do that or are there creative projects that you still did for yourself?
[00:14:15] Patricia: It was actually really challenging. She was born with a lot of medical conditions and special needs that sort of evolved over the years. So I never really had time to stop and think about it because when I was pregnant, we found out about one of the things. And so from that moment on, it was just like, okay, we know we're going to have.
[00:14:40] To face this, we know we're going to have to go to Stanford children's hospital and there's going to be surgeries. And, and so I just kind of let everything else go because that's what we needed to do. You know, my husband was working full time and, and I was just doing part-time at that point. [00:15:00] So I really just let it all go and, and stayed in the moment.
[00:15:03] I mean, it was hard. You're a mom and you know, when your child needs something, you just do it. In our case, it was a lot of years of needing to care for her. I don't think it was really until I finished homeschooling her that I started to think about, okay, what, what am I going to do? What do I want to get back to doing?
[00:15:29] And she was about, I mean, it was, it was here. She was about 13, I think. So I homeschooled her from second grade to. Through seventh, I believe. And just, you know, had so much care and support and team of medical providers for her. So, yeah, I think it was once she got into high school and she went to Kirby, she found Kirby where your, your kids go.
[00:15:55] We always followed her lead with education because she had different needs. [00:16:00] She was, she was ready and she picked Kirby and got in. And that's when I really started to think, okay, what do I want to do? It was around that time that I got the letters from my dad, my grandfather's letters, maybe a couple of years off that's when I started thinking, okay, I have room for something creative of my own and room for work that I want to do outside of caring for her.
[00:16:25] Crystal: I know that you're the managing director of Polka Dot, you're editing, your trying to write your own book. How do you do that work life balance, especially right now, since you and John are both working from home.
[00:16:42] Patricia: That's really the biggest challenge for me right now, because it is really hard to balance all of those things. I find what I have to do is I really have to have a lot of structure. I started using a planner this year and I wanted to do that last year, but [00:17:00] didn't really come together, but I really have to each day focus on what the plan is for the day, what the plan is for the week, what the plan is for the month, because that's the only way I can stay on track.
[00:17:16] Otherwise, things just fall behind. And, and the one thing that always seems to fall behind is my book project. You know, because with Polka Dot, I want to be there to help everyone and serve our chapter and all the women in it. And then of course my business, I'm trying to grow that and it actually is growing quite a bit.
[00:17:38] So, yeah, it's, it's a challenge to do it. I also involved in activism for social justice and voting rights, so different things I'm trying to do. And yeah, it takes, it takes planning and scheduling and having structure.
[00:17:55] Crystal: How is it having your husband home and at some points he's been [00:18:00] consulting having that time where you're both in the home.
[00:18:03] Patricia: You know, it's worked out really well. We both freelance for a while early on, but then he was working for another company out of the house for a long time through the years, it's kind of shifted back and forth. And then of course, with the pandemic, like you said, everyone, you know, we were all working from home and we've done really well with it.
[00:18:22] We have a three-level home, so his office is downstairs all the way in my offices on the top floor. So we have some separation, so we're not hearing each other as we're working. And I think that's helpful. And then we sort of meet in the middle just throughout the day, a couple of times and kitchen, you know, for coffee breaks or, you know, we just kind of check in with each other.
[00:18:46] So it's actually been really great. I think two things, I think because of the upbringing of my daughter. And what that required. I think that brought John and I closer together. Sometimes when you [00:19:00] have a special needs child, there are so many challenges and it can be so difficult that a lot of times couples don't make it through.
[00:19:09] But John and I consolidated as a team and I remember taking a workshop, it was based on a book and I think it was married with special needs kids, something like that. And my biggest takeaway from that. The person doing it said when an issue comes up or stresses really strong instead of turning away from each other, turn towards each other.
[00:19:34] And that really stuck with me. And I don't know if it was something, I don't remember it being a difficult thing for us, but it was just something always in the back of my mind. It's like, yeah, that's what we do. We always turn toward each other and really worked as a team. I think. You know, once the pandemic hit, we kind of were already good at working as a team facing challenges and saying, okay, how are we going to work this out?
[00:19:59] [00:20:00] So it's been great. It's been really great.
[00:20:02] Crystal: I know that I actually really love to just have the family at home, my sense here. And so sometimes because he has that capability of online school, I'll let him, or we'll go away for a few days and let him do his school online.
[00:20:20] It is precious. And I think, you know, that's something that the pandemic taught a lot of us that that time together is so precious.
[00:20:29] I think it was kind of, well, just an important thing for people to recognize. And I know moving forward, other families are incorporating that now into their lives. We can do this differently and we can have different alternatives so that we can be together and do things differently.
[00:20:46] And I really feel like it taught us about relationships in general and how important they are.
[00:20:51] And I had met you at polka dot meetings right around the time I became a member and the pandemic hit. And I'm so [00:21:00] grateful that I had joined. I've been able to develop relationships even when they weren't in person.
[00:21:09] Patricia: Again, it forced us to find ways to connect when we couldn't be together in person. Yeah.
[00:21:15] Because of that, I've gotten closer and gotten to know people better in our group and in groups and you know, other parts of the country. Yeah. It's just been amazing because before I never would have fought, oh, let's just jump on a zoom call and connect a little bit. It always would have been where are we going to meet what time?
[00:21:34] And of course that in person is important. But it's so nice to have one-on-one in a different way. And I agree with you. I'm so grateful for that.
[00:21:43] Crystal: So speaking of people, could you tell me about one or two of the most influential people in your life?
[00:21:54] Patricia: Yeah, the first one that comes to mind and of course there's a million [00:22:00] people that I don't know, personally that have had impact.
[00:22:04] And, you know, people I've idolized or have been great role models. I really think the man that I worked for Michael Ham, who was my mentor when I worked for the software company, that was first coming out of McGraw-Hill. I think he had a huge impact because he kind of gave me a direction for something that I'd always kind of wanted to do and was so supportive.
[00:22:29] So he really had a big impact on me. And then I know this is kind of an easy one. Um, my daughter, I know every parent you go through changes when you have a child. But I think in my case, I had to dig so deep to care for her and really had to do a lot of research because the thing she was dealing with some of the experts didn't know how to handle.[00:23:00]
[00:23:00] So I think it, I think that had a huge impact on me because I had to really be an advocate for her. And I had to stand up to people that I normally wouldn't have. So it gave me a lot of courage and tenacity and just, oh my God. I've just learned so much from her through the whole process. And she's always kept through all the challenges.
[00:23:28] She still had this beautiful spirit and, you know, laughter and finding joy in things. And so I have to say her, I mean, I've just learned so much from her
[00:23:42] Crystal: And she's been at university for a few years and it was about to graduate soon.
[00:23:47] Patricia: Yeah.
[00:23:48] Crystal: That's amazing. Yeah. Not only in university, but in another country. So clearly you did a good job if you had this security would be way over there. [00:24:00]
[00:24:00] Patricia: Yeah. Yeah.
[00:24:02] Crystal: Most of our listeners are around our age. But I do have some listeners that are young, that are in college. If you could go back and give your 18, 19, 20 year old self one piece of advice, what would it be?
[00:24:20] Patricia: Oh, that is such a great question.
[00:24:21] Because hindsight is 2020, right? We know we can look back and say, oh, if I had only thought of this or consider this, I think what I would tell my younger self is to. To not give up on your dream or your passion. I was always very easily distracted and pulled away from things either with relationships or circumstances.
[00:24:47] And I feel like I missed out on some things of, you know, really doing what I wanted to do. So that's what I would say is hold on to your passion and your dream and keep that close to your heart and keep [00:25:00] moving toward it.
[00:25:01] Crystal: I love. I'm sure they will too.
[00:25:04] Patricia: Good.
[00:25:04] Crystal: Because it's easier. I think, to get distracted these days. Right?
[00:25:10] Patricia: So true. So true, because we have so much information coming at us from so many different directions. It is, it's very easy to lose focus.
[00:25:21] Crystal: So is there anything else that you would like to share with my listeners? Any wisdom or advice.
[00:25:30] Patricia: This is just something my mom used to say, and I'm not really sure how it applies, but she used to always say everything happens for a reason.
[00:25:39] I think that's a really great thing to remember, because even when we do get off track from our goals or from our things, or the way we thought our life was going to be, there's always, there's always a reason for it. You know, we always come out of it and go, oh, that's why I needed. Well that's why that happened.
[00:25:59] [00:26:00] I think that's a great thing to remember in life is that, you know, even the pandemic, as horrible as it was, it taught us some lessons and having my daughter with the complications that she had would have been nice if she was healthy and didn't have any issues, but for some reason, that is how she came into the world with John and I as her parents.
[00:26:25] And you know, that there was, I believe there's a reason for all of those things and we just don't always see it.
[00:26:31] Crystal: I like to tell both of my children that they picked us. They picked us to be their parents. So take some responsibility when we're annoying you.
[00:26:44] Patricia: Exactly. Exactly. That is so true.
[00:26:48] Crystal: All right. Well, thank you so much. So where can my listeners find you online?
[00:26:55] Patricia: So I am on LinkedIn and I can provide the [00:27:00] link for you when you post this. I also, as a freelancer, I use an app called Bonzai, particularly for freelance writers and editors. So I can give you that link as well. It's hello, bonzai.com, but I can give the specifics.
[00:27:16] They can contact me through there. They can read some of the information about what I do and plants I've worked with and so forth.
[00:27:23] Crystal: Great. Well I will share those in the show notes. Thank you so much for taking the time to share your story with me and with my listeners.
[00:27:35] You're welcome. Thank you so much for having me.
[00:27:38] Have a great rest of your day. I will see you in here next week. Bye for now.
[00:27:45] Thank you for listening to the extraordinary life podcast with writer and coach Crystal Obregon. We'd love to connect with you outside of the podcast, too. To find more helpful insights, show notes and more about Crystal, go to Crystal Obregon.com
[00:27:58] That's O B R [00:28:00] E G O N, where you will also find info for the Design Your Decade Workshop. This workshop will help you to stop drifting and start creating. Until next time Be Extraordinary.