Carolyn Lee Arnold Wants You to Be Brave!
Our long-standing tradition of giving a member the mic before our keynote speaker gives us a glimpse at what our colleagues are working on. Our 5+5+5 guidelines (5 minutes of backstory, 5 minutes to read, and 5 minutes of Q&A) help emerging writers polish their professional skills.
Carolyn Lee Arnold will take the Member Spotlight before our next speaker, “Writing as Play” with Jorjeana Marie on February 19th, 2023. Get tickets here.
Carolyn gives informed dating advice for all.
Carolyn Lee Arnold drew upon her thirty years as a social science researcher and ten years as a relationship workshop assistant to create the dating project in Fifty First Dates after Fifty. A native Californian from Los Angeles with a New England education, Carolyn found her true home in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she prepared for dating and life by attending spiritual ceremonies, working in free clinics, leading women’s backpacking trips, hiking the local green hills, identifying as a lesbian-feminist in the 1970s and ’80s, and earning graduate degrees in women’s studies, statistics, and educational research. Fifty First Dates after Fifty is her first book. She is working on her second memoir, about her lesbian-feminist years. Still a feminist, she lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her partner, one of her fifty dates.
In Carolyn’s Blog, Be Brave, she says,
“It’s brave for older women to date—there are many challenges (future post coming on that!). And still we date, because we want to be in a loving relationship with the right person. It’s also brave for women of all ages to admit that we might be sexual while we are dating. And many of us are, whether we talk about it or not. I want to encourage bravery in dating, or wherever we need it in our lives.”
For more information, including her blog and dating resources, visit carolynleearnold.com.
“This is no mere memoir, but a handbook on how to date the adult way. By reading Arnold’s entertaining and upbeat story of voracious exploration, Generation X, Y, and Z can learn everything no one ever taught them about effective communication, self-care, emotional responsibility, and joyful sexual freedom. If dating is in your future, this inspirational book is for you.”
—Robin Rinaldi, author of The Wild Oats Project: One Woman’s Midlife Quest for Passion at Any Cost
The Most Important Advice for Writers
We asked Carolyn, What’s the most important piece of writing advice that you could give to other writers? She says,
“Writing and finishing a book can take years, so you need to be clear about what you intend to say and why. Knowing your intention will help you determine whether feedback is relevant for you or not. Knowing why you want to write it will keep you going through all the discouraging moments. My intention was to portray dating as positive for me and the men I dated, so I didn’t listen to those who thought I should be more critical of my dates. I wanted to inspire more older women to enjoy dating, and that desire alone kept me going. The main thing to remember is that if you have something to say, don’t try and fit it into current trends or what others want you to say. Write the piece that is unique to you.“
The Discipline of Success
Carolyn continues with a peek inside her writing life.
“To start and keep writing, I need to build in deadlines, encouragement and feedback. Classes do all that for me. I wrote the dating book when I had a full time job, so deadlines for each class made me stay up late or spend all weekend writing, one chapter at a time. The positive and constructive feedback from the teachers and classmates kept me encouraged and well-tutored. Now that I’m retired from my job and revising the first draft of my lesbian memoir, I’m in a ‘Revision’ class to provide the deadlines and feedback—5 people will read my manuscript. I meet on Zoom every weekday morning with fellow writers, where we report what we are working on and then write silently. Started during the pandemic when I wrote the first draft, the Zoom writing provides support and discipline for me to write or edit every day. I also take an ongoing class on writing craft that provides only positive specific feedback on first draft material so I can see what works with a variety of people and feel good about my writing. I write at my kitchen table because it has the best view while my partner quietly works in another room.”
A Community of Writers
Finally, Carolyn talks about the CWC!
“I’m new to the club! The satisfaction of writing, having my book out in the world and being part of a community of writers has made me want more – more writing, more engaging with the readers of my books and blog, and more mutually supportive interactions with other writers. I look to this club as a source of new writer friends and a network for writerly support. Specifically, I’d like to be part of promoting each other’s works, such as writing reviews, being guests in each other’s blogs (I write about dating and writing in ways that can be seen as metaphors for living), providing leads for speaking or podcast gigs, or doing mutual publicity. This would work best in my genre of women’s memoir, the related one of women’s fiction, or my emerging writing on LGBTQ identity. I’d also be interested in forming thematic panels for writer’s conferences or festivals. And although I am no expert, I’d be glad to provide info and advice, if not mentoring, on hybrid publishing, publicity and marketing, and winning awards.“
Connect with Carolyn
Carolyn’s Blog, — Get the detailed version of Carolyn’s 10 Dating Tips by subscribing at the bottom of any page or blog post!
You can connect with her on Zoom when she will give a brief reading before our next speaker series event February 19th. Carolyn will be doing a giveaway of her book!