Friday, February 6, 2009

The danger of wearing hats

In many cases, the cogent advice is to wear a hat. My wife is always telling our grandson to put on his cap before going out in the cold (he will likely take it off as soon as he's out of sight). But I'm not referring to traditional chapeaux. The cliched version is "wearing too many hats."

It looks good on a resume, but I'm past the resume stage. Even back in the days when I was changing jobs (too many times, incidentally), I never wrote a resume. I was either recommended or knew the people I dealt with.

But back to hats. Hats can be particularly dangerous for writers. Each time you don another top piece you're taking a step away from the story. But, then, how can you not?

I spent my last eighteen years in the business world as manager of a trade association. I ran an organization of 4,000 members, people known as "volunteers." To get things done, I had to depend on my volunteers to get out and work for the cause. As a result, I am a dedicated volunteer to the causes I've chosen to join.

Take Mystery Writers of America. I served four years as West Area Representative for the Southeast Chapter, which includes six states. Now I have volunteered to put in another two years as Secretary. Then there's Sisters in Crime. After serving as Secretary-Treasurer and Vice President, I'm now in my second year as President of the Middle Tennessee Chapter. I also do the website.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not complaining. I enjoy working with other writers and getting our role out before the public. It helps me as well as my fellow authors. But it takes time.

Like everybody else, I wear several other hats that occupy segments of the clock. Grandfather, chauffuer, household handyman, assistant grocery buyer, Sunday School class vice president, writers group critiquer. Oh, yes, and don't forget book promoter and salesman.

Isn't Google great? I searched on "wearing too many hats" and came up with scads of advice, mostly aimed at small businessmen (hey, I'm only about 5' 7"). One article advised having a work-free weekend every six weeks. The way I'm going, that may be my only chance to get some writing done.

What about you? Is your hat rack bulging? How do you suggest we cope with trying to juggle all this variety of head coverings?

To see that I have gotten something accomplished in the recent past, check my website.


Anonymous said...

I've had to learn my limitations.

Take mental health days.

Chester Campbell said...

My problem isn't my mental health but my literary health. I let laughter take care of my frustrations and move on.

Katie Hines said...

I enjoyed your "hats" article, Chester. I know a lot of women that I called "supermoms" because they wore so many hats, and most of them well. I determined I never wanted to be that way, because their lives were, IMHO, too frenetic.

Bob Sanchez said...

Nice post, Chester. Sounds like you're one of those 20 percent of the people who do 80 percent of the work.

Bob Sanchez

Shari Lyle-Soffe said...

Good post.


Chester Campbell said...

Thanks for the comments, ladies and gent. I guess the important thing about wearing all these hats is that they sit comfortably on your head. So far I have no problem with any of them. I'm not the leisure type. I've always stayed busy. Guess that's why I made my Greg McKenzie character that way.

Jane Kennedy Sutton said...

I had may hats under control until my book was published - now I need another head! If you come across the secret of juggling hats, please let me know.

Jane Kennedy Sutton

Gwyn Ramsey said...

Enjoyed your blog, Chester. How true about many hats. We writers sometimes have a multiple of interest. I totally understand. I need to get back into the chair and write. Come visit me when you have time.

Gwyn Ramsey

Chester Campbell said...

Jane - I have a son who's pretty good at juggling, but I don't know how he handles hats.

Gwyn - This is all the blog stuff I'm doing today. Otherwise working on my new book.

Connie Arnold said...

Enjoyable post, Chester! Sounds like you wear your hats well and also are smart enough to try to cope sensibly with them all. I try to take turns with my hats, like when I wear my mother and grandmother hat when with family, I try to lay the others aside. Once in a while my health requires that I lay all of them aside and myself on the bed!

Morgan Mandel said...

Love the photo!
You're so right about wearing too many hats. I don't know how I get involved in all the stuff I do.

Morgan Mandel