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What cocktail waitressing taught me about writing by Jina Bacarr

September 11, 2018 by in category Jina’s Book Chat, Writing tagged as , , , , ,

I once worked as a cocktail waitress…great research for stories

Back in my sassy cocktail waitress days, I dreamed about being a writer. I worked until 3 a.m. cleaning up, checking stock, etc., then I’d go home and write. On a charming PC with a black screen and alien green text.

Ah, yes, those were the days.

Dreaming, planning. Wishing and hoping. Always believing if I worked hard enough, I’d get published.

No one told me the road to Oz was a long and winding one. A road filled with curves and pit stops and wrong turns.

Which brings me back to my days as a cocktail waitress. I got the job because I fit into the skimpy costume. A black fringe short, short dress. High, skinny black heels and fishnet stockings. I looked the part, but I had no idea what I was doing. The cute bartender helped me make up a list of the drinks on a placemat (I kept it as a souvenir) and I had adorable pink tip trays.

I spilled drinks. More than once. Okay, I spilled a lot of drinks.

The competition among the waitresses was fierce. Like a beauty pageant. I got punked by another waitress when she set me up with a grabby, belligerent customer who almost got me fired.

I got asked out on dates by customers, but I kept my nose clean. The only date I had after work was with a bear claw at the 24-hour doughnut store.

I became a darned good waitress. I learned the drinks by heart, got my tray balancing on like a pro, knew when to steer the bouncer to a table of tipsy, unruly drinkers, navigated the jealousy of the other girls, made good friends, and enjoyed the job.

So, what does all this have to do with writing?

Cocktail waitressing taught me that like writing, it’s not one thing that makes you good at what you do. Sometimes it’s going outside your comfort zone to get the job done. Whether that’s learning new technology, expanding your social media network when you have no idea what works, taking criticism (I learned how to serve a drink by dipping and bending my knees) and writing is rewriting. It’s about learning your craft, persistence, and getting through the tough moments when you want to quit. Have your cry and get over it.

I have several book projects on submission….keep you posted!

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