The following column appeared in the November/December 2009 issue of WCDR’s newsletter, Word Weaver.
The Writing Fairy® Eat My Dust Column
by Dorothea Helms
Someone asked me the other day why I chose “The Writing Fairy” as my brand. He wondered whether people think it’s a business for kids, or whether they assign negative connotations to the word Fairy. In fact, these are valid observations, and I took them into consideration in 2004 before I went ahead with the name.
I used Edward DeBono’s Six Hat Thinking to analyze the idea. First, I put on the white hat (in the metaphorical sense, although I have used real hats to teach this exercise). White represents the facts, and the facts were that I already had a successful freelance business, a lot of experience, and an established audience for my work. Then I moved on to the yellow hat, which symbolizes positive thinking. Most of the time, I’m a bona fide optimist, so it was easy for me to paint a bright picture of the future.
The green hat is interesting, because it’s about new ideas and the reasons to go for it. I did research on writers’ circles and groups across North America, and they’re multiplying faster than rabbits. After 15 years of teaching creative writing, I know there are closet writers out there, so I felt I’d do well with that target market, especially by using humour.
Then it was on to the red hat, which is my favourite. It stands for the feelings attached to the idea. The beauty of this hat is that you don’t have to justify these emotions in any way. I WANNA BE THE WRITING FAIRY, I WANNA, I WANNA. So there.
And I couldn’t ignore the black hat, which is looking at the idea in a critical way. The black hat helps to temper the enthusiasm with reality. Would people think my stuff is for kids? And would men avoid my books and workshops because of the word “fairy”? Then, the blue hat—the overall picture. Overall, my idea to launch The Writing Fairy seemed like a solid idea and a lot of fun.
What cinched it for me was a conversation I had with best-selling author Nicholas Boothman, who knows Edward DeBono. I mentioned the black hat concerns to Nick, and he said, “Dorothea I love the idea. The people who are going to get it will get it. Don’t worry about the others; another voice will speak to them.” And the rest is fairy history.