Thursday, March 31, 2011

Whidbey Island Writer's Conference

I apologize for the lengthy silence, folks. I've been immersed in my job search until this week. Nothing new to report at this time but I'm being as proactive as possible.

This weekend I'll be attending the Whidbey Island Writer's Conference in Coupeville, WA. It will be my first time attending and I'm really looking forward to it. I'm hoping to tweet and blog from the conference as much as is feasible and also plan on writing a complete report for the blog next week.

I'll be meeting agents Laurie McLean, Mandy Hubbard and Andrea Brown for consults or critiques, the first two within a couple hours of the conference beginning on Friday. If anyone else plans on attending, let me know. I would love to connect with you.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Pursuing a “Job” or a “Career”

Last time we talked about working a full-time day job while writing. This time out, I want to speak about careers and jobs. For many of you, writing would certainly fall in one of those categories.

Let me give you a glimpse into my own life. Perhaps you can relate.

I’ve been employed in essentially the same “job” for 20+ years. There’s very little upside potential to what I do but because of poor decisions, bad timing and layoffs, I’ve found myself cornered. I’m very good at what I do but I’m also burned out and seeking more challenges.

So four years ago, I began college at the age of 40. Things were going well until my daughter’s liver issues sidetracked my family’s daily routine. Now, I’m revisiting finishing my bachelor’s degree in hopes that will provide impetus necessary to change careers.

Fast forward to today. Facing an impending layoff has driven me to focus on pursuing a new career, not just another new job. Many factors have led me to this point but I intend on being very choosy when it comes to my next position.

My definition of a career may differ from yours. I’ve come to view a career as a place I can not only utilize my gifts, talents and expertise, but where I’m tangibly contributing to the lives of others.  It’s more personal for me now. Maybe that has to do with my family’s trek through pre- and post-transplant living.

The bottom line is discovering fulfillment in what I do. Gaining a sense of satisfaction beyond just taking home a paycheck and moving through a daily routine; that’s what I’m seeking.

Now it’s your turn: whether in writing or your day job, do you have a career or a job? What would you change if you could? Are you happy where you are? Please share.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

The Day Job

Many of us who call ourselves writers dream of the day when we can earn a living from only writing. It’s a fact that very few authors can write full-time. Those that do are very fortunate and I must admit I harbor just a speck of jealousy. The thrill (but also the pressure) of writing full-time may sustain those of us who can’t do so at the present time. But is working a day job really that bad?

I suppose it depends where you’re coming from. Many writers are stay-at-home mothers raising their children, or those who’ve finished raising them. We are all aware that motherhood is a full-time job and I applaud those ladies who not only nurture and care for their children, but find time to write.

For those of us who must work another job – either because we are relative newbies or just haven’t landed multi-book contracts – I’d like to provide some food for thought.  I’m in no way covering new ground here so feel free to chime in with your own thoughts.

I admit to still dreaming of writing full-time but it’s simply that – a dream. Until I actually land an agent or sign a contract, I must continue to hone my craft, to read books in and out of my genre, and to strive to be a better writer in every way. Just because someone lands a two- or three-book deal does not guarantee them the luxury of a full-time writing career. It can certainly lead to that but it’s not set in stone until they sign the next contract and the next one.

Does working a full-time job, separate from our writing career, serve a greater purpose? Can it actually improve our writing? It’s a timely topic for me as I face an impending layoff. I’ll have to hit the job hunt trail hard again. I’ll cover that further in my next post. I would love to hear your feedback on this topic.