R.V. Doon

A Test To Determine If You’ve Got Second Career Writing Potential

Readers, is there a voice in your head begging to be set free? Are you afraid to write down what it’s saying? Does it wake you up at night or keep you from falling asleep? I have good news for you! You’re being outed–that’s right, you are a closet writer and this post is for you. Don’t fight it. It’s a good feeling when you let that character out of jail. Better yet, you’re not alone in your misery.

My husband went to a doctor for a consult, and in the course of normal conversation he told the doctor I was trying to get a novel published. My husband came home with a copy of the doctor’s novel for me to read. Closet writers are everywhere! They’re in every career field and they’re scattered at various income levels. Some are fully retired, some retired from the job early like me, and some are nearing retirement. We want to use our free time to follow our dreams.

It’s not that the doctor didn’t have a successful practice, or that I hated my nursing career. We were both successful at what we did, but unfilled on some level. What we had in common was we didn’t follow our hearts. Our passion was writing, but we ended up somewhere else.

So what? I kept going, and I bet he did too.

It’s time to flat out say it. We both itched to write when we were younger, but we lacked the self confidence to believe we could make a career out of it. Look, you can pursue both the old way of getting published or you can set your story free and self publish it. The point is, if you’ve dreamed of seeing your story published, go for it because now you have choices!

SP is ideal for writers in the second career stage because the more traditional path takes so long. Even if it took a writer two years to write and edit their book, they still go through the soul sucking agent search waltz, and if they’re lucky they sign a contract. On average after the contract is signed it takes two years to see the book in print. So, five years may be the average for a new author in trade publishing.

The problem with second career writers is we don’t have the patience or the time. Imagine if it took a doctor two years between diagnosing your infection and treating it? Face it, we’re used to a faster turn around time. We’ve got a story or many stories locked up in jail inside our heads, and they’re screaming to get out. Honestly, it reminds me of the biological clock that starts ticking for women to get pregnant before it’s too late. Yeah, yeah go ahead and laugh.

Self publishing is ideal for us. But you say, I was a successful CEO. Why would I want to start a second career and risk failure?

I hear you! Lots of people want to write, they talk about it, they dream about it, they talk some more about it, but they never finish their story. Some never write a single line. If that is you, you don’t have a story locked in jail inside your head. You can kick back in the rocking chair right now and snooze away. For the rest of you, if you really want answers take this test:

1.  You’re a life long reader, but you often think you could’ve written a better book than the one you’ve just read.  Y  N

2.  Your high school English teacher commented that you had creative writing ability, and you remember it like yesterday.  Y N

3.  Your high school year book comments were witty, long, and grammatically correct.  Y N

4.  You jotted notes during the day job on napkins, tissues, scraps of paper, and saved them.  Y N

5.  In the attic or basement are boxes filled notebooks containing your scribbles or trunked novels. Y N

6.  You tore pictures from magazines that reminded you of your characters and taped them to the wall.  Y  N

7.  You’ve saved true crime stories from newspapers and turned them into an idea or plotting machine.  Y  N

8.  You’ve attended at least one Meet the Author at the library, not because you liked their book or even read it, but because you were looking for writing tips. Y N

9.  You’ve secretly attended writing classes or conferences. Y N

10. If you’ve gotten this far give yourself a point.

0 points =Go to your rocking chair and don’t feel guilty.

1-3 points = Retake the test. Please note the tag line for this blog. What brought you here?

3-10 points = Let that story out of jail. Dream it, Write it, Publish it!






3 thoughts on “A Test To Determine If You’ve Got Second Career Writing Potential

  1. Allyna Berry

    I too am a RN with more than 30 years experience. I certainly understand about “story jail” — I have been using stories to bring home teaching points for many years in both the academic setting and the patient education setting.

    I decided to start small and work my way up. My first short story “The Urologist Who Had to Go” hit Kindle in May, 2012. My next will be a bit longer and should be out before Halloween.

    I plan to work up to a longer work…perhaps a novella or even a full novel. Unfortunately, I still work 40+ hours outside the house…so that slows down creative juices. There are three short stories in the pipeline right now…with more “fighting for air!”

    I am going to go buy your book right now. I have read the first few pages on Amazon and it looks intriguing!!!

  2. Ben Taylor

    Love the part about the biological clock ticking. That is a good analogy of the way I feel–like the time to get this done is slipping away. I have to say the rise of self publishing through ebooks helps. The ease and speed that you can now get your finished work out takes alway so much of the pressure of thinking that even if you do write it no one will ever see it. Now every story has a chance.

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