Article by Colette Dartford
I wrote my debut novel, Learning To Speak American, when I was in my early fifties. I had recently moved from my home in Somerset to California’s glorious Napa Valley and the terms of my visa prevented me from doing any paid work. Relocating meant that I had given up my career as a Research Consultant but I decided to view this as a positive not a negative – an opportunity to develop my passion for creative writing into a second career as a published author. Of course it didn’t simply happen overnight – writing requires dedication and hard work – but it was immensely rewarding and I would recommend it to anyone who has the resources to give up their day job, or who is retired or semi-retired and yearns for a new challenge in their life.
Ten Reasons Why You Should Consider Writing As A Second Career
- You have a wealth of experience and maturity to draw upon and that can only work in your favour. Reflect on your life – think of it as a rich seam of material for that novel you have always wanted to write.
- If you have taken a leap of faith and made the decision to change career paths and become a writer, you are likely to be highly motivated to succeed. This is true of retired people as well. If you have had one successful career, chances are you will work hard towards success in your second career.
- You probably have a range of transferable skills that could enhance your career as a writer. Good computer skills, for example, make a writer’s life so much easier, as does being organized, disciplined and managing your time effectively.
- You are your own boss. There are many different types of fiction and non-fiction and you can experiment until you find what works for you.
- An important part of being a writer is being a prolific reader. You will have more time to devote to this if you don’t have to juggle lots of other responsibilities.
- You can write where and when you choose – no tedious commute, no clocking on or off, no rush hour. Bliss.
- You may find yourself feeling isolated and miss the companionship of your co-workers but there are many excellent creative writing courses to be found online or you can join a local writer’s group.
- You will never again have to negotiate the minefield that is office politics.
- The advent of self-publishing and e-books means that you don’t need to rely on getting a traditional publishing deal in order to get your book into the public domain.
- Savour the look of admiration you get when you tell people you’re a writer. You may have given up a lot to follow your dream, or you may be making the most of your later years, but either way you have chosen to do what a lot of people never could.