Before pursuing a career as a novelist, I spent twenty-five years in the corporate world. It’s amazing how many skills necessary in the first apply equally to the second. Four stand out.
A large percentage of time in career number one, I traveled out of state and had to determine how to spend my time to achieve results. The same is true in writing. During the creative process, no one tells an author what to do or when to do it. We have to set our own schedule. Five days a week, sometimes six, I write, no matter what.
Then there’s social media. It was never high on my priority list—truth is, it was non-existent—until I discovered marketing is a necessity. I still have a lot to learn, but am determined to figure it all out. If I get stuck, I can always ask my Grandchildren for help.
Five of the seven management positions I held were in the sales organization. Needless to say, goals were a way of life. For writers, goals fall into two categories; those that are self-imposed and those required by publishers.
In regards to the first, a daily writing target of 1000 words and chapter count keep me on target. Before beginning a manuscript, I create a detailed synopsis, divide it into chapters, and assign an average word count to each. Keeping a running total forces me to flesh out scenes, deepen POV, and create subplots.
My corporate career conditioned me to exceed goals. I do the same with publisher’s deadlines, which gives me wiggle room when life throws unexpected curves.
In the business world I had to juggle meetings, interviews, hiring, training staff, paper work … you get the picture. As a novelist it’s writing, studying, marketing, developing relationships, attending meetings and conferences. Then there’s the which WIP am I working on? Published authors are often marketing one book, editing a second, and writing a third. It’s crazy.
The fact is, stuff happens. Like unexpected employee issues and new bosses in my prior life. In the writing world it’s responding to feedback and suggestions from editors and beta readers. Both push me to become a better writer. I never achieved perfection in the corporate world, nor will I as a writer. There is always more to learn, which keeps the craft exciting and fresh, and writers on their toes.
Although I began my career as an author after I was eligible for Medicare, I’m convinced it will keep me young. How long will I continue to pursue career number two? Until God takes me home or I wake up one morning and totally forget how to use my computer. I’m counting on the first happening before the second.
Pat Nichols launched career number two as a novelist, proving it’s never too late to follow your dreams. Drawing on years of corporate experience working with hundreds of amazing women from all walks of life, she creates stories about women who face challenges in the pursuit of their dreams. Her debut novel in the Willow Falls series is available for pre-sale on Amazon. She lives in an Atlanta suburb with her husband of fifty plus years, is the mother of two, and grandmother of three. She is grateful for God’s blessings and unfailing love through all of life’s peaks and valleys. Visit her online on Facebook, Twitter, or at patnicholsauthor.blog.