Friday, March 19, 2010

Resolving the Midlife (Career) Crisis


I'm delighted to welcome Lori Gray to the blog. Lori is a yet-unpublished writer of romantic fiction. She began writing at an early age, but set her dreams aside for a “real” job. Now well into her forties, she’s giving her earliest dreams another shot at the big time. She plans to be published by age 50. You can travel along with Lori as she journeys toward her writing goals at http://lorwrite.blogspot.com/


Here's Lori: One of my earliest childhood memories has to do with books, not just reading them, but writing them. As a preschooler, I was fascinated with Dr. Seuss. My teenage uncle (and regular babysitter) was going on a trip and asked my parents for books to read on the plane. I desperately wanted to write him a book myself, but I didn’t know how to write any of the big words yet. So I copied every word from The Foot Book, my favorite, onto construction paper and tied the pages together with a shoe string. My four-year old mind didn’t much care whether my book had illustrations. All I knew was that I was a WRITER!


Years passed. Childhood dreams gave way to teenage angst. Adult responsibilities quickly followed. Having just passed the 25 year mark being a full-time office cubicle dweller (the female version of Dilbert, eyeglasses and corporate uniform included), I began to question my own professional existence. So, I decided to make myself a Bucket List. Skydiving and safari had no interest for me. But, there were things I DID want to do:


1) Finish my bachelor’s degree

2) Write and publish a novel

3) Re-learn to play piano and perform professionally


Over the years I wrote now and again. I published dozens of articles in paralegal magazines and worked part time as a stringer for our local paper. I even managed to complete several novels, albeit decades ago. I guess none of it ever seemed as prolific as Dr. Seuss’ words, “foot, foot, foot!” So, I kept working. Even my childhood piano sat idle in my living room.


What’s interesting in this journey of life is that some of the roads not taken in our youth reappear later on. About a year into my college courses, I was offered a opportunity at work to learn technical writing. Two years later I am now writing full time instead of filing!


Now my co-workers are words instead of people. Spending my entire workday managing grammar instead of grumpy bosses has released floodgates of new ideas. I find myself less frustrated and more excited to see what else is possible in the future. Enthusiasm for romance writing has found me again, and I am attempting new things, like blogging! You lucky souls are reading my very first!


Are you wondering what else is possible in your life? Make a list. Take a risk. You never know what’s around the next corner. Just follow your feet!

13 comments:

  1. What a great post, Lori! How amazing that your employer found a use for your writing skills--something the probably wouldn't have happened if you hadn't made that commitment to writing a book. Congrats on finding a better "day job" match while you pursue your dream. You're an inspiration.

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  2. Lori, thank you so much for being here today. Your post is great.

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  3. Great post, Lori! I love the idea of writing my own bucket list. I set goals, but it's not quite the same. And how cool that in the pursuit of your bucket list you landed a job writing.

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  4. Lori,
    I enjoyed your whole post, but this statement really jumped out at me since I too am in my forties.

    "What’s interesting in this journey of life is that some of the roads not taken in our youth reappear later on."

    So true, and this has also happened to me. I wrote romantic poetry in high school, plus some short stories for English class (that were accidentally pitched even though I wanted them back. Bummer.) After marrying and then raising two sons, the desire to write kept popping up here and there. I took a home study course on writing for children and teenagers, but in the end, even though I did well, romantic fiction is my real calling.

    My first short story was published just last September by The Wild Rose Press and I have several more in the works for them. There is a happiness inside of me now that was missing for quite some time. I'm sure you can relate.

    Lori, I hope you accomplish everything on your bucket list. :)

    Sincerely,
    Tess Thieler
    "The Stranger Behind the kiss"

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  5. Lori, great blog, and I especially like the "Make a list. Take a risk." Shades of Dr. Seuss there? LOL

    Congrats on being able to make the switch to full-time writer!

    Barbara
    http://www.barbarawhitedaille.com

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  6. Great post, Lori~

    The first things I wrote were short stories for my Dad so he wouldn't be lonely after our family was split in a divorce. Who knew that 35 years later, I'd get my first "real" book published. "What's interesting in this journey of life is that some of the roads not taken in our youth reappear later on." It sure did for me!

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  7. Yeah Lori...Heres fingers, toes and eyes crossed for your published by 50 goals. Go get em!!!
    rr smythe

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  8. @Laurie I gave up on goal lists when my lists started repeating over and over. The Bucket List and My Name is Earl spoke to me because you get to cross stuff off! I hope you give it a try!

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  9. @Robin - I'm looking forward to being able to say that X years later I get my first "real" book published too!

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  10. I write goal lists, too, then forget to look at them. Maybe I'll just do a Bucket List instead. One of my WIPs deals with a Bucket List, FYI.

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  11. Lovely post Lori -
    I never thought about making a 'bucket list' either but it's a great idea.
    It seems many of us deferred dreams and writing goals because so many other things were pulling us in other directions.
    But the muse is there - glad she's whispering in your ear!
    Cathy

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  12. While not a bucket list, I read years ago that your are supposed to write down a hundred things that you want to do or accomplish in your lifetime.

    I made that list, and as time moved on, items on the list started getting accomplished.

    It was almost that because it was 'there', elements in my life changed in order to do those items.

    Now...if the book would just get published! I'd have a big smile on my face.

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  13. Great post, Lori! Keep at it, and never give up. You can make your dream come true!

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