You may be tired of my opinions and experiences as a writer so I have a guest blogger for you today. Charlie Hudson finished up her career in the army and then decided to become a writer and novelist.
Here’s her take on the process of becoming an author in midlife:
Off with my combat boots and onto the computer, that really is the simplest way to describe my transition from the Army to freelance writer. Like most things, however, it was not a simple or painless process.
My childhood dream of writing couldn’t withstand the concept of starving artist and the reasons why I went into the Army for 22 years instead of two is an entirely different story. Several events reignited my desire to write and after retirement I took time off. First I completed Orchids in the Snow, a novel about a military wife, and ran headlong into the realities of attempting to enter the publishing world with no contacts and little experience. Ah, the things I didn’t know and the mistakes I made because of those things that I didn’t know!
Let me just say that after constant rejections, my decision to pursue independent publishing was not as much incorrect, as it was an inadequately informed choice. There were three or four specific points in time that I made inappropriate decisions based on what I wanted to believe rather than what was true. This is why I’m more than happy to share my experiences with aspiring authors. Three pieces of basic advice:
1) find a good writers’ group and/or support like this blog 2) understand that once you set onto the path of self-publishing, you often decease your chances for mainstream publishing 3) understand that you must be a marketer as well as writer
With all of that said, I discovered that I had a talent for technical writing. I had always considered “technical writing” to mean computers and engineering, but those are not the only areas. In my case, staff studies and reports from my military days carried over into the corporate world. Voila!, a means to be paid for writing and fund my books.
In the spirit of full disclosure, have I had a great commercial breakthrough with my books so that I consider them to be profitable? No, although I have a loyal following that continues to grow. Do I enjoy technical writing? Yes, I do and as a freelance writer, I work only project-by-project. That does of course have all the peaks and valleys of freelance work, but one of my writers’ groups helped me learn how to manage the erratic income flow.