When thinking about one’s career, certain preconceived notions act as warning signs. One such notion is that once you’ve started down the road toward a career in a particular field, you must never deviate from it in order to be successful.
Most of us know that the notion is nonsense, but it persists nonetheless. Part of it may come from the mindset held by our parents or early teachers, who pushed us to decide early what we wanted to do with our lives and stick with it. Security in career was encompassed one’s entire future during the 60’s, 70’s, and beyond.
A funny thing happened on the way to the future. It shifted direction with technology. Few people now continue in the same jobs/careers from high school and college all the way to retirement. Ours has become a society of workers who, through economic demands or personal preference, have stayed with a specific career until something else came along to capture our interest/passion.
There’s nothing wrong in that. In fact, the desire or need to change is a natural one. When we expand our horizons, we are mimicking the Universe. It, too, continues to expand each day. With expansion comes a stretching of the mind and one’s knowledge of self and the world. With knowledge is the potential for understanding. These are good things.
Today, you could say that just because you’ve taken your career down a specific road, that doesn’t mean you have to build a house at the end of it. If you start out as a writer/poet/painter of one specialty area, you can always move to another area of endeavor or another aspect of your first chosen area. The latter is also in keeping with expansion.
The other benefit to expansion of thought, activity, etc. is a freshening of life. The world begins to take on new colors. Attitudes shift with changes made, as well. New friends become compatriots.
I ask you, now that’s it’s been brought to your attention, why would you build a house at the end of the road you’re walking now?
If you come up with an answer to this question, please comment and let me know what it is. I love questions with answers. They spark debate and that’s a good thing.
Until later, a bientot,
The past few months were filled with conferences, seminars, and workshops from many corners of my sphere. Some weeks time did not allow for concentrated study. In fact, there were weeks when simply finding the time to finish a piece for a submission deadline shattered all hope of spending time with anything else.
That’s not an unusual occurrence for a writer. Ask any of my writer friends about their own work schedules and hopes for more hours in the day, if you need confirmation.
Life tends to get in the way of plans, regardless of who or what those plans are for. We all know that. I have noticed something within the pattern of my life, however,
It seems that every time I come to one of these chaotic sections filled with study, work, creativity, etc., my life swerves off the main road and speeds headlong down another, previously unexplored one. This new direction always centers on tapping a new type of expression for my creativity. Oddly enough, I usually go with it. I’ve never been disappointed.
And the reason I’m not disappointed is that I always benefit from the new road. I might learn a new skill, meet an exciting new teacher, experience a completely different lifestyle temporarily, or any number of other such lessons. I look at creativity as my mentor. It grows as a tree with uncounted branches and twigs, each of which carries its own purpose and benefit.
Whether the branch holds a new hobby or a new career path, I will explore it for a while. That tendency does make me appear a bit flighty at times. Granted. But, I always enjoy the flight and see some wonderful sights along the way.
Truth to tell, I’m getting ready to board another flight. For the last few months my sister has concentrated her efforts on building a new career as a fine art photographer. She’s doing just great at it, too. I encourage and support her enthusiasm. She has a natural talent for it.
I’ve become interested in travel writing to go along with the other types I’ve explored. It’s a perfect solution for both of us in so many ways. You see, we’re both children of a wanderlust persuasion.
What does this have to do with getting back on schedule, getting more focused and producing those stories and articles that I should have done six months ago?
It forces me to focus on getting my WIP pieces finished and out to the mags or publishers before we head out for the long haul. It forces me to concentrate on one type of writing for a set amount of time while we‘re on the road. It gives free rein to the use of creativity within the travel writing framework. And last but not least, it’s very lucrative. The dessert is that we get to travel while working together.
I’ve already been experimenting with pieces for both Associated Content and my own blogs. If you see photos that aren’t book covers within one of these, you can bet they came from my sister’s camera and her gallery stock at BJ Jones Photography. She chooses the photos and I write the piece around them.
You might ask what the difference is between this and any other kind of writing I might do. I think it comes down to traveling for a legitimate purpose, taking photos that will show people how we see the world, and writing about the uniqueness we found in the subjects of the photos. I can’t do that in a static academic essay which requires up to 5000 words, whether creative non-fiction or not.
The whole premise for doing the travel thing is to have fun and use it for work. It’s everyone’s dream. A person doesn’t get to do that very often in life. And we want to do it while we’re healthy and able to enjoy all of it.
Now that a decision has been made about what major plans are for next year, I can begin clearing the decks here and studying specifics for what I’ll need. Sister has the same requirements. Criteria must be in place, etc., before taking off to gather new material.
One future fun prospect, too, is that I’ll have plenty to blog about and share. I might even give travel tips as I go along. Not that others don’t do that.
In the meantime, nothing has really changed. I’m still where I am, writing for both adults and children. I still peruse the markets for likely placement of my baby Pulitzers. And I still enjoy writing my blogs.
I’m going to have a new interview soon. I’ll be doing more book reviews, too. And once in a while I’ll throw in a surprise.
For any out there who are planning changes in their lives or careers, stop by long enough to let me know about it. I always like hearing about other people’s doings.
Take care and God bless, all.
**NOTE: Photo by BJ Jones Photography