Friday, January 18, 2013

New Starts

Well, it is January after all, so it seems a time to make new starts. And, no, I'm not talking resolutions. I'm talking action.

It's been an interesting time lately. (And yes, I know the old curse, "May you live in interesting times.") My position as a Project Manager was ended last September. Oddly, I was having a terrible time finding the next job. I'd done everything right. I've spent 25 years as a professional project manager. I'm a certified member and prominent volunteer in the local chapter of Project Management International. I teach project management classes and have spoken on the subject for writers. I've built a large network in a strong PM community. I've had solid interviews for which I was well qualified, and it still wasn't coming together. I wasn't getting that final offer.

I finally noticed something else along the way. Every time I sat down to an interview, and finally, every time I sat down to apply for a job, my very first question to myself was, "How will this impact my writing?"

Anyone want to tell me why I couldn't find the job? I only just saw it myself, I didn't want a PM job. The clues were there, I just didn't see them.

Clue #1 -My "Night Stalkers" series book #1 "The Night is Mine" was picked as a Booklist Top 10 Romance of 2012.
Clue #2 -Book #2 in the series, "I Own the Dawn," was named a NPR Top 5 Romance of 2012, and was the only one of those highlighted on NPR's "Weekend Edition."
Clue #3 -The sales for my Christmas short novel "Daniel's Christmas" in the series sold wonderfully over the holidays and is still going strong despite this being mid-January.
Clue #4 -Book #3, "Wait Until Dark," arrives on bookshelves and e-readers on February 1st. (Isn't that a cool cover?)
Clue #5 -My publisher, Sourcebooks, has just signed for the continuance of the "Night Stalkers" to six books and commissioned a new three-book series starting in 2014 (thank you, SB)!

...and I was wondering why I wasn't getting a job offer? It was because I'd already received the offer I wanted, I just couldn't see it. And even if potential employers don't know what's going on, the good ones can certainly tell that something is off... even if the interviewee can't.

So, I finally sat down with my wife and my mentor. We worked on the numbers (estimated income and expenses and timelines, etc.). I brought all of the analysis skills of 25 years as a project manager to bear and realized that I'm no longer a project manager, I'm a writer. (Actually, it is the very first thing my wife said after we made the decision, "If any ever again asks what you do, you can't reply 'Project Manager.' You now must reply, 'I'm a writer.' " She thought after 25 years in the field, that would be hard. Ha! It's been my dream since I started my first book just 6 months shy of 20 years ago. That was over a dozen books ago.)

In response, I pulled the Project Management business cards out of my wallet and handed them to her for recycling. Then I walked over to the bookcase and pulled down an entire shelf of Project Management texts and put them in the sell-at-used-bookstore pile.

The next year is going to be very exciting (and perhaps a little dicey) as I shift from full-time work (typically over 60 hours) and part-time writing (whenever the heck I can), to part-time work and full-time writing.

That's not a resolution. That's a new start that I think is definitely worthy of a New Year. All I can think to say now is:
"I'm a writer. I'd better get back to it."


  1. I did pretty much the same thing back in August when I quit my nursing job, and I'd been a critical care nurse since 1977! The transition has felt strange at times, but I'm happier than I've been in years. You probably are too. Good luck!

  2. Congrats! That's a very exciting change for you :-)

  3. Congratulations and good luck. I said goodbye to the newspaper business many years ago and have never regretted the decision.

  4. What a life-changing decision, and a good one at that! Good luck on your new endeavors and shake off the old.

  5. Pat yourself on the back and smile. I have a feeling you won't regret this switch in roles.