Reinventing yourself

July 5, 2010
by Michael Lee Joshua

So what do you do when you find out after 30 years of doing the same thing, day after day, you just don’t want to do it anymore?

For me, it’s accounting – seems like I’ve done it all my life – getting kinda sick of numbers – debits and credits, credits and debits.


Step one:

Take a new step toward making a living:

For me – Enroll in an MBA program. For you – Enroll somewhere – you cannot reinvent yourself without education. You are where you are because it’s what you know. If you want to do something else, you need to learn something new. Take a class!

I set a goal in place – I decided that I want something that doesn’t make me get up and go to work 9-5 – Something that is telecommuting and portable so that we can move to the Seattle area upon retirement.

Since I completed my BBA through an online program, I started looking at teaching online. This requires an MBA, hence the MBA program.

My research only required me to find an online program (accredited) and start attending classes. I am attending the same school where I completed my BBA – Baker College out of Flint, MI. No other steps toward online teaching can be made until I finish the Master’s degree.

Step two:

Take a new step toward doing something you enjoy:

For me – This is Writing. For you – It might be something different altogether, learn about birds, flowers, gardening, animal rights… – something that really trips your trigger.

I wrote my first manuscript last year and am now in the rewrite/edit process. I hope to begin querying by the fall with the hopes of landing an agent who is confident that they can sell my work to a publisher. I don’t just want ‘an agent.’ I want one who finds himself or herself as passionate about “In My Mirror – The Face of Jesus, Human Like Me – Deity of God” as I am. To me, it is an important message and I need an agent who will see it in the same light.

My research included joining writer’s forums. My favorite is AbsoluteWrite.com – they kept me from making newbie mistakes. The stopped me from pursuing a contract with PublishAmerica or Tate Publishing to name only a few. The key indicator – money flows to the writer in traditional publishing, not from the writer. One of them even states that they want the writer invested in the publication process and that’s why they ask for payment of four grand. When I read that, at first glance, it made sense – in a way. But on the other hand – isn’t my investment the time it took to write the book??? There are others that take money from writers, along with several years’ worth of rights – which you can buy back at exorbitant fees (by buying hundreds of copies of your own book at higher than normal retail prices) – be prepared to research, research and research any agent or publisher you consider.

Not that there is anything wrong with self-publishing, if that is what you want to do. But if you do that, retain your rights – there are smart ways to do it. Do your homework. If you just want to see your name in print – go to Lulu.com.

Again, do your homework. There are websites that will help you – Writer Beware and Preditors and Editors are two of the better known. AbsoluteWrite.com will help you but they are not going to hold your hand, they expect you to do some of your own research.

Reading the forums was only the beginning. I also interact with other writers. I write inspirational articles, so I was excited to find the network at FaithWriters.com – great folks with a weekly challenge that will test your ability to write based upon a one-word or one-phrase prompt and to meet a deadline.

Whether you like it or not, deadlines are part of assignments. If you don’t meet the deadline, you won’t get paid…

Much like your day job.

So, one nonfiction manuscript in the edit stage, two fiction works in progress – now I’ve registered for three different conferences this year and I’m considering one more. The more I learn, the less I know.

Step three:

Don’t give up – When I finish my MBA program, I hope to have two options, one that will pay the bills, one that will really trip my trigger.

Who said reinventing yourself was easy? Or fast?

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