I knew when I switched careers from teacher to writer there would be new challenges, learning, and expectations. Instead of dealing with students, parents, other teachers, counselors, and administrators, my world is now populated with readers, other writers, critique partners, literary agents, and publishing house editors. It made me nervous to think of starting over at the bottom of the pile, and I wondered if I was ready for the change. Did I have the necessary skills? Could I grow a skin thick enough to take rejection in stride and learn from it? Could I meet deadlines? Would the energy I have be enough to sustain me through the long hours of researching, interviewing, planning, writing, revising, and editing?
One of the first steps I took as a writer was to attend the American Christian Fiction Writers Conference (ACFW) in St. Louis, Missouri. It was one of the biggest and best conferences I’ve ever attended, and it was here I was introduced to the idea that blogging, or the ability to reach out to and converse with an audience of readers via the Internet, is an essential part of platform-building, which all writers must do. At the next ACFW conference in Dallas, Texas, I continued to hear about platform-building and blogging, but I still struggled with this idea.
When I contracted with the experts at Author Media to design my website, I was given homework. Can you imagine? I breathed a sigh of relief. I knew about homework. Guess what kind? I had to read books about growing my tribe, developing consumer personas, understanding the new rules of marketing and PR (I didn’t even know what the old ones were), how to more effectively use social media, and the importance of blogging. There was that word again. Still I struggled. There are hundreds of thousands of bloggers, so why should I join the ranks? What expertise do I have that others would value? How would an introverted writer like me be able to reach out into the blogosphere to a niche of readers who might be interested in what I have to say?
Then I realized I didn’t have to be an expert to provide value to others. I’m surrounded by interesting people who are doing extraordinary things. I can share their stories and what I’ve learned so that you, my reader, may be encouraged, informed, and entertained.
If you have switched career fields, what were the biggest challenges you faced?