Has anyone gone through this? I have twice, the first time in my fifties. I won’t go into details because I’ve told the story before, but during the six years I served on the Springfield board of education, from 1982-1988, my writing took a hit. I only produced one worthwhile story in those six years and seriously worried that my career was over.
At the end of my service I decided to change my direction as a writer and reinvent myself as a poet. It was a relatively easy decision because I didn’t think I had much to lose. I chose poetry. I already knew most of the mechanics and had published a smattering of poems but for the next three years I focused on writing nothing but poems.
I had no plan, no strategy, no general theme. I simply wrote, read about poetry, wrote, read about poetry, and wrote.
At the end of that period I shared my total collection of 100 poems with an editor at Boyds Mills Press. I was offered a multi-title contract, beginning with SOMEBODY CATCH MY HOMEWORK, which was published in 1993.
The second time I reinvented myself came in 1996, only three years later. Maybe this wasn’t exactly a reinvention but it did lead to new opportunities. I decided that I wanted to become involved with professional books published for teachers. I think the motivation came from the six years I’d recently spent on the school board coupled with the frequent visits to schools I’d been doing since the 70s.
I partnered with Bernice Cullinan and we wrote EASY POETRY LESSONS THAT DAZZLE AND DELIGHT. Since then I’ve co-authored with several wonderful teachers and professors to create a dozen titles and four others are in the works. That change nineteen years ago has led to finding a new niche plus numerous opportunities to address audiences of educators at state and national conferences.
Jane, I know that you also work in several genres and recently said that you yourself hardly know how to classify yourself as a writer. So there may be a down side to wearing many writing hats. Conversely, a new challenge can reinvigorate a writer, get the juices flowing again and, in time, perhaps lead to a new fan base and expanded opportunities.
What say you?