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Transitioning to Storyland

By Darlene L. Turner

So no matter what your task is, work hard. Always do your best as the Lord’s servant, not as man’s. – Colossians 3:23 (VOICE)

 I think we can all agree, 2020 has been a year for the history books and one we’ll not soon forget. I know friends who’ve lost loved ones, jobs, struggled with self-isolation, and much more. I’m sure many of you have as well.

2020 has been interesting for me. It’s held some exciting events. My debut book, Border Breach, released in April and although it launched at the height of COVID-19, it was still a blessing! Yes, all my author signings and in-person launch parties were cancelled. A disappointment for my first publication. However, this was miniscule compared to what was happening in the world!

Little did I know when I left my office on March 13th, 2020, my colleagues and I would work from home indefinitely. What I didn’t realize was I would never return. For the past few months, I’d been contemplating retiring after working with my insurance company for thirty-one years to pursue my dream career of a full-time writer. After lots of prayer, number-crunching with my hubby, encouragement from my sister and others, and what I call “God nudges,” I took a leap of faith. It was time. I told my boss I was retiring, effective August 1, 2020.

What have I learned from transitioning from a full-time quality assurance analyst role into storyland? Lots. Here are a few.

Take a break before diving in – I worked for this insurance company for thirty-one years and I was tired. I needed to take a break and unwind, so I was able to use up my final two weeks of vacation and finish mid-July. I took that time to do some writing, reading, day-trips with my hubby, and shifting my thoughts away from my previous job. I needed to break free to get my focus into storyland, so I allowed myself to do just that. It worked.

Create a schedule – a friend asked me if I was going to throw out my alarm clock when I retired. I immediately said no! I wanted to stick with some sort of schedule, so I left my alarm clock set at the same time. It’s only been a few weeks since I went into full-time writer mode, but my schedule has formed after trying different routines. I start my day off with a devotion, have a small breakfast and coffee, check a few emails, and then go for a walk. After that, I dive into my writing. I’ve found that setting a timer for 20 minutes and totally focusing on my story helps keep me focused. Every person needs to find what works best for them and stick with it.

I’ve shifted my mindset – I’ve been told that I look more relaxed and I know why. I’ve been able to totally focus on what I love. Don’t get me wrong, I was thankful to have a good job for all those years, but it wasn’t my passion. I go to bed each night thinking about what my characters will do next and I wake up excited to dive into my stories. Being able to write when I want to write and juggle my day accordingly is such a gift.

Have I doubted my decision? Honestly, it has scared me as we all know the publication industry is a roller coaster, but, NO I haven’t regretted taking that step and trusting God.

He’s given us a gift and a calling to write. Whether we do it part-time or full-time doesn’t matter. We write for Him. He will use our storyland to further His kingdom. We just have to take that leap of FAITH and let Him.

I’m so glad I did!

Are you thinking of transitioning full time into storyland?

How to transition to being a full-time writer @darlenelturner #ACFWBlogs #writetips #ACFWCommunity Click To Tweet

Darlene L. Turner is an award-winning author and lives with her husband, Jeff in Ontario, Canada. Her love of suspense began when she read her first Nancy Drew book. She’s turned that passion into her writing and believes readers will be captured by her plots, inspired by her strong characters, and moved by her inspirational message. You can connect with Darlene at www.darlenelturner.com where there’s suspense beyond borders

 

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6 Responses to Transitioning to Storyland

  1. DiAnn Mills says:

    Congratulations! Great post.

  2. I did the same effective Friday. I only worked part-time and have published three books and written four more. But my best creative time is in the morning which was devoted to work three or four days a week (sometimes more.) I’d return home tired and not as focused. I’d use the bulk of my days off working on manuscripts, blog posts and articles. Unless of course, that day had other stuff in it that took priority. I’m not a night person. I lost an entire chapter of a manuscript while writing late one night. I saved chapter 21 as chapter 12 which deleted the previous chapter 12 (so tired I ignored the warning message that there was already a document with that title) which I could not find anywhere. Rebuilding it was not fun. Reminding me why I don’t do well writing at night. LOL!
    Like you, my hubby and I prayed and went over our budget before I took the leap. I had told him last year I felt God say 2020 was the year I would retire. We are both excited to see where God takes us in the coming years.
    I appreciated your list and it is so timely. I am so excited to organize my day as you said around my passion. Thanks for sharing.

  3. So excited for you!! Border Breach is on my TBR table for this week!!

  4. Thanks so much, ladies!!

    DiAnn, I couldn’t have gone through this journey without your mentorship. Love you.

    Cindy, CONGRATS on taking that leap! It’s scary but very exciting! I wish you the best!

    Pat, thanks so much and thanks for reading Border Breach.

  5. Susan Steeves says:

    Love the title: Transitioning to Storyland….you get lost in your writing…its your Happy Place…I see how it gives you such Joy and fulfillment.. I am so proud to be your Sister watching you LIVE OUT YOUR DREAM?Being your Cheerleader!
    You Go Girl!!!

  6. Susan Steeves says:

    LOVE this Sissy! YOU are transitioning into storyland
    and MOST importantly…Living out your DREAM as A writer…SO Inspired by you? You GO GIRL!!!

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