I read through the many marvelous stories here about authors who took chances and created second, third or even fourth acts in their lives, each focused on something different. It gave me pause, because although I too have shifted my focus, I feel as though my writing is simply an extension of my life, rather than a change. Let me explain.
From a young age, I knew I wanted to be a scientist. I was curious about everything, and I wanted answers! I thought about medicine, chemistry, physics, but it was geology that intrigued me, and I studied mining geology first, but ultimately went to work in the oil and gas industry. I loved computer programming and I soon found my niche as a computer modeling specialist on international projects. If you’re keeping track, you’ll see that I’ve already switched three times – mining geology, petroleum geology and geological computer specialist!
I spent almost twenty-five years in the petroleum industry, but not without a few more changes. I added a graduate degree in engineering hydrology, completed advanced training in computer programming and database design, and moved onto project management. I also created a year-long training program for a local college, taught workshops, wrote technical manuals, published a computer programming book and developed computer models for clients from too many industries to count, all while running a consulting company. To be honest, I’m not sure how many acts that covers!
When I finally decided to step away from the petroleum industry, I did so with a heavy heart. I loved the science, but I was ready to slow down a little. In the quiet that followed, I started writing mysteries instead of technical manuals and when I found a way to weave science into my storylines, I once again found my niche. And the Alex Graham mystery series featuring a mining geologist was born.
I suppose I’ve moved through many acts, but throughout it all runs a single thread – my love of science. So to me it feels more like one richly layered act that hasn’t completely played out yet.
My advice is to be fearless and follow your passion because it will take you down a most interesting path. And if you’re lucky, instead of closing each act and starting again, your career will simply evolve into a unique expression of all your experiences.