Jumping the fence - in a manner of speaking ...

I really enjoyed this article put together by IO9 from interviews with writers on well known TV series. In fact, here is the blurb straight from the website:

For this roundtable, we recruited writers and producers from all over: rookie “baby” writers like Deric A. Hughes (Warehouse 13); mid-level writer-producers like Zack Stentz (Fringe,Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles); co-executive producers like Amy Berg (Eureka,The 4400); and top-level wizards who’ve run their own shows, like Jane Espenson (Caprica, Battlestar Galactica, Buffy the Vampire Slayer), John Rogers (Leverage, The Jackie Chan Adventures), and Javier Grillo-Marxuach (The Middleman, Lost). And here’s what they had to say.

I loved reading this; it made me wishful and scared at the same time. How would I go in a room full of incredibly sharp story minds? Would I be clueless? Cliched? Would I be able to summon a single original thought? And more importantly … will I ever get the chance?

The answer to the latter is most likely no … which then got me thinking about changing paths in life. It takes a lot of courage to try something new as you get older, and you realise, not only your own limitations, but how much time and skill is required to even begin to be adequate at something. Or maybe its all about confidence. Certain skills must be transferrable??

I’d love to hear from anyone who has changed their profession, or changed the slant of their profession, and how they found it. Did it work? Did they bomb out? What have they learned?

  • I read somewhere that the average person these days switches careers twice – they end up doing three things. I’ve done that already. First a graphic designer, then freelance illustrator, now a writer.

    Of the three, the only one I’ve clocked up the 10,000 hours supposedly required to get really good at something is writing.

    That last change has been the most successful. Would I switch profession again? I’m not sure I have the energy or the courage now! Age and health are definitely obstacles. But if I did, I’d probably go in the direction of fine art.

  • Marianne

    Hi Trudi, thanks for your thoughts. Three times, eh? I must be a bit behind the eight ball. What would you do in the fine art direction?

  • I’ve done a few job changes. My first full-time job (for nine years) was teaching. After I quit that, I did some office work, then ran my own bookstore before I ended up in journalism for 4 1/2 years. For the past couple, I’ve been in retail and now I’m looking for a different job again.

    I guess the change from teaching to journalism is the big one, and for me the initial thing was just how easy journalism was (admittedly, I started on a small town newspaper). I had to learn a bit about style and so on, but it was essentially writing, which I do, and so it was surprising to have a job that I could do, without any angsting (there was a great deal of angsting in my early teaching years).

    It turned out that journalism wasn’t for me because of the emotional aspect of the job. It requires an insane level of belief in yourself and the necessity of the job to go chasing stories or people that don’t want to be or you think maybe shouldn’t be caught.

    My sister’s just gone from years as a science educator into being an analyst for defence intelligence. She’s quietly freaking on the one hand cause she’s never done anything like it, but on the other hand loving it cause it’s the first job that’s actually challenged her.

  • Marianne

    Hi Nicole,
    when I was younger I wanted to be a journalist. I’m glad I didn’t pursue it – it would not have been good for me.

    WOW! good luck to your sister!

  • I don’t know exactly what kind of art. That’s probably part of the attraction: it’s a process of finding something that inspires you, exploring it and hopefully producing something wonderful.

  • Warwick Brown

    Right career change lets think about that will we…

    7 times so far and I’m only 32. True I usually have 2 different careers at a time when I am employed (which is not the case to a significant degree) such as running my own business in water resource technology and working as an office admin at a university, or working as a scientist in mycology (fungi) and also a model maker, or working as a call centre person and a cleaner, to my current training which is in Transport logistics.

    For those changing careers I would always suggest getting a hang of a second “lesser” career at the same time as your primary career is taking off. If you find the second one is more interesting and you want to live that life its not a problem to move over if it is successful. But every time you add another string to your bow make sure you get the papers and education listed or getting the next job gets so much harder.

    Also remember each time you change jobs you are losing some level of specialisation and in the long term, income. Most great careers get better with time but not without their time in hiatus. If it feels like its getting you down get into something else you enjoy and apply what you learn to the job your in. Its only worth changing jobs if you really see that the future and cost of that path is not what you want out of life.

    For me the gift of learning, is the thing that pushes me to move between careers most but I know it has cost me a huge amount of income to do this overall.

  • Marianne

    Hi Warwick,

    sage words. Thanks for your thoughts. I agree with the gift of learning.



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Peacemaker - Aurealis Award
Best Science Fiction Novel 2014

Curtin University Distinguished Alumni Award 2014

Transformation Space - Aurealis Award
 Best Science Fiction Novel 2010

Sharp Shooter - Davitt Award
Best Crime Novel 2009 (Sisters in Crime Australia) 





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