Welcome to my Second Acts Series!
Today, we have author Vonnie Hughes sharing insights from her multi-act life.
I haven’t had only two acts in my life, but three. I enjoy change. It challenges the brain. But switching from one career to another was not just because I needed a change, but also of necessity.
For about twenty years I worked in legal offices in Auckland, New Zealand, first as a legal secretary and then as a legal executive. Very long hours at a set salary but with nice surroundings in the main. After a while it began to grate on me that I was doing the work of a qualified solicitor but without the money. Sure, someone signed off on my more ambitious cases but rarely bothered to check them over. “Where do I sign? Thanks Vonnie.” And off they’d go for a game of golf.
About this time I began to help job seekers within the offices where I worked. Some wanted to leave that particular office, and some wanted to work there. I had a few notable successes and thought, “I’d like to do this for a living. Not so much recruiting as head-hunting.” Saw an ad for an executive search administrator/researcher, answered it, got interviewed and bingo, my Second Act was born. And this was exciting. Yep. Late forties and finally found what I wanted to do. Any time to finish my degree? You must be joking. Rotary, overseas students, two adult sons, running marathons for ‘relaxation’ and work. Just did a few business diplomas instead.
Then we moved from New Zealand to Australia and retirement smacked me in the face. Didn’t want to carry on with executive search/recruiting because I didn’t know about the background of many Australian companies or the general working ethos of the district. Unlike some, I don’t see recruitment as ‘sales.’ Where to? Too young to retire, surely?
So I picked up an old hobby. Writing. Had never really stopped writing since I was seven. Poetry, short stories etc. But this time I jumped in boots and all and began to write a Regency novel. Got accepted. Joined a couple of writers’ groups. Settled in to researching and writing more Regencies. All got published. Then social media got in the way. Spent more time doing PR than in writing. Then…I got weary of an overcrowded, under-researched market. Every man and his dog were writing Regencies because the cycle of popularity had turned their way once more. And I began to read more and more romantic suspense and general suspense. Then I began to write it. And voilà! I enjoyed writing once again.
So now my incarnation No. 3 part (b) keeps me busy although I still LOATHE the pirating and the endless PR. But I write more for myself now, and less for publishers. And I’ve made a lot of on-line friends. So I’ll just keep chipping away.
I don’t have any advice for anyone attempting a second act. Why? Because everyone’s needs are different. Their general outlooks are different so their plans of attack will vary considerably.
We all have big changes in our lives that are more or less a second chance.
Where to find Vonnie…
Vonnie, thanks for sharing your business and creative successes. Best of luck with all your literary endeavors.