Like many people, I accidently stumbled on my career. No one really sets out with a determination to be a marketing professional and web developer. [Can you imagine, 25 years ago, telling your friends that you want to be a web designer? The only webs that existed 25 years ago were spider webs.]
Early in life, I had two different career aspirations. In middle school, I wanted to be a lawyer. In high school I was fervently determined to be a newspaper journalist. The only goal realized was going to Northwestern, where I susequently moved from the hallowed Medill School of Journalism to the College of Arts & Sciences to become a philosophy major. After graduation, I was spit out into the real world with a B.A. and not a clue.
I like what I do for a living, and strangely enough, I enjoy a blend of my two childhood ambitions. I seem to specialize in law firm marketing, and I write most of my clients’ materials. It takes an absurd amount of time to be self-employed, but I like it, ususally. The chase of the sale, the exhilaration of closing a deal and the thrill of starting a new project–that’s what keeps me going. The writing is there, too: web content, newsletter articles, reports. But I view it as copywriting. I’m good–but at times it can be monotonous and almost rote.
Now at 40, what I want to do when I grow up is to be a history professor. Since I have the wrong degrees, I am contenting myself by focusing on weekend writing. While my husband creates and records his music, I have become busy with writing. Not fiction (I’m lousy at diaglogue–it always sounds fake and forced) but history, biography, and other non-fiction.
The former publishing marketer in me tends to influence what I write: “Look for unpublished. Find a niche. What hasn’t been said?” My current obsession is James Buchanan, our 15th and only bachelor president, under whom the pre-Civil War tensions finally blew the top off the Union, and his niece Harriet Lane Johnston, who became the first First Lady with influence, more than a 100 years before Jackie O.
The following is my first mini-bio of Harriet. At some point, I plan to enlarge it into a 134 or 164-page paperback, and possibly continue on to create a series of other books on strong women who were early influencers in different areas of society or their professions.
If I develop a sound proposal, some small publisher might pick it up (with that book marketing background, I’d be one of those authors when it came to promoting my title). If not picked up, at least the manuscript can live forever on the web.