Tell us about yourself and how many books you have written.
My first book was a project with a former colleague, where we wanted to collect all the things that we had learned in our ten years of corporate experience, along with expert advice from people in our network, in a guide to help new hires.
My second book, just launched, is also a collection of wisdom and personal experiences: it’s 50 stories of people who have left behind the corporate 9 to 5 to create a different kind of career and life for themselves. I’ve framed these stories within my own experience of quitting my job and I’m hoping this will prove reassuring, inspirational and of tangible help to people who are considering their very own career transition.
What is the name of your latest book and what inspired it?
My latest book is Leaving the Corporate 9 to 5: Stories from people who've done it (and how you can too!).
In 2013, I took a leap of faith, leaving my corporate job without a clear plan as to what I was going to do next. One of the first ideas I had after leaving was to talk to others who had done the same. To be perfectly honest, this stemmed from a selfish desire on my side to be inspired, to find the courage to do what I wanted to do, and to learn from other people’s mistakes! In sharing the interviews on my newly established blog, however, I was able to broaden my reach to inspire and help other people like me in the process.
The first interview went up on the blog in January 2014 and, in the years since, I’ve spoken to 50 different people. With a range of experiences and fantastic advice hidden away in these old blog posts, I thought it would be valuable to collect all the interviews in a book. I called this interview series ‘Fearless Fridays’ on my blog, and I do love a good alliteration, so Fifty Fearless Fridays just sounded like it was meant to be!
I’ve also learned a lot from my own experience of the various twists and turns since I first made the decision to quit. Since then, I’ve dedicated myself to understanding who I am, what motivates me and what a fulfilling career looks like for me as an individual. I’ve become passionate about helping others do the same, and I now coach people through their own transition out of the corporate 9 to 5. I’ve framed the 50 stories in this collection within my own personal experience and what I’ve observed in coaching clients, adding some guidance as to what you can do to start creating your own career transition story. My hope is that this book will offer both reassurance and inspiration on the one hand, and concrete tips and action steps on the other, as you create your very own career transition story.
Do you have any unusual writing habits?
I wouldn't say they are particularly unusual!
I’ve been publishing weekly on my blog for years (in fact, I started out with a new post every two days when I was travelling and then continued twice weekly) and that’s an integral part of my routine at this stage. I also now write for external publications so that has become a regular outlet, while I use my marketing and business experience to produce training scripts for a number of companies as well.
As a result, I write something pretty much every day. Although I never really face that dreaded “writer’s block”, there are definitely days when I feel inspired and can push out a great blog post in just a couple of hours, and other days when I just don’t have the energy or focus. The good thing is that there are plenty of other things that I can be doing on those days, that require a different kind of brain work!
Since I work for myself, I can also write from anywhere – from home, from a cafe, on a train or plane…
What authors, or books have influenced you?
I couldn't really pinpoint any specific author or book that has influenced me in the kind of writing that I do at the moment. However, I have read a lot of books about writing and my favourites include On Writing by Stephen King, The Artist's Way by Julia Cameron and The War of Art by Steven Pressfield.
What are you working on now?
I'm promoting my new book!
What is your best method or website when it comes to promoting your books?
The book is a part of my business strategy and I have an email list and social media following that I can promote to, and these people are the ideal target audience for the book. Going forward, I will make sure that the book is integrated into my regular email sequences and I will continue to promote it ongoing.
Do you have any advice for new authors?
My advice is to define what success means to you. Do you have to be a New York Times bestseller in order to feel like a writer? Do you have to sell a million copies? Do you want your book to be a step in your marketing funnel for your business? A platform that will give you credibility and help you enter a career of public speaking? Or just a passion project that you simply have to get out of your system? Knowing why you want to write will first of all keep you motivated through the lows but secondly also help you decide on the best topic and the right way to go about the whole process.
What is the best advice you have ever heard?
Write! So many of us talk about wanting to “be a writer”, and yet we don’t do what being a writer essentially requires: writing! Writing every day, putting our work out there, and keeping going, whatever the response (or lack thereof). Don’t worry about getting it wrong – you’re not going to nail the very first post that you write, and you’re unlikely to be a bestseller with your very first book. Write, publish, then write again. That’s the only way that you’ll be a writer – and get better at your craft.
What are you reading now?
I have a gazillion non-fiction books related to careers and business on my Kindle… I'd love to take the time to read more fiction as well, so I will try to do that now that the rush to publish my book is over!
What’s next for you as a writer?
I'm planning my next book (and a new podcast) on the topic of Reimaging Success: questioning the traditional definitions of success that we have inherited from our parents, teacher and society as a whole, going beyond the narrow domain of work and money and incorporating all our personal and professional goals in a holistic way.
What is your favorite book of all time?
Impossible to answer! But if I can cheat I might say all of Jane Austin's books…