My current career path took off with a phone call.
It was 2004, after I taught a food writing workshop at Book Passage in Corte Madera, CA. A student called to say she met my workshop supervisor at a party and had a conversation that went like this:
“I really enjoyed Dianne’s class on food writing,”she told my supervisor.
“Dianne does a great job,” answered the supervisor. “I wish she had a book, though, to improve her credibility.”
I can’t remember the name of this student, but I thank her often. That phone call changed my career. I got right on that suggestion and cranked out the book in under six months. The first edition of Will Write for Food debuted less than a year later. That was 10 years ago and the third edition of Will Write for Food came out this year. Since that workshop I’ve taught dozens of food writing classes — some around the world — spoken at conferences, and co-authored a few cookbooks.
Did I know, when the student called me, that my writing career would turn out this way?
When I told a client this story recently, I wondered if she could be strategic about her career where I was not. I asked where she wanted to be in five years, and if she could figure out a book to write that would launch her towards her goal.
So often people blunder through their work lives, grabbing whatever interests them or becomes available. But what if you envisioned exactly what work you’d like to do? What would that look like?
Maybe you’re right where you want to be. If not, if you imagine your ideal work life in five years, maybe you’ll be surprised. A new interest or goal might bubble to the surface.
For me, in five years, I will probably write a fourth edition of Will Write for Food. I’m already thinking about the new chapter. I’d like to continue traveling the world, teaching and speaking. I’d like to have an online class. I can envision those goals clearly, and I’m working on them.
I’d also like to do more personal writing, and that requires planning. I tend to leave writing until last, when I’ve done my other work. So I’m putting a writing group in place to push me to write more.
What about you? Do you want to share your career plan? If not, I’d like to know: Did you make a plan to become a food writer? Or are you the type to try things to and see where they go? Do you think people are either planners or they jump in, when it comes to a career? Let’s discuss.
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(I adapted this post from my quarterly newsletter on food writing, which includes lots of valuable links about cookbook writing, social media prowess, food blogs, and writing. To sign up, go here. Photo courtesy of FreeDigitalPhotos.net)