Writing the Career You Love
Writing the Career You Love
By Dr. Laura Hambley Lovett with Suzy Vadori
February 14, 2021
On the February 14th episode of my podcast, Where Work Meets Life™ with Dr. Laura, I had the pleasure of interviewing Suzy Vadori. Given that this episode launched on Valentine’s day, I felt it was important to focus on loving your career. This blog shares the two main topics covered in this episode.
First, hearing from someone who has made a major career pivot to follow their passions can help inspire others who are considering their next steps. We are each the authors of our own careers, and we can create our chosen futures. Second, for those of you who have thought about writing, or perhaps started to write, but haven’t been able to get your book or story completed, this episode is full of inspiration!
“WE ARE EACH THE AUTHORS OF OUR OWN CAREERS, AND WE CAN CREATE OUR CHOSEN FUTURES”
I met Suzy Vadori a few years ago as we were both authors based in Calgary, and I admired her passion as a young adult fantasy writer. I hadn’t read much young adult fiction since Harry Potter, but thoroughly enjoyed the clever and magical world Suzy created in her Fountain trilogy. When I met Suzy, she had a full-time, executive position in the business world. She squeezed in time for writing in the evenings and weekends, around her family commitments. She reminded me of myself when I wrote my sequel, Finding Sophie.
Suzy knew she wanted to pivot to a full-time career around writing, and despite the uncertainty of making this leap of faith, she made it happen nearly three years ago. Through the career counselling practices that I founded, Canada Career Counselling and Calgary Career Counselling, I have seen so many people make amazing pivots over the past 12 years, including my friend Suzy Vadori. What follows below are some nuggets of wisdom from this episode.
What does your current career as an author, speaker, and writing coach involve?
To build a career as a writer, people often need to supplement their writing by doing related work. Suzy is an editor as well as an author – she helps writers as they work on their book drafts, or she steps in after they are written. Suzy is a “book coach” as well, which she describes as “having a personal trainer for your writing life.” She offers her clients both project planning and emotional support, either one-on-one or through group training. Further, she works with both fiction and non-fiction writers from anywhere since everything is done remotely. I wish I had known Suzy when I wrote my first novel, Losing Cadence, as it took 8 years to complete due to stops and starts.
Tell us how you made your pivot from your successful business career to taking the leap into your full-time writing career.
Suzy started writing on her 3rd maternity leave, and it took her 2.5 years to write The Fountain and 2 more years to find a publisher. After her second book, The West Woods, she was asked to speak and teach often, and she loved it. Suzy was then faced with the challenge of balancing her full-time, corporate career (involving global business trips), and fitting in time to write and pursue related work that she enjoyed. She was able to pivot her corporate career to smaller contracts, allowing her to work part-time and eventually build up her writing career into full-time work.
Many people dream of writing a book, but never find the time. How did you manage to write the Fountain while raising a family and working? What’s your advice to other busy people to fit in writing?
Suzy felt lucky that when her children were young, they napped, so she was disciplined during this time and made sure to write. She also has an incredibly supportive husband who would take the kids out on the weekends to give her chunks of focused time to write. She would get out of the house and write in coffee shops, pubs, restaurants, and so on, and she felt very supported by her community (there were too many distractions at home to write from there).
Suzy recommends that you pay attention to why you’re writing a book. What are your goals for doing so? Schedule your time, and notice your own habits. Figure out what works for YOU and don’t burn yourself out – space out your work and be conscious about your timing so that it’s an enjoyable process.
Suzy also recommends joining local writing comminutes. Writers tend to be supportive of each other, so it can be helpful to be part of these. Now that everything’s online, there is access to so many more communities globally. There are a lot of online conferences as well that are free or low-cost. Google your book genre and see what’s out there!
“PAY ATTENTION TO WHY YOU’RE WRITING A BOOK. WHAT ARE YOUR GOALS FOR DOING SO?”
What advice do you have for others who are deciding whether to pivot their career in order to follow their passion?
If you’re really passionate about something, but hesitant to leave your “real job,” just test it out. Try one project and test the waters. Also, create the job that you want, and play to your own strengths. Emulate people that you admire, but recognize your own skills and don’t compare yourself to others! You are your own unique person with your own why. You can build your own path to achieve a career that you love.
Suzy is currently a Book Coach, Editor, Public Speaker and bestselling Author of The Fountain Series (The Fountain, The West Woods, Wall of Wishes). This fantastical Young Adult Series has received two Aurora Nominations for Best Young Adult Novel, as well as Five Stars and a bronze medallion from Readers’ Favorite Book Awards. She is an Author Accelerator Advanced Certified Book Coach, helping writers get the books exploding in their minds onto the page in the best way possible.
Suzy lives in Calgary, Canada with her husband and three children and is an involved member in the writing community. She is a Program Manager for Calgary’s When Words Collide (WWC), teaches writing at Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society, and is a touring member of the Young Alberta Book Society.