Path? What path?

Three years ago, I quit my job with the aim of landing work as a print production manager in a creative firm again.

There was just one problem: My liberation, the decline of the print industry and the country’s near-Depression were about to collide.

Design firms laid off staff and eliminated print manager positions. My job hunt became disheartening and seemingly endless, interrupted only by welcome independent projects and contract work.

As my many unemployed friends underwent vocational re-training for replacement careers, I wondered if I’d ever have an “ah ha” that would reveal a new path for me, too.

First one toe, then the whole darn foot

Then my favorite writing teacher encouraged me to start a blog, saying that if I wrote about things I knew well, my writing would continue to improve. He even offered a name for the blog: Printing Disasters!

Right around that same time, the  coach I was working with advised that every 21st century worker needed to establish an “online brand.” Clearly it was time to dip my toes into the web world.

I created my blog, Printing Disasters—and How to Avoid Them. To my delight, people enjoyed what I wrote. I joined Facebook and LinkedIn. I tweeted on Twitter as @NaniPrints and got to know interesting, creative folks. Some even hired me to do projects for them!

Gradually I evolved from an inadvertent entrepreneur to a deliberate one and morphed my blog into a website that promoted both my print management and writing services. I also looked into HTML, SEO and content strategy.

So was writing my ah ha? I didn’t think so. It was too easy and natural to feel like a thing. It was something I’d always done, I was just doing it more often. I did feel a shift coming, though. Inspired by an article by life coach Martha Beck, I wrote about the shift in my story, Thoughts on Reinvention.

Beck says that things are changing too fast for that tired old “staying on track” metaphor; tracks and paths are being replaced by an ocean of fast-changing developments. She was talking about technological change, but I think her metaphor is equally apt for vocational change today.

“Perseverance furthers.”..
—The I Ching

Life as a solo creative or “virtual team” member proved to be lonesome and too unpredictable for me, so I persevered in searching for a position with a creative tribe where I could continue to evolve from print manager to writer.

My perseverance has paid off: I’ve been invited to join an in-house marketing and communications group as their corporate storyteller!

This new role will include doing what I do here on my blog: delve into an interesting specialty, and then write about it in approachable, everyday language.

I’ll also be contributing production planning and content strategy to the company’s major website overhaul project. And yes, I’ll be a member of a small, spirited creative tribe.

Wish me well and stay in touch. I’ll be busily navigating through a different part of the waters, doing my best to stay nimble and buoyant. You can find me on Twitter as @NaniWrites!