Let’s Talk with Cheryl Hollon

Falling into Writing
By Cheryl Hollon

When I retired early from a career in flight simulation engineering to pursue full-time writing, I knew some big changes were going to take place. Now that it’s been five years ago, I look back and I’m surprised at what was easy and what was challenging.

A gradual transition had been my plan all along. I stepped down from full-time engineering to work at part-time writing and then finally up to full-time writing. That transition took about three years but worked out perfectly for both me and my family.

Then there was a massive wardrobe challenge. Yep, that’s me in my engineering uniform of dark suit with white blouse. Indeed, I could write in my pajamas for the entire day if I wanted, but that didn’t work for me. I found that all I wanted to do was social media and the crossword puzzle. That didn’t get many words on the page.

My new dress code is a pair of trousers, a blouse, a scarf, casual flats and typically a hat. I’ve donated all but two of my business suits to charity. I love the relaxed feel of sweaters, jeans and occasionally dress shorts, but appreciate the lift to my spirit. See, the thing is that when I’m dressed for work, I work. Words now appear on the page like magic.

I also found that I needed a place to work that was isolated from my home life. At first, I accomplished this with a wooden shed in the backyard. But when we moved to an apartment downtown, using a bedroom as an office wasn’t enough. I was always at work and always at home. My word count progress was dismal.

Then I walked by a business that advertised co-working space. What on earth was that? It turns out to be a shared open plan office space with a completely quiet floor. I could work at a professional office only three blocks from home. Perfect! My productivity went through the roof and now my work life is separated from my home life.

Life is good!

What is your most recent life-style transition?

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