Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Ranks of Senior Writers Are Ballooning

I'm happy to introduce our guest blogger Russ Miller

The ranks of over 50 writers will balloon as the baby boomers and former rock 'n' rollers trundle off to the mystical land of AARP. With the current economy as it is, many will confront the dubious pleasures of retirement before they had planned. Some will eventually turn their attention to things they never had time to do in their former workday world, such as travel. The world will be filled by graying heads wearing white Nike gym shoes, traveling in groups to far-off places they previously had only read about, while eating food they would have meticulously avoided at home.

Others will fill their days with various forms of volunteer work, devoting their much needed and considerable talents to worthwhile endeavors. Doing good has traditionally provided an appealing approach to an active life style for many retirees.

Still others will turn their talents to writing. Many will be poorly prepared for such a venture. Only a few will have the advantage of a classical education that produces journalists and educators who are adept at working magic through words. The others will eventually discover that many of the technical problems associated with writing can be solved through participation in widely available writing and grammar courses that welcome the over 50 set. What these seniors may lack in technique can be compensated for by the wealth of experience they bring to the game. Let me site the best example I know. Me.

I had the good fortune to spend the last 20 years of my working career as head of international marketing for a consumer electronics firm. This provided ample opportunity for travel--to over 100 countries before I was through--forming the foundation for my first book "Selling to Newly Emerging Markets." After retiring, I served as an advisor for The World Bank, and the United Nations on developing the private sector in the newly independent states of Eastern Europe and Central Asia. This was the basis for my second nonfiction book "Doing Business in Newly Privatized Markets."

I also volunteered my services to the IESC (more commonly referred to as the senior citizens's Peace Corps) and was assigned to a city in Ukraine previously isolated by the Russians because of their concealed ICBMs in the surrounding Carpathian Mountains. I was the first person from the outside any of them had ever met. The nonfiction narrative derived from this experience was "Journey to a Closed City."

My first attempt at fiction, "The Spy with a Clean Face" was set in Ukraine during the recent political turmoil colorfully referred to as the "Orange Revolution." The spy novel won the Silver Quill Award from the American Authors Association.

 A few months ago my second spy novel "Death on the Silk Road" was released by Beach House Books shortly after I turned 83. Somewhat coincidentally, the central character is a retired international guy on a consulting assignment for a European NGO at a mining project in the remote Tien Shan Mountain area of Kazakhstan. Oddly enough, that is what I did for the Vienna-based UNIDO and where I did it. Funny how things tend to work that way.

Admittedly, I am fortunate to have acquired a number of convertible experiences in my life but so might have a doctor, lawyer, or a Indian chief. If those backgrounds don't work for you how about aTinker,Tailor, Soldier, Spy ?
"Death on the Silk Road," like all my other books is available

Russell R. Miller


Diana said...

Great post. I remember cringing when AARP began courting me! Now I devour their magazine and celebrate my status.
Thank yoj for sharing a bit of your personal journey to publication.

vinnie said...

I never thought I would bre AARP. But hey. I am also one of those retired who has turned to writing. It certainly is a difficult task made harder by the task of marketing. Still at my age I feel its now or never!

B. J. Robinson said...

I'm an educator and writer and can identify. Great post. BJ

Anonymous said...

Thanks for your comment. It is not easy but worthwhile. Russ Miller