The reinvention of myself was long in the making. I’d dabbled in writing professionally for several years before technology became the catalyst for a long-lasting writing career. Publications started to accept submissions online. Businesses shifted online and needed written content to attract customers and communicate their message. Voila! A writing career was born.
Many successful people reinvented themselves in a later period in their life. Jeff Bezos worked in Wall Street before he reinvented himself and started Amazon. Sara Blakely sold office supplies before she started Spanx. Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson was a WWE wrestler before he became a successful actor and filmmaker. Arnold Schwarzenegger went from a bodybuilder, to an actor to a Governor. McDonald’s founder Ray Croc was a milkshake-device salesman before starting the McDonalds franchise in his 50’s.
How does one reinvent themselves? What hurdles have to be overcome to take life in a new direction? How do you overcome those challenges? How do you ignore the naysayers? How do you push through the paralyzing fear?
In this series called “Second Chapters; How I Reinvented Myself In The Second Chapter Of My Life “ we are interviewing successful people who reinvented themselves in a second chapter in life, to share their story and help empower others.
As a part of this interview series, I had the pleasure of interviewing Riya Aarini.
Riya Aarini is a writer of children’s fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction. When she is not writing for children, she writes nonfiction articles. Visit her website to learn more about her children’s books: www.riyapresents.com.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we start, our readers would love to “get to know you” a bit better. Can you tell us a bit about your childhood backstory?
As a young reader with a love for the written word, I was in the making to becoming a lifelong writer. Elementary school classes were delightfully filled with readings from books that stirred the imagination, like Roald Dahl’s The Twits and Shel Silverstein’s A Light in the Attic.
As a school kid, spending time in the school library and being surrounded by a wealth of quality children’s fiction was an enriching experience. I got to borrow books that let me into the inner world of fantastical characters and equally riveting places. What more could a literary kid ask for?
Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?
An endless number of quotes offer wisdom. One that really resonates with me at this point in my life is “Life is a journey, not a destination,” by Ralph Waldo Emerson.
It is true! Life is a winding path, with hills and valleys and unexpected twists and turns. If a destination were in sight, life would lose its mystery and charm! The journey is where the magic happens, the excitement unfolds and a seemingly distant dream becomes a present-day reality to be savored.
You have been blessed with much success. In your opinion, what are the top three qualities that you possess that have helped you accomplish so much? If you can, please share a story or example for each.
Perseverance, grit and open-mindedness are important when pursuing any worthwhile endeavor. These three qualities, sometimes in tandem and at other times separately, allowed me to succeed in building an immensely satisfying writing career.
When some doors close, perseverance is needed to look for open doors elsewhere. Some opportunities may not appear until years later, which is why open-mindedness is key to recognizing a chance when it presents itself. Both these qualities become magnified with grit. It takes courage to pursue one’s goals.
Let’s now shift to the main part of our discussion about ‘Second Chapters’. Can you tell our readers about your career experience before your Second Chapter?
I often allude to the winding path, and my early career experience was really like a winding road. I was lost on a road littered with obstacles and detours before finally finding a clear path.
Early in my career, writing opportunities were hardly ubiquitous, like they are now. So, I took jobs unrelated to writing, but within those jobs, I always looked for any chances to write. It wasn’t until much later that doors opened, and I was able to focus on writing and start to flourish professionally.
And how did you “reinvent yourself” in your Second Chapter?
The reinvention of myself was long in the making. I’d dabbled in writing professionally for several years before technology became the catalyst for a long-lasting writing career.
Publications started to accept submissions online. Businesses shifted online and needed written content to attract customers and communicate their message. Voila! A writing career was born.
Can you tell us about the specific trigger that made you decide that you were going to “take the plunge” and make your huge transition?
Without the chance to contribute creatively as much as I would have liked in the early days, feeling stifled was getting too familiar. I realized I needed to go in the direction I really wanted. I was in a good place in my life where such a transition was possible. So, I leapt and never looked back.
What did you do to discover that you had a new skillset inside of you that you haven’t been maximizing? How did you find that and how did you ultimately overcome the barriers to help manifest those powers?
Simply continuing to write pushed me to realize that I have a valuable skillset that is worth pursuing. Technology brought down the initial barriers to a successful writing career. No longer did submissions have to be sent via snail mail. Email replaced letters that took eons to arrive at their destination. Digital advancements became a boon for both the aspiring and established writer.
How are things going with this new initiative? We would love to hear some specific examples or stories.
I’m excited to be working on releasing my children’s collection of light verse, Collector of Things & Other Poems. I also have plans to release my holiday picture book, Cole and the Giant Gingerbread House. I am so grateful to be able to do what I do and put my work out into the world.
Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
I am grateful to the plethora of renowned children’s authors who came before me. Through their work, they showed me what was and is creatively possible in the amazing world of children’s fiction. These authors, who continue to live through their work, inspire me to this day.
Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started in this new direction?
After a long drought, the first rains are welcomed. Just the same, after years of struggling to succeed professionally as a writer, I finally stumbled on the opportunities to do so. The most interesting aspect of my journey as a writer is experiencing fulfillment — it’s a great feeling.
Did you ever struggle with believing in yourself? If so, how did you overcome that limiting belief about yourself? Can you share a story or example?
An inner drive is what compels someone to achieve anything noteworthy. When doors continually close, it’s even more important to believe in yourself.
As a writer, success is not guaranteed — in anything, success is not guaranteed. So, I continue onward, doing my best and enjoying the process. As long as I enjoy what I do, fulfillment is within reach.
Losing belief in yourself is shortchanging yourself. There’s really no sense in not believing in yourself. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?
In my own work I usually encourage my clients to ask for support before they embark on something new. How did you create your support system before you moved to your new chapter?
In the world of writing children’s fiction, support is everywhere, from editors to organizations, like the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI). Libraries are a great support for me, as I am surrounded by shelves of endless inspiration.
Starting a new chapter usually means getting out of your comfort zone, how did you do that? Can you share a story or example of that?
It was a matter of doing, erring, learning and correcting that helped me expand beyond the boundaries of my comfort zone. As with any endeavor, you get better as you go along. I have to say I’ve become a better writer over the years.
Fantastic. Here is the main question of our interview. What are your “5 things I wish someone told me before I started leading my organization” and why? Please share a story or example for each.
- Be authentic. By being true to yourself, no matter what you do, you will never fail.
- Create your own definition of success. The concept of success is subjective and differs for each individual. Don’t get caught up in what is considered to be the “standard” notion of success! Just finishing a book is a noteworthy milestone to be celebrated, for some. For others, success is hitting a bestseller status. Base your idea of success on your own terms.
- Use the struggle as a motivator. A tremendous number of useful things can be learned in present situations and applied toward a true calling.
- Stay up to date on technology! Practical as it is, technology is changing the world at a rapid pace, and it is important to keep up!
- Believe in yourself, your skillset and the idea that all good things will turn out as they should.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
Be kind. These are two simple words that anyone can utter; but when put into practice, they are undeniably transformative, not only on a personal level but a societal one.
We are very blessed that some very prominent names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private breakfast or lunch with, and why? He or she might just see this if we tag them. 🙂
Charlie Mackesy, author of The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse. It takes an artist of incredible depth and humanity to write a profoundly moving body of work like this. His gift for expressing friendship, hope and trust in the world is much appreciated by countless people who have read his work, heard him speak and been rewarded by his insights.
How can our readers further follow your work online?
Visit my website www.riyapresents.com
Thank you so much for sharing these important insights. We wish you continued success and good health!