How Bureaucracy is Giving Me Perspective

I’ve worked in local government for my entire professional life. I went straight from college into public service boot camp, also known as the water customer service department. Luckily, I only endured eight months of boot camp before landing a job in stormwater management which lead to my current position as Environmental Coordinator for Lexington County, SC.

Working in public service has its pros and cons. No need to lament on the cons, but I will say that thus far the pros have outweighed the cons. One thing my eight—yikes—years working in local government has taught me, is that success doesn’t happen overnight. In fact, when it comes to working in government it can take years just to see an idea begin to take shape.

I could provide examples of 18 months spent on ordinance revisions, three years on a restoration project, or five years to finally have a regional plan before council, but there’s no need for all that.

Does red tape suck? Yes. Will it go away? Sure, when republicans and democrats start having pajama parties and making friendship bracelets.

So even though it can be frustrating to wait years before you see a project come to fruition, it’s given me some perspective as I tackle a writing career. My long term goal is to sell a lot of books and write full time, but I don’t expect that to happen any time soon. If I’m lucky it’ll happen in the next five to ten years. More than likely, I’ll do well enough to take my family on some nice vacations.

I’ve set short term goals to try and make it to full time writer. I plan to write—and it would be nice to publish—at least two books a year. I plan to stick with e-publishers, but promote my book as if I’m self published. After researching the pros and cons of traditional publishing, I realized that writers with large publishers don’t always get a lot of publicity. I’ve seen other traditionally published writers work with outside publicity companies, pay for their own advertising, and solicit reviews on their own.

Will my long term goal change? No. Will short term goals change? Probably.

I may have to self publish instead of go with an e-publisher. I may go for a traditional publishing contract. I may win a million dollars and hire a firm to create a catchy radio jingle to promote my book. Who knows? Working in government has taught me that priorities can change quickly. You’re on one path, a new council is voted in and your priorities change. I don’t have that issue in my writing career, but I have the ability to adapt to whatever changes are needed to achieve my ultimate goal: full time writer.

So, thank you public service for preventing at least one freak out moment in my writing career. My husband also thanks you since he will not have to talk me off the ledge because I’m not a millionaire after one book.


Synithia Williams has loved romance novels since reading her first one at the age of 13. It was only natural that she would begin penning her own romances soon after. It wasn’t until 2010 that she began to actively pursue her publishing dreams. Her first novel, You Can’t Plan Love, is available now from Crimson Romance. When she isn’t writing, this Green Queen, as dubbed by the State Newspaper, works to improve air and water quality, while balancing the needs of her husband and two sons. You can learn more about Synithia, and her novel, by visiting her website,, where she blogs about writing, life and relationships.





  1. What a fresh perspective on your career! As writers, we all know there’s no such thing as an overnight success. We keep setting short term goals, meeting them, and moving forward. It sounds like your public service job has laid some nice groundwork for you.

    • It has! Things happen so slow in government that I’ve learned to take things one day at a time. It doesn’t mean I don’t have the occasional freak out moment.

  2. You got it right, Synithia. My years of working in and around state government were great training for being a writer. The only thing better was being an outside consultant. That gave me tons of experience with rejection!

    • Man, now I feel bad for the way we put our consultants through the ringer.

  3. You’re on one path, a new council is voted in and your priorities change. I don’t have that issue in my writing career, but I have the ability to adapt to whatever changes are needed to achieve my ultimate goal: full time writer.

    Thank you for helping me put mine in perspective.

  4. Good perspective, Synithia. I learned early on that to succeed in this business of writing, we have to be persistent. Just the fact that you’ve made it this far, shows you’re not a quitter. You persist, plan, learn, change plans until you get the job done!

  5. I worked at a social service agency. Government moves slowly. And we’re making baby steps toward our goals. Stay away from the ledge.

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