Wind Crest's Royalene Doyle takes a sabbatical, shifting from one passion to another
This year, author and writing coach Royalene Doyle is trading one facet of her career for another. She's cutting back on helping others with their manuscripts and memoirs so she can concentrate on her own—a novel that's been in the works since 2009. So while she's shifting gears, she's not slowing down.
Doyle is part of a national demographic employment trend. Employment rates for older adults are the highest they've been in 55 years. Almost 19 percent of people 65 or older were working at least part-time in the second quarter of 2017, according to the U.S. jobs report (June 2017). What's more, a rapidly growing number of Americans are continuing to work beyond their 65th birthday according to PEW Research Center.
"Over the past several years, I have pulled together bits and pieces to accomplish writing my manuscript. This is the year to do the research and complete it," says Doyle, who owns Doyle Writing Services, a writing-coach business based from her apartment home at Wind Crest, in Highlands Ranch, Colo.
Living at Wind Crest since 2009 has given her ample opportunities to assist others with their publishing projects.
Her client list includes neighbors like photographer and poet Bill Carlson (Impressions of Nature in Black and White, 2016, and From Delicate Lily Pads to Sculptured Peaks, 2014), Lorry Lutz (The Soweto Legacy, 2012), and Miriam Wilson (Memories of the T.A.O. Humor Center: Totally Awesome and Outrageous).
"Getting to know people from birth to the present time is an amazing gift. Getting a peak into the world they live in and at different seasons of their life, that's just broadened my perspective of the world a thousand fold. It's very special," she says.
For her own part, Doyle has self published two books—Deployed: A Christmas Story, 2004, and Fireproof Proverbs: A Writer's Study of Words, 2015.
"It's just been a world of writing. It's been my biggest passion aside from my family," she says.
"Our residents are role models in the way they choose to pursue their passion and live
active lifestyles," says Executive Director Craig Erickson. "Royalene is such a great example. Her passion is evident in everything she does, whether she's ghost-writing someone else's book or working on her own."
Her new novel will be based on her first book, Deployed, which will become the preface, introducing the main character.
"This book will have a faith base to it," says Doyle, who describes writing as a "spiritual activity."
As she shifts gears to her own, personal project, she contemplates the idea of retirement and what it means for her writing career.
First, she says, working while living at Wind Crest has been a perfect fit. "It's been marvelous. Working gives you a lot of conversation pieces when you're sitting at a table with somebody new, and even if we're visiting with old friends, we're always asking what projects everyone is working on. It's a nice conversation starter," she says.
Doyle says the one of the best things about life at Wind Crest has been freedom from household maintenance.
"If my husband and I were not living here, I would not have the freedom to do what I am doing. I'd still be cooking and cleaning and not have the time to creatively assist other writers or work on my own manuscript," she says.
While Doyle doesn't work for financial support, she does charge a nominal fee for her writing services.
"I get great joy in helping clients. Hearing comments that [their story] would never have seen the light of day without my help—that's way more benefit to me than the money," she says.
Living a financially stable, maintenance-free life surrounded by loving friends makes taking a sabbatical that much easier. Doyle knows she'll have time and energy to focus on writing, but she'll never feel isolated or out of touch. And when she finishes, she expects to jump right back into her writers' groups and coaching business.
"We have too many people whose voices are lost or who don't think their voice is important or valuable," she says. "My passion is to help people find their voice—what they want to say—and help authors get published who would not be published without my assistance."
Now, it's her turn.
About Wind Crest: Wind Crest, one of 19 continuing care retirement communities managed by Erickson Living®, is situated on a scenic 84-acre campus in Highlands Ranch, Colorado. The community is located in Douglas County and is home to more than 1,300 residents. Additional information about Wind Crest can be found at WindCrestRetirement.com.
Photo by Julia Collins
Writing coach Royalene Doyle shifts gears this year to work on her own manuscript, based on her first book, Deployed.