I’m hoping you all will enjoy my musings and perhaps acquire some insight on what it’s like to launch a writing career after an author reaches the half-century mark!
The first word that comes to mind: Perseverance.
Perseverance is the key for achieving one’s personal voyage across the sea of dreams. Like many writers (or perhaps all of them), I’ve been writing in some form or another since I discovered crayons weren’t part of a food group. Newspaper commentaries became my platform when my children were very young, because they came easier to me than sitting down and penning a novel. This is what I call having a small dose of perseverance—the drive was there, but there wasn’t enough gas to fire up the engine. Yet…Not only was my engine dry, I also lacked time. My son was born with congenital heart defects requiring heart surgery, when he was a year old. My children’s father and I floundered financially, and I had to work full time to help keep our home from foreclosure while raising our three children.
When my children’s father and I divorced, I was still working full time, but my children were approaching adulthood, and I had more ‘time’ to persevere. I wrote and published three magazine articles, was a regular contributor to my local newspaper, attended writer’s conferences. I also wrote the first manuscript I ever pitched to an agent. While the premise for the story was good, the writing sucked, and the project was shelved. Two manuscripts later, the message finally clicked as I began absorbing information being shared at workshops. I slowly developed my own writer’s voice. My voice finally emerged, because I persevered.
Fast forward another decade and perseverance became second nature to me. I rewrote that dismal manuscript from scratch, and as the days flew by, I couldn’t even convince myself this manuscript held any more value than it did before, so I wrote two more stories that unfortunately, in their present state, weren’t marketable. I became discouraged and decided it was time I dropped anchor, because my voyage wasn’t progressing the way I wanted it to.
My perseverance found a different direction: The concept of completing a good fiction read and my dreams for publishing it were still floating around, but my writing boat was adrift, as far as fiction was concerned. I wasn’t completely dead in the water, as I won two writing awards for essays I composed regarding topics that moved me passionately, and was told by an agent to stick to nonfiction topics, because my writing was brilliant when I stuck to the truth.
But I still wanted to write fiction, dang it!
This is about the time I discovered another word: Posthumously.
Wanting to publish an enjoyable fiction read was not something I wanted to accomplish this way. (Who would?) Perseverance kicked posthumously’s butt, and developed into: Dang-it-all Drive.
In order to drive, the engine needs fuel. Almost three years ago, I fell in love for the first time in my life, and latched onto an idea I thought might do well within today’s fiction market. I gassed up and persevered until my musings became a book, and that book finally launched September 17, 2012.
Which brings me back to sentiment. My fuel is a loving, supportive husband, coupled with a post-it note from my mother I’d found after she passed. I was cleaning out her desk, (and well, you know)... The post–it says, “Hey, Sue, more later—Keep Writing—You know…” It’s taped to my printer so I can see it every day.
Therein lies: Success, albeit during the second half of my personal century on a moving ship! That, and never drop anchor!