The last few months have been a whirlwind. Even though I’ve been writing fiction all my life and dreaming of maybe, just maybe, someday after I’d finished raising kids and come to the end of my teaching career, I might try to get a novel published. Well, when it happened, I was, needless to say, overjoyed and in a bit of a fog of disbelief (still am). But now I find myself in my own brave new world. I had no clue what would happen after my agent sold my book to a publisher. All I know is that people are busy up there in NYC working on my book.
To say that I am grateful to them (and my agent) beyond measure would be an understatement. I’ve lived a life of family, work, friends, and my writing bubble. To think that other people care about my book and are working to bring it to life still amazes me.
There have been challenges, like getting myself out there on social media. Before becoming an author, I had a personal Facebook page. My sister in California finally convincing me that it would be the best way to see pictures of my nieces. And that’s true. I’ve enjoyed the family snaps (friends too.) But I rarely posted anything, always dithering about do people really want to see my knock-out roses or pictures of my birthday dinner?
But now that I have a book coming out, I can’t hide, and I’m doing my best to post on my author FB page, Instagram and Twitter. But, in all honesty, I have no clue what I’m doing or how those platforms really work. So, let me say here to anyone I might have ignored, slighted, or downright insulted on social media, I am so sorry. It wasn’t intentional. I just don’t know what the hell I’m doing. (But I promise to work at it.)
Social media aside, this phase in the journey to becoming an author is wonderful, if busy. We’re lining up events for after the launch where I can meet people and talk to them in person, which I love! As a former English teacher, there’s nothing I like better than talking to people about books.
And this brings me back to the journey, for it is a long and amazing journey even, I suspect, for those “overnight sensations” we’ve all heard about. (But I really doubt too many of them actually exist.)
For anyone who is writing with hopes of seeing their work in print, it is never too late.
I’ve been writing stories for more than fifty years. I’ve got boxes in my office, in my attic, and in my basement of short stories, poems and novels, some finished, some in various stages of completion. My debut novel is being published in December 2022, and I’m eligible for a senior citizen discount most places.
My point is, if you’re a writer, there is no time limit like there is for some things in this life. I’d love to compete in figure skating in the Olympics, but that ship sailed decades ago, not to mention I can’t ice skate. But for writers, we can keep at our craft until our fingers collapse on our keyboards.
If you want to be inspired, not just as a writer, but as a human being, check out Jim Valvano’s speech at the 1993 ESPY awards. (I’m a sports fan. Jim Valvano coached the NC State men’s basketball team from 1980 to1990.) Beloved by many in the college basketball world, he became beloved by everyone else in his biggest battle, cancer. Coach Valvano lost that fight, but his words of inspiration live on in his iconic speech, and the motto that came from it:
“Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up.”
If a dying man can say that about something as formidable as cancer, we writers have nothing to fear from a rejection letter or two or a hundred. Keep writing. Keep dreaming. It’s never too late.