The Next 40 Years

So I’ve been away a while. I haven’t really been away from much, to be truthful, but I haven’t been blogging. Part of that was that some things needed to get worked out. Both internally and externally.

I turned 40 this week. In recent years I set a goal to have a book published before I was 40. I kind of hit that goal. I published a collection of short stories myself. And I secured a contract with a publisher for a YA romance novella before that milestone as well. I also have a contract still in negotiation for a series of NA contemporary romance with a publisher…  So close to my goal. And depending on how you want to look at it, I succeeded.

I’ve spent my first 40 years in a succession of professions. I’m impulsive, no doubt. As a result I’ve had a wide variety of careers, though I can justify each of them because they all made perfect sense at the time. I’ve been a copywriter, a marketing director for 2 technology companies, a PR writer, a wine salesperson, a pharmaceutical rep, a personal trainer, a travel writer, a freelance writer and editor, and a tech writer for a government contractor. I also have a teaching credential. There might be one or two jobs that I’m forgetting. I was a terrible waitress, so that didn’t last long… and I’ve always wanted to tend bar, but have never managed to do it. And so when I told my husband, when I was 38, that I was going to write a novel, I’m sure he didn’t take me too seriously. He did, however, support me, pointing out that writing was the one thing that all my past efforts have seemed to have in common. He was kind enough not to point out that this might be the worst possible time for me to embark on such an endeavor, as I work 20 hours a week at the aforementioned government contracting job, take freelance editing and writing gigs on the side, and also manage the lives of two small and quite untidy boys who insist that I’m their mother (though I have blocked out most of whatever led up to this claim). I ignored this and persevered. Since that time, I’ve written two full-length novels, two novellas, and have a middle grade MS that is halfway done, three others in the NA novella series blocked out, and a literary novel one-third done (and forever haunting my dreams). Oh, and I did publish a collection of short stories. So there’s been some significant progress.

And my point here is not to say, “hey, look what I’ve done.” It’s more to say, “Hey, look what’s possible when you finally get your act together!” I figure I’ve got 40 more years to work on this, assuming that no buses come my way with my name on them. My dad is 83 and still plays tennis most days and walks 4 miles on the other days. My genes are pretty solid. It might not be pretty, but I probably have some years ahead. (knocking on wood). And I intend to spend those years DOING this.

I’ve been hung up trying to agree with my publisher on the direction of my NA series. And I think we’ve agreed on the big stuff. Which will mean a big rewrite for me. But now that we’re there, I feel like I can finally move ahead again, pick up the pen (okay, keyboard — I can’t even read my own writing) and get going.

Have you ever been stuck for a period of weeks or months? I’m not really talking about writers’ block here… more a soul-sucking kind of dilemma that makes you feel like you just can’t do it for one reason or another? I felt like I could write nothing more until some big questions got answered on some things that were really important to me… I’d love to hear from you if you’ve been in a similar spot!

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4 thoughts on “The Next 40 Years

  1. Oh I know that spot all too well, for me it happened around the time I turned 30. I had a lot of things happening at the time and I couldn’t focus adequately on writing, I didn’t even have the urge which felt too odd for me. Normally when I’m under a great deal of stress I write and write and write, but during this particular time I couldn’t muster two words together let alone scenes.

    It wasn’t easy going through that and I’ve had a few relapses so to speak over the more recent years, but they only last a day or two as opposed to months. Ultimately I think that when our heads are not in the right place for whatever reason, the goal to write is pushed to the side until we can figure out what is going on.

    At least that is my take on it.

    Oh, and Happy Birthday! My husband recently turned 40 as well.

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