***Encouragement for Any of You Who Still Don’t Know ‘Who You Are’…Or ‘What You Should Be Doing (in Life.)’
You know the fairytale…How the hare leapt to the fore immediately but petered out (Peter Rabbit?), while the turtle took slow, deliberate steps, conserved his energy and made it all the way to the end. What’s the message? Slow and steady wins the day. Sprinters don’t last on races that are long-haul events (that’s why they have different categories in track and field events.)
Life is generally a LONG-HAUL event.
I like to consider myself “Slow and Steady.” I’m ever chipping away at the goal…One day at a time…As long as I am going in some sort of upward trajectory, even if some of it appears to be my mere treading of water. That treading’s OK, too, for it’s at those times I might be conserving energy for the final push…or then again, I might be mulling my future course of action, considering the options.
This takes brain power, as well as mobility, all necessary in the final equation.
I’m 67 years of age, and sometimes, it feels like I’ve lived multiple lifetimes. I was a teacher in 4 different buildings, over a 30 year career, necessitating all sorts of adjustments, since with each new building assignment, I was at the bottom of the pecking order (that’s why teachers don’t generally put in for building reassignment.)
In those days, I couldn’t write as I wanted to….
Following that career, I went on to a second career as realtor where I made a whopping 6-figure salary (Woah, that never happened in teaching, where I left at $43,000, after 3 decades.) Nope, in my 4th. year, I sold 21 houses and netted an income equal to 4 years at my former career. It was a heady experience….
But I still wasn’t doing what I dreamed of doing….
I walked away….to fulfill a goal of becoming a writer. Oh, I’d made furtive moves throughout my life: I wrote church news (my stuff ended up on the Religious pages, guaranteed to NOT GET the writer much attention.)
Next, my work appeared in the regular news in local town’s newspapers (those newspapers DO get read, by families who wish to see if their kids’ names are published.)
When I sent my stuff to our state newspaper (a Pulitzer-Prize-winner, I might add), that’s when I hit the BIG TIME.
With that encouragement, I shipped pieces off to CNN and NY Times-acclaimed medical blog doctor, kevinMD.com. Ironically, THAT propelled my material into the Wall Street Journal (Health section.)
On the heels of that, I decided “Why not write a book?” Since my first book venture was a child’s picture book, I hired an illustrator and published the product through Createspace, a subsidiary of Amazon’s.
I put out Book 2 a few months later. Grandpa and the Truck, Books 1 and 2 are the beginning of a series.
But, writers, today, can’t just write.
I next delved into the Marketing Maze. I had to bring attention to my product–since I’m not Julie Andrews writing a children’s book (and do you really believe she’s the writer?) With that, I contacted outlets and next I knew, our Grandpa and the Truck books were hailed by the biggest international truckers’ group OOIDA as “Cool Gifts for Kids.”
Following that, Women in Trucking recognized us, too (we feature women truckers, as heroines in one of two stories in Book 2).
Now, I’m on the verge of publishing an adult book (no, not that kind!).…Tho’ with the success of 50 Shades of Grey, I should probably attempt that. But who am I kidding? My adventures would never qualify as “steamy enough.”
All through my life I’ve been working towards this. When I couldn’t actually write (due to career and parenting demands,) I was still in Writer Mode, for I tucked away all my experiences in neat little mental boxes to be taken out when I could.
Now, I’m writing…..
Yep, I’m definitely like the turtle. I’m not going to “Win Fast,” but I’m going to make it for the Long Haul (whatever I deem that goal to be.) Yes, I’m finally doing what I always wanted to do..It’s scarey…Sometimes I have NO IDEA where I’m going, but I’m doing it…I won’t be sitting somewhere down the line, saying “Oh, I would’ve been a writer, if only I …(blah…blah…blah.)
Now, my question: “What’s your dream?” “Are you working towards it (no matter your age)?” “And if not….why not?” P.S. I offer the above as a blueprint of “How to Become a Writer, in Today’s World,” because many of you have asked. My advice to young people doing this: “Don’t quit your day job,” since getting into writing, in a paid capacity, is really difficult. Just like going to college, today, you must choose a narrow area of concentration, today, where you’ll get a job, such as in “medical writing” or technical writing.”
As I said, I could only do my Dream Job, full-time, after my career and parenting were done. But the important thing is I’m doing it, so “Good Luck!” and “Keep plugging away at it.” Even JK Rowling nd Stephen King were rejected time and again, so if you make it, you’re in excellent company.
***Speaking of rejections, read this compelling example of just how whimsical the book-publishing world is, which is a reminder to write for yourself, first and foremost, with no idea you might ever become famous or well-known in those ranks.