I never thought I would be an author; that possibility never crossed my mind. I went through my life, changing careers as circumstances demanded. High school teacher, stay-at-home mother of four, food service, travel agent, teacher again. The kids grew. The end of college bills were in sight. Now was my chance!
I could do whatever I wanted to do with my next career. But I had no idea what that would be.
I didn't know I wanted to be a writer. I started on a whim, inspired by Diana Gabaldon's statement that "the best way to learn to write a book is to write a book." That sounded like a challenge. A fun one.
So I bought a laptop and began writing my first manuscript on August 1, 2006. And that's when my life took a hard right turn.
The words flooded out like I had turned on a faucet. The characters emerged, three-dimensional and suitably flawed. The plot had twists. And the story turned out to be a trilogy, following the same couple for three years.
Over the next four years, I learned how to write "right" for today's market. I rewrote the rewriting. Again. I won over an agent. Eventually I self-published, and after that a publisher offered a multi-book contract for one of my ongoing characters. Five books, so far.
Along the way, I began to see how my previous experiences could help me in my new career: art background for graphic design, event planning from running proms -- plus countless other Student Council events, using my speaking and teaching skills to help others do what I have learned to do.
Everyday I celebrate that very fact: I am using all the various skills I have acquired over my lifetime in this, what is possibly my culminating career.
I don't know if I will ever do anything else, and I say that for two reasons. First, I was already 53 when I started, and I will turn 60 in September. Secondly, I am having more dang fun than should be legal! Don't get me wrong, I'm working my fanny off about 60 hours a week. But I can't see a reason to ever quit writing and publishing.
No one ever told me as I grew up, that who you are today will be different than who you are tomorrow. Each day our experiences mold us. I don't think we ever finish that process. Our future is always new uncharted territory. We can always try a new path.
Now THAT'S a reason to celebrate!