At the end of my senior year of high school, we all had to fill out these little questionnaires to be included in the yearbook. And one of the questions was “What will you be doing in 10 years?”
My answer was, “I will be married to (insert ex here) with two boys and working on my second bestselling novel.” Needless to say, by age 28, the ex had gone bye-bye, I had a gorgeous daughter, and my writing was…not there yet.
And as yet another birthday rolls around, I have to stop and look at what I intended versus what I’ve actually accomplished.
I was 31 when I signed with The Agent. I was 32 when I got my first book deal. I’ll be 33 when my first book hits the shelves.
I have many writerly friends (shout out to my Purgies) who are younger than me, and amazingly talented. They are in their early-mid-late twenties, writing novels, honing their craft, querying agents, getting deals. And sometimes, I’m majorly jealous. I think “OMG, I’m 33, I’m so oooooooold!” I wonder, did I waste all those earlier years? Should I have been working harder, writing more? Could I already be an established author NOW, instead of just debuting?
In all honesty, looking at what I was writing during that time period, there was no way I’d have been published. Project 1 (relegated to a farm with a family that loves it) was a product of that era, and re-reading pieces of it now make me want to cringe in shame. The encouraging thing was, the pieces I wrote at the beginning and the pieces I wrote just before relocating it are vastly different in style and quality.
I was getting better. Noticeably better. I found my own style, I learned not to infodump. I discovered the art of crafting characters that were real AND interesting. Every sentence I wrote, though I may never use it again, was useful. The writer I was then taught me how to be the writer I am now.
So maybe I didn’t marry the guy I thought I was going to, and maybe I have one girl instead of two boys. Maybe I didn't have any bestselling novels under my belt by age 28. Anything is possible, and an extra five years tacked onto that really isn’t that much, in the big scheme of things.
Happy Birthday to me.