Writing On The Other Side of 50: Full Steam Ahead
Should I embrace that message? Soak it up and enjoy every morsel? Or should I toss it aside because who has the energy to figure out life itself? Much less a life-affirming message to me.
Like I've done for past years, I started this one with goals. Nothing new. Writing and losing weight. Same sh*t, different day/year/decade.
Something was different this year, though. I'd had enough. Enough of what, I don't know. My mom had died last year. My kids were officially adults. My romance writing career was in the vapors. My weight was pushing unhealthy limits. And I needed something to happen, something to change before I screamed my head off in frustration.
My mom had a near catastrophic heart attack on the job in her mid-50s. So to me every day after that was a gift. When she died in her 80s, I was sad, but not emotionally rocked because, without the beginning inroads of open heart surgery, she wouldn't have made it this far.
I say on repeat: Every day was a gift. And my mother who wasn't one to talk too much about her personal feelings was a force to be reckoned as she took life by the horns and rode the hell out of it.
Maybe that's where I get my fighting spirit. After the writing career delivered its repeated TKOs, I have always managed to get back up and stay in the ring. But I had to ask myself -- Why? What was so damn special about that ring anyway? I'd a long string of complaints about publishing houses, editors, agents, fellow writers, and on and on who had done their part to rip apart my confidence, motivation, and career.
But at the end of the day, the power over my career had remained with me. I had the power to say NO. I had the power to say, GET OUT OF MY LIFE. I had the power to say, YOU WILL NOT DISRESPECT ME. And over the decades, I gave away that power. I sold out for what I thought would get me where I needed to be.
I'm 50+ years now. And to put it bluntly, I may or may not have many summers to go. I don't have the luxury of a 20 year old stamina and spirit and the optimism of a young adult to think that I've got time on my side to rule the world. Now I've pushed reset. Starting at ground zero. Shifting and reshaping the world around me to fit these shoulders better. And that boxing ring that had the blood, sweat, and tears of over 20 years of writing will see me standing tall again.
I have nothing to prove to anyone. I have nothing to lose. I'm not looking to be social media popular. I'm not looking for fame. Give me the hard cash and I'm cool.
I'm not writing to fit into a writing community's standards. I'm not writing to qualify for recognition or validation from peers. I'm writing for me and those readers who will fall in love with my voice and style. And I've turned my back on traditional publishing (for now). If I ever went back to traditional publishing it's because they came to me because of self-publishing/indie success. Otherwise, it's not worth the aggravation. I'm writing under the fantasy genre and historical fantasy genres. And I'm using a pen name. I will continue to write romances, but honestly, it's not at the top of my priority list.
So stick around. Join me on the ride. I'm looking forward to writing on the other side of 50.