One of the difficult parts of becoming a writer at a later age is the sound of the ticking clock when you finally decide, on your 39th birthday, that you ought to do that “writing thing” if you are ever going to do it.
Six and a half years later having written two complete novels (8 drafts each) and having submitted forty or so short stories and still not having won any contests or had anything published, you can start to question your sanity (yes I know … too late for that).
However, I am bouyed by two things — 1) My family loves my work (Don’t be turned off by this prospective agents … my point is that if the only thing that ever happens is sharing stories with my family then it would be worth it. I’m not saying that’s how I think I write well) and 2) If we are to believe Malcom Gladwell, it takes 10 years or 10000 hours to become a real expert at something.
Still, after a while you wonder when things are going to give at least a bit.
Last week was my first contest win — something to put down on my writing resume.
My feeling coming away from it is one of great joy for a small victory as well as some well learned lessons.
1) I worked hard on that scene. It’s actually a shortened version of the scene from my book.
2) I re-worked hard on that scene and frankly that makes me want to re-work harder than I already do.
3) Good stuff happens when you perservere. It would have been quite easy to let that contest slip by but instead I jumped into it (much like my new full time job which I like).
4) Becoming an author is a process.
I’ve always called myself a “writer” instead of an “author” because I’ve never had anything published (not sure if that’s the official designation) and I’m not sure that a short/short contest is enough to move me from writer to author.
But who cares?!?!
I’ve got a win in my pocket and I’m more than happy to just celebrate that for now.