While my novel’s first draft flowed nimbly onto the paper from the nib of my pen, my second is stumbling unsteadily across my keyboard. But I’m not going to let myself get bent out of shape on account of this snail’s pace. The way I look at it, there’s no expiration date on my first book.
The slow progress of my novel is mainly due to getting sidetracked by an offer that seemed just too good to refuse. I honestly did try to decline it a couple of times to stay focused on my novel. But when the offer reappeared for possibly the third and final time, I decided God must have had a hand in it.
For the Lord of hosts has planned, and who will annul it?
His hand is stretched out and who will turn it back?
~ Isaiah 14:27 NRSV
You see, I’d always dreamed of writing for and editing a magazine. The writing side had already become a reality, but I’d begun to think the editing side was destined to remain in the dream category. Unless I founded a magazine of my own. Believe me, that thought—temptation—has occurred to me more than once in my lifetime. So, long story short, I accepted the offer to be the editor of InScribe’s FellowScript magazine.
Even though it’s a quarterly publication, working as FellowScript’s editor eats up a substantial portion of my time. So that means I’m often forced to let my novel rest undisturbed in my desk drawer for extended periods. But I view this editing opportunity as another one of those life experiences that will only serve to enrich my writing in the long run.
Frequently, I see those lists of bright, young, up-and-coming authors, who are celebrated as “the ones to watch.” But just because I’m getting a few grey hairs doesn’t mean I’m past my “best before” date. I like to think I’m still in the “prime of life,” and it’s not too late for me to achieve success as an author. Besides, just think of all the life experiences I’m accumulating along the way to write about. Despite having already passed me on the path to publication, those bright, young prodigies are still far behind me on the road of life.
I would hardly be alone in writing and publishing my first book rather late in life. Several successful authors have proven it’s still possible to find the path to publication in later years. These “late bloomers” have had their first book published after age 40, 50, or even 60. After all, “late” is a comparative term. Late as opposed to . . . ? Besides, I don’t believe creativity has an expiry date either.
I can think of several “mature” authors who’ve inspired me over the years. When I was a youngster, one of my favourite books was Black Beauty by Anna Sewell. She wrote this beloved children’s classic in her last decade of life, and it wasn’t published until she was 57. Laura Ingalls Wilder wrote and published her first book, Little House in the Big Woods, when she was 65. Like me, she’d written for some periodicals in her fifties, but her novel writing didn’t really get off the ground until her retirement years. One author who certainly proved it’s never too late is Millard Kaufman, who published his first novel, Bowel of Cherries at age 90.
As you can see, there’s no time limit on achieving your writerly dreams. So write, write, write; edit, revise, and repeat; and stop worrying about still not having made your way through the door of that publishing house. Just relax, take your time, enjoy the ride, and never give up on your dream.
Photo Credits: Best Before Date - Nina Faye Morey; All Other Photos - Pixabay