In high school, my Advanced Creative Writing teacher told me I should look in to writing for publication. Of course, at that time I had nothing to write about! No real life experience. No one would care to hear anything I had to say. No burning need to express myself. I just wanted to get into the fashion business and become a department store buyer. Not a very lofty goal.
My college course of study aimed me toward that goal, however "un-lofty" it was. I studied Tailoring, Pattern Making, Clothing and Textiles, Marketing, and Merchandising. And I achieved my goal and became a fashion buyer. Fulfilling, challenging, and even fun - for a while. But twenty-plus years later, the business was changing. Chains of stores were consolidating, eliminating buying positions. Computers had arrived on the scene, so management relied more on technology than on the gut instincts of the seasoned staff. I had become a (pretty well-paid) key-punch operator. I figured it was only a matter of time before the company figured that out, so I quit.
Experiencing life outside the fashion world opened my eyes to new challenges and opportunities. I still wasn't writing much or even thinking about it. I tried my hand at many new jobs in order to make a living: Real Estate sales, mortgage origination, and bartending. I even worked as a concierge at a local inn. For some reason, I thought I wanted a "mindless" position.
My father's unexpected heart issues then Alzheimer's diagnosis and eventual death made me realize I couldn't shut down my brain. These events rekindled my passion for writing. I wrote a short story, Dad's Last Song, about the progression of my father's disease. I gave a handwritten copy to my mother. Putting my thoughts into words on paper (so to speak) provided a therapeutic release for my emotions and helped me speak to things I couldn't express out loud.
The creative juices could no longer be quashed. My husband and I pulled together to create The Christmas Puppy storyline. We initially pictured the story as a dramatic Christmas movie. As I laid it out, though, the characters and the story grew. I knew it had to be a novel. What I didn't know was how to write! My first draft a nightmare of rookie mistakes, I hit the books and studied up on composition, grammar, and style. The learning curve on the first attempt is steep.
Now that the book is finally nearing its release, I step back and feel the pride of completion. The evolution of my writing will evolve. I will continue to study and hone my new craft. The process will never end.
My second novel is in early stages of development - just one chapter and some concepts, so far. But I'm excited to begin.
The lesson to take away from my experience is that it is never too late to begin again, to learn a new skill and delve into a completely different world. Whatever your passion - pursue it. You can do it!