I recently found myself deep in thought, with three kids and a busy life, time to reflect doesn't happen too often. While washing the dishes I'd drifted back in time to my youth, as I said time to reflect doesn't happen often and washing the dishes is usually when the rest of the household scatters, so I am guaranteed time to myself.
My reflection had been triggered from a conversation I'd had with my teenage son about knowing which career path to take. It was this talk that reminded me that I tried on a few retail positions, albeit short-lived before my Mum directed me to Business College but still with no clear career goal in mind. Oh, I had dreams of being a vet and a hairdresser, both very common dreams for young girls when I was a teenager. Mum felt or rather insisted I learn some secretarial skills as a fall back.
Despite my initial kicking and screaming, we'll call it my rebellion faze I'm glad I did as it's much faster typing my manuscripts than writing them.
Anyway, back to the dishes. Despite my full secretarial qualifications, including shorthand, does anyone even use that anymore? I didn't really know what career path to take until I was 28. In some professions that's getting close to retirement age. Now by this age, I had been in the workforce for many years. Thanks to my mother's insistence my secretarial qualifications awarded me jobs away from retail and in administration. But there was a path out there I didn't know I needed to walk along.
Skip forward a handful more years and three kids later. The magic of reflection time moves even faster than real life.
When I advised my family, I wanted to take my writing to the next level and see where it might take me, my kids told me I was too old to embrace a new career. For those who know me that comment didn't sit well. The answer was no; I'm not too old.
One of my writer friends didn't start writing until she was in her late 40's. Another friend recently shared that she has been trying to break into this industry for some time but receives zero support from her friends and family. And despite self-publishing a number of books they still dismiss her dreams. I find that very sad.
I think if you have the passion and you want to succeed accepting that there will be both obstacles and achievements along the way then why not go for it. So, I did.
I've now been in this industry for almost 20 years, and my only regret is that I didn't know my path sooner. But if I did would I be where I am today? I'm not sure.
I guess what I am trying to say is never give up.
Perhaps in some eyes, I may not be considered successful as I don't have armfuls of books flooding the market. I've dedicated much of my writer life to assisting other emerging authors while I lay the foundations and slowly constructed my platform. But I feel pleased with what I have achieved, not that I'm finished mind you. I plan on taking my writing further, much further.
I heard these words uttered years ago by Angela Lansbury's character on Murder, She Wrote, and they have become my mantra.
Sometimes it takes a while for us to find what we are good at.It doesn't matter what age you take up writing, what matters is the quality of your writing and the quiet determination of your most secret heart.
Striving for quality will not always come easy, you may throw out a half of what you write and that's ok the idea is to keep going, to keep writing. It will take a great deal of energy but it will be worth it, in the end it all comes down to four things – patience, direction, determination and strength.
You are never too old to take a different path. Go for it!