By Carol Traulsen
For some of us there are particular events that serve as wake up calls. Whether it’s the death of a loved one, the loss of a job or a milestone birthday, we wake up one day and realize we are not where we thought we’d be. The dream we had as young adults to take on the world and make our wildest dreams come true has been put aside. Life, marriage, children, and making a living have taken over and we have forgotten all about chasing our dreams. Maybe we even think it’s a luxury we can’t afford. Maybe we’ve experienced so much failure we feel humiliated to get up yet again and give it one last try. I remember my milestone event. My mother died.
I was working in retail at the time and I recall so clearly feeling like that part of life was making me miserable and it really didn’t matter in the grand scheme of things. I was grown woman with a husband and grown son and I still was saddened by the fact that my mother didn’t live to see me fulfill my desire to be a published author. She had always been so supportive and so certain I would find success. Now she was gone. I wanted success for myself even more than she had. What was I waiting for?
Soon after I lost my job, the economy tanked and finding another job was proving impossible. With my husband’s support I turned my attention to writing full-time. I wrote article for several websites sadly, none of them paid. I used them instead to build a portfolio. But as time went on, I found it difficult to work for free and on my career as a novelist. I chose to focus on my own work instead of exhausting myself for no pay.
There have been a lot of bumps along the road. I wrote and published three books on Amazon. I worked very hard on two collections of short stories and one romance novel. They failed miserably. I didn’t edit, market, or promote them properly. It was a truly humbling experience. I didn’t possess the expertise to publish, market, and promote my own work. I decided it would be best to seek publication with a traditional publisher or an epublisher and let them promote market and publish my work.
I’m a very slow learner and a late bloomer. It’s taken me years to formulate a plan and even longer to muster the courage to execute it and a lot of failure along the way. I once told myself that I would be a published author by the time I was forty. When that deadline came and went I gave up. I felt like a failure. But, after my bout with breast cancer and my mother’s death, I realized it didn’t matter how old I was I still had a chance to make my dreams come true if I kept working. So here I am still chasing my dreams at fifty. I can see it, and I’m getting closer every day. But there is still fear.
I’m afraid of rejection, afraid I’ll never get published, afraid I’m really just a hack and a dreamer with delusions of grandeur. But like any artist I am compelled to write, to create, and I know it will take me to my goal someday no matter how old I am. I’ll never stop chasing my dreams.
Cover Artist: Jana Phoenix