My mother had a saying for everything. They were always prefaced with the words, “As my mother used to say….” She claimed they sounded much better in Flemish as they rhymed, but as a kid, I didn’t see how any of them could sound good at any time. Now, a little older and wiser, I realize how apt they are in many situations.
For years I had a burning desire to write a novel, but didn’t know if I had what it takes to be an author. If Mom were still here she’d have said, “You won’t know until you try.”
“Sure, fine, no problem, Mom. But remember, I work full time, have a couple of kids at home, workout several times a week.”
“Ah well,” she’d have said, “No rest for the wicked.” Seems to me if I’d been that wicked, I'd remember much more fun times.
So, prompted by those sayings, I start writing and when I’m tired and can’t face the computer, I hear her words as clearly as if she were in the room. “Never leave till tomorrow what you can do today.” And I write, even if it’s just a little bit.
Eventually I have a completed manuscript and I hear, "If a job's worth doing, it's worth doing right." Edit, edit, edit is the answer to that one. And, if you’re lucky and have a writing partner who is a professional copyeditor, you send your manuscript off to her.
Time to find a literary agent and off go the query letters. Then you wait knowing Mom would say, “No news is good news.” To your moans when the reject letters arrive, more of your mother’s words pop into your head. "All good things come to those who wait." Good things do come in the form of advice at the Willamette writing conference. Self-publish everyone says. You go home and proceed.
Novel formatted for self-publishing, cover designed, website up and running, blogs posted weekly, Facebook and Twitter accounts active, and you’re ready to launch your first novel. Doubts creep in.
“Maybe I’m too old to be doing this?”
“Better late than never,” your mother’s voice answers. Of course she’s right. After all you’re not as old as Whistler’s mother.
“What if no one likes it or reads it?”
“Time will tell,” her voice reasons. Again she’s right. People are reading my books and writing reviews and I’m confident that my readership will grow, perhaps not always as fast as I would like, but it will grow and I have the satisfaction of accomplishing my goal. Mom would be proud.