You've heard the saying that old dogs can't learn new tricks. I'm here to tell you, not only can old dogs learn new tricks but leopards can change their spots. You don’t believe me? I tell you it is true. I’ve seen it with my own eyes. For I am that old dog leaping backwards over an inflamed barrel. I’m also the blue leopard with big orange polka dots.
I describe myself as having been born backward—one foot first, and left-handed—and seem to have done most things backward ever since. At seventeen, and still a high school junior, I married a preacher and soon became known as the preacher’s wife. Today, it is difficult to imagine a girl, barely 17, take on that responsibility—a kid playing grown up. But I sailed along just fine, any answer I needed given to me by my husband. He even gave answers to many questions I never asked.
I started college as a forty-year-old freshman and in a few short years gained a degree in sociology, a master’s in educational psychology, and then a divorce! Five years later, I got engaged, bought a house, took a honeymoon in Hawaii, and married in Las Vegas on the way home.
You still with me so far on this backwards thing?
After many years working in the human services field, I retired and took on a whole new career—I wrote a mystery book that soon turned into a series of four in the Sidra Smart Mystery Series along with a cookbook to match. Then I wrote a historical novel set in Texas during WWII.
I rebranded myself as writing strong women. Why? I’ve realized that writing is my passion, but writing strong women is REALLY my passion. So, I might write mystery, historical fiction, or something else, but whatever I write, it will feature a strong woman. Of course she likely won’t start out that way, but by the time I’m through with her, I guarantee you she will be. My latest, Original Cyn, takes on a controversial subject relevant to societal discussions today. It is my first attempt to write on a topic that I know many will object to, and that’s just the way it goes. Standing in my power. Speaking truth to power.
Think that’s a reflection of my life? You bet your bottom patootie it is!
One thing I’ve learned is it makes no difference whether you live your life backwards or forwards, the important thing is that you LIVE IT! And never say never. Never not do something because you think you’re too old, too dumb, too smart, too whatever.
If you want to write and/or publish a short story, a book or a screenplay, go for it, and don't stop until you accomplish that goal. (And when you do, let me know. I'll celebrate with you.)
Oh, and the next part of that equation is to help your fellow writer accomplish their goals, too! Be there for them. Share what you've learned, put in a good word to other people about their writing, and buy their books.