It is my great pleasure to introduce you to a new friend of mine, and a wonderful writer, Nancy Brandon. Her debut book Dunaway's Crossing has been one of my favourite books to read lately and I highly recommend it. Out of 34 reviews it has 32 - 5stars! Phenomenal!
Someday Is Always Now!
Two months after releasing my debut novel, Dunaway's Crossing, the heady feeling of being an author has not abated. Readers email me with compliments or write positive reviews on my Amazon page, and I must remind myself that I'm not dreaming. People out there really like my book!
And it only took me forty-five years.
So why did it take so long to release the story I'd always wanted to write? Part of the reason had to do with craft. Although I'd published academic articles and textbooks before, I had to hone my fiction writing skills. For a couple of years I worked on another novel just to change my writing habits and narrative voice. Then for three years and through numerous writing group conversations, I revised--even rewrote a couple of times--Dunaway's Crossing until it was a work I felt ready to be shared with a wider audience.
But another reason was a naive, hidden procrastination with which many people can identify at some time or another. I call it the someday factor. Someday I'll run a marathon. Someday I'll get my college degree. Someday I'll get married and have children.
Someday I'll write a novel.
Fortunately, a conversation with renowned writer Richard Selzer cured me of the someday factor. Six years ago, Selzer, author of The Doctor Stories, The Whistler's Room, and Mortal Lessons, came to my city, Savannah, as the guest author of that year's common read. As part of the organizing committee, I had the pleasure of conversing with Selzer a number of times. During our conversations, Selzer told me that he'd started writing at the age of forty, during the later stage of his successful career as a surgeon and med school professor. He advised me to keep up with my writing, that it was never too late to get started.
That's when it hit me: I was thirty-nine years old. I'd be forty in a couple of months. When did I expect someday to arrive?
That night I sat down at my computer and started typing. I joined a writing group. I attended workshops. I read books about the art of writing fiction. I attended more workshops. And I wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote and wrote some more.
Much of the feedback I received on my drafts helped me to sharpen my details, develop my characters, organize my scenes, and create chapter endings to keep readers turning pages. And finally, this past winter, I was finished. But believe it or not, I suffered a relapse of the someday factor.
Someday I'll publish my novel.
One side of my brain knew I had to make that publication happen, but still, I did nothing. I behaved as if somehow the novel would get released all by itself. Perhaps the other side of my brain was afraid of rejection or bad reviews. Perhaps it was afraid of the unknown. Perhaps I was too busy teaching college classes and raising two sons. Whatever the reason, I finished my novel, hit the "save" button and went on about my life.
And then I had the pleasure of interviewing another notable author, Jonathan Rabb, author of Rosa, A Second Son, and The Book of Q. Rabb described to me a certain confidence writers must possess in order to succeed with this kind of art form. Not only do they have to believe their stories are worth telling, but they must also believe their stories are good enough for others to pay for the pleasure of reading them. And that's when I realized nobody would read my story if I didn't make it available to be read.
I realized that someday is now.
So here I am, with a novel on Kindle's best seller list and another story in the making, still a little amazed that Dunaway's Crossing has progressed all the way through the writing and publication process. I guess now I'm experiencing the pinch me factor. Still, I know I'm not cured of the someday factor. The only way I can avoid a relapse is consistent writing and consistent feedback from my writing group. And for that reason, I set daily goals for my writing and dedicate a specific block of time each day toward meeting those goals. Someday is always now.
***Please leave your e-mail address for a chance to win an e-book copy of Dunaway's Crossing. I'm sure you've all had the "Someday" factor rear it's cheeky head in your own lives. I know I have, multiple times. Like "Someday" I'm going to re-write the first book I ever wrote....!!