I always dreamed of being a writer and during the course of my later adult life many folks remarked that I should, ‘write a book.’ This was as a result of my having led an interesting life and the fact that I was a good story-teller.
Looking back, I realize that the expression, ‘write a book’ left me a little at sixes and sevens. This being because I did not know how to go about writing a book in the first place and in addition, what to write about.
There was no question; I had led an interesting life and yes, I was a natural story-teller, but how to put this, as I saw it, ‘dogs breakfast’ into a book, was beyond me.
One grey rainy morning at the age of seventy one (I had just been retired from my job of twelve years with no more than handshake and thirty days’ notice pay!) gazing out of the window, I wondered, fearfully what was going to become of me. I had the promise of nine months of UIF pay and then state pension. But after that???
To add to this medley I was still suffering from the effects of an unexpected divorce, caring for a drug addicted son, and many other domestic issues.
Thankfully my brother rescued me, by offering me a commission only sales position in his business.
My mind was being bombarded with all manner of thoughts and I began to bitterly regret the many poor choices made in my past life, when I was young, healthy and making a fortune of money – wasting it as fast as I made it.
Browsing in a bookstore I picked up a book called, “Artists Way.” I was unaware as I stood in the store, that I faced a fork in the road ahead of me. I opted for the ‘left fork’ and armed with Artists Way I hit the road. The story from there is a long, but interesting one. For sake of time, I will tell you about it at some other stage.
Save it to say, from the left fork, I gobbled up self-help and motivational books, whilst scouring the internet. I tried to see myself breaking the barriers of low self-worth, old age, rejection, and finally succeeding in my life once more.
Daily, I faced thoughts in my mind telling me it was too late, I was too old, who would take notice of an old man anyway. Besides what could I do to set myself back on my feet?
Employment at my brother’s business worked well for both of us and this proved to be a Godsend. I took up affordable residence in a clean, well maintained ‘retirement residence’, which in reality was an old age home! Filled with precious older folks (many younger than me!) sitting on the verandah, gazing into outer space, and waiting for someone to visit. (My heart broke for them.)
I knew this was not the life for me. I might be seventy two, but not ‘old’ and certainly far away from dying. My body was in prime condition (I’ve always been and exerciser and watched my diet.) but my mind…..that was another story!
I cannot describe to you the battle that raged in my mind, day, and night.
My mind was poisoned with fear, loneliness, fear of rejection, no self-confidence.
One day, after reading some Earl Nightingale material and a book called, ‘Portable Coach’ I set about some deep soul searching.
Ultimately, I concluded that what I really wanted to do, and in fact, what had been a dream of mine for many years was to ‘write a book.’
My mind tore me to shreds on this one! What are you going to write about? You are too old; you don’t know how to write! I made several attempts to write about my life but the scorn from my mind defeated me.
At this point, in a most miraculous way, I met a lady who ran a tailor’s shop and we began to date. Suddenly my mind was consumed by thoughts about her, day, and night.
We dined out, laughed a great deal (I could not remember ever laughing so much in my life.) and had a tremendous amount of fun.
She had a delightful apartment in a secure complex and invited me to move in with her. At this juncture I could say that I moved in with her and ‘the rest is history.’ But no, it wasn’t, the rest is our future and the complete revitalization of my mind. We married and have been together for five years.
Neelie, encouraged me to start a blog site and write short articles each week. I was so in love that I wrote poems about her, setting up a fictional character, ‘The Bold Knight Sir Peter James and his Lady Scarlett.’ At her urging I began writing a paranormal romance novel and was nothing short of amazed at how the words simply flowed off my keys, with no apparent effort on my part. With much research into how to write a book, plots, genres, and the many free writing tools available on the internet, I started my journey into serious writing. I also joined a writer’s group.
I am by nature a disciplined person, I set about allocating a time in my busy day to writing for a fixed period of time; a certain amount of days each week. I have always been a goal-setter, but I found with a creative art such as writing, it was better for me not to set goals, rather to ensure I met with my disciplined writing times and let the words take care of themselves.
I was 60 thousand words into my estimated finished work of 90 thousand words, when I realized that it might be more advantageous for me to write a short story book. After all, I had loads of material after blogging (by then) for two years and publishing an article each week. This way I could publish sooner and pave the way for my completed novel.
I aimed at 45 thousand words and was finished in three months. After much searching I found a publisher who offered an affordable turnkey package at what I thought was an all-round beneficial deal.
I prayed for a sponsor, as I did not have much money in my account. I witnessed a miracle – the sponsor arrived and I was able to make a down payment and the monthly installments.
During this period of time I learned a great deal about design, editing, layout and plenty more.
Two weeks ago my publishers, true to their promise, loaded my e-book onto Amazon, Kindle and Smashwords. A few days later my six free printed books were ready to be delivered!
My family arranged for my books to be couriered to me and last night, for the first time Neelie and I held our dream in our hands!
Neelie is in her early seventies and I’m a couple of years off 80.
Now we are going to learn how to market our book in Europe; to achieve this we sold up home and fitted it into four suitcases……..
Don’t die too soon, there’s too much living to do!
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