The Over 50 Writer

WELCOME AUTHOR PAT JEANNE DAVIS
2/3/2016 12:00:01 AM by: Patti Shene

 

IT IS MY PLEASURE TO WELCOME AUTHOR PAT JEANNE DAVIS. PAT SHARES THE TRIALS AND TRIUMPHS SHE HAS ENCOUNTERED ON THE JOURNEY TO PUBLICATION THAT SHE BEGAN LATER IN LIFE. 

 

I wrote the essay below a few years ago at fifty-seven. Since then, I’ve studied the craft of fiction writing also and completed two historical novels and many short stories. Still, there are publishing dreams yet to be realized.

 

I’m still learning how to be more patient while awaiting a response from a publisher to my novel and to continue to persevere when the answer is not the one I wanted to hear. I’ve come to appreciate even more the wisdom in not having high expectations but to keep the feeling of anticipation nonetheless. I remind myself the writing experience is also part of my walk of faith and that, too, requires patience, perseverance and prayer. Still, I’ve questioned whether I should be writing fiction even after finally acquiring an agent to represent my work. Then a magazine editor will tell me I know how to write short stories. Do I have any more to submit? At times a reader will let me know how much they enjoyed a story. Responses like those propel me forward when I need them the most.       

 

My prayer for all who read this is after you have done all that is required, you may experience a renewed perspective and that you keep anticipation alive. We’re in sync with God’s perfect timing when we ask Him to direct our path.

                                                           

It’s Never too late

By

Pat Jeanne Davis

 

“I’m going to take a writing course,” I told my husband.

           

He nodded and smiled. “When does it start? I know how much you’d like that.”

 

At last, at age fifty-five, I was getting serious about this. I’ve always loved story, and for most of my life, I’d dreamed of becoming a published writer. The time never seemed right to pursue my goal. So I satisfied my yearning by being an avid reader.

 

Getting a later start than most has been my experience. I married at forty, adopted a newborn at forty-six and gave birth at age forty-eight. Motherhood is fulfilling for me. But I still had my dream of getting published.

 

Again, I was back in school at midlife, an experience I found exhilarating. I wanted desperately to learn the craft of writing because now I had my story to tell. I knew my experiences would encourage another woman struggling with starting a family later in life. This became my motivation for enrolling in a college writing course that autumn day two years ago.

 

During the course, I learned the basic steps in the writing process. With the help of a class critique and the encouragement of my teacher, I polished my story, readying it for submission.

 

If I thought writing would be easier than being a stay-at-home mom and homeschooling, I soon found out otherwise. Anyone who writes knows it’s hard work that requires a commitment of time, perseverance, organization and learning by doing. I further discovered that writing for publication was different from writing for oneself or one’s family. I wanted to be a professional writer nonetheless.

 

Later, I joined a local writers group. Here I found other aspiring writers with a common goal of applying the craft and becoming professional. We read each others work and offered helpful criticism and suggestions for improvement.

 

I became better informed about publishing and marketing my work through the Writer’s Market, other “how to” publications and from the experience of submitting. The Internet became an invaluable tool. I had some success in small non-paying markets. But I wanted to make a little money, too. That wasn’t happening yet. Anticipation is always a driving force. I discovered that not only moms, but writers live in the future.

 

As the months went by, I read each prospective publication to know the magazine’s audience. I learned to study guidelines and themes for upcoming issue to determine what they wanted and the preferred way of submitting material. I realized the necessity of carefully following instructions. I discovered how to submit a brief but detailed query letter to interest an editor in my work.

 

I tried not to take personally each rejection, but to see it as part of the writing process. I kept a list of possible markets for each manuscript. On occasion, an editor would write a few words or useful suggestions on the form rejection letter. This was always an encouragement and provided an incentive to persevere. After each rejection--and there were many of those--I would rework, refocus and send the piece out to the next publication on my list. I became a better writer in the process of redrafting my piece. But still no sales.

 

My college instructor, Gloria—then on the board of directors of a writers conference— suggested I apply for a scholarship to the next conference. At the same time I did this, I submitted the essay I worked on in her class to a national magazine for their Mother’s Day writing competition. I sent both the scholarship application and the story out in December and continued to work on other writing.

 

Five months later and one week after Mother’s Day, I visited the magazine’s website for the first time. There on the front cover of their latest issue was my essay. But no mention of the contest or any winners. A check for $150 and five copies of the magazine arrived two weeks later. This gave me much needed encouragement to continue submitting my work.

 

At the end of May, I receive word that I’d been awarded a scholarship to the writers conference in late June. So with renewed enthusiasm and much excitement, I attended my first conference.

 

As I browsed through the free literature and magazines provided to the conferees, I saw a stack of GRIT Magazines. There on the table was the issue with my story on motherhood. It was an exciting moment—one in which I realized that I was not wasting my time trying to hone the craft. Gloria was overjoyed with my success as well.

 

Since then, I’ve gained more confidence and had pieces accepted by other magazines and anthologies. My family provide the source for parenting articles and essays. I’m gratified that my words can touch the heart of another. Each success spurs me on to continue to write for publication.

 

My boys and husband enjoy seeing me at the computer. Together my husband and I built a website for my writing.

 

“My mom writes,” I heard Joshua say to his friend.

 

Gaining a family and learning how to write has enriched my life. With God’s help and guidance, it’s never too late to realize a heart’s desire and never too late to learn and to grow.

 

Pat Jeanne Davis’ short stories have appeared in Harpstring Magazine, Splickety Love, Splickety Prime, Horizon Magazine, TWJ Magazine and Take-A-Break (UK). Her articles and inspirational pieces have appeared in Chicken Soup for the Soul books, Guideposts, The Lookout, GRIT Magazine, Bible Advocate and Woman Alive (UK). She writes Christian historical novels set in the early 20th Century. She loves to hear from other writers and readers. Visit her at her website.




Comments

2/9/2016 11:35:23 AM
   
  Many thanks, Marilyn, for your encouraging words. I''m glad this piece was a blessing. Cheers back.
   
  pat davis,  philadelphia, pa
   

2/5/2016 12:46:33 PM
   
  Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment to encourage Pat Jeanne, Marilyn!
   
  Patti Shene,  SE Colorado
   

2/5/2016 12:43:35 PM
   
  Thanks for sharing your story Pat Jeane. You are an encouragement as bright as a lamp on a hilltop. Cheers
   
  marilyn leach,  metro denver
   

2/5/2016 10:07:49 AM
   
  Thank you sharing your story, Pat. You are truly an inspiration to me, and I''m sure your post will encourage my readers as well.
   
  Patti Shene,  SE Colorado
   

2/5/2016 9:27:38 AM
   
  Patti, thank you for the opportunity to be a guest. I''ve been encouraged by the words of other writers here. Hope my piece is a blessing to someone.
   
  Pat Davis,  Philadelphia
   
 

WHEN MOST FOLKS IN THIS AGE GROUP ARE TAKING TO THE ROCKING CHAIR, THESE ENERGETIC AND PERSISTENT SENIORS ARE AWAKENING THEIR CREATIVE TALENT AND PRODUCING AMAZING WORKS. LEAVE COMMENT TO BE ENTERED IN GIVEAWAYS! SUBSCRIBE FOR UPDATES!

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