Wednesday, November 16, 2016

Will You Have Your Tomorrow?

Here I am looking a lot like my granddaughter,
Molly. Oh, who am I kidding? I haven't worn a
sleeveless top in a decade. 
I've mentioned before that I live with my oldest daughter and her little girl. In addition to Molly, I have five grandsons, and between the six of them, they've given me plenty to write about.

Lately, just before she goes to bed, Molly looks up at me and says, "Who will have tomorrow, Grammie?" I've asked her to repeat this many times, hoping to figure out just what it is she's trying to ask me. The closest I can come is that she's wondering what's on tap for tomorrow; just what do we have going on? I tell her a few things about the upcoming day, and she's content with my answer.

But I've been thinking about her innocent remark and its inadvertent, but stark reminder that none of us have tomorrow promised to us. While that's an overused statement nowadays, as writers we would be well advised to consider the ramifications it holds for us. The good news is that we're no more in danger of losing our tomorrows than the next person is since our job isn't particularly risky (unless you do your best writing while skydiving or rappelling down mountains). The bad news is that we don't have unlimited time to get that book written, find that agent, then get that book accepted, published, and marketed. Believe me, it takes time. Lots of it.

With the rapid-fire changes in the publishing industry, one never knows exactly what fate our book(s) and careers will face. For that matter, who knows what will become of actual books? Will ebooks become the norm? They're certainly on the rise. Personally, I prefer the real thing, but I enjoy the convenience of reading a book on my phone or Nook as much as anyone does. Some writers are opting to go indie and that's a great option for some folks. Others prefer to have someone else in the mix and decide to follow the path of traditional publishing.

But what ties all these possibilities together? Time. Can you afford to waste time? Maybe the world (or just one person) needs to hear the very thing you're aching to write. Maybe this is the year the perfect agent for you is still accepting clients. Perhaps the publishing house you're eyeing is just now deciding to branch out and accept more manuscripts in your genre. Can we afford to let time pass and opportunities escape our grasp? The serious writer will answer "no." Your time--those twenty-four hours each day that every human being is allotted--is the one constant you have in your life, at least until it runs out on you. Please don't waste it. Don't squander the chance to lift someone up, make them laugh, cry, think, get angry, feel avenged or cared about or justified. Don't let fear of failure or procrastination (or any of the other myriad excuses we writers are prone to use) destroy your opportunity to shine. Give the world what you have to offer while you still have the time.

And who knows? You may have another fifty years in which to make your mark on this world. I know I don't, but some of you do. Please make the most of the time left to you to do what your heart tells you is the right (or "write") thing to do.

Let's make sure your name is included on the list the next time Molly asks me, "Who will have tomorrow, Grammie?"


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