Tuesday, May 4, 2010

A Middle Aged Newbie

I'm a middle aged Texan who is just two years into her writing journey. Oh, I've dreamed of being a writer since my teens. Like others before me, I started a novel, scribbling in my big, fat, girly handwriting, but I never finished it and it was stuffed in the bottom of my dresser. I suppose it is now in some dump somewhere, composting and enriching the earth.

I got married to the love of my life at the young age of 19, had four children by the time I was 30, all the while supporting my husband in ministry at various churches. Yep. I'm a pastor's wife. I usually don't like people to know that, because once they do, walls seem to go up. But it is such a huge part of who I am. I'm in ministry and proud of it. Oh wait, can I be proud? Is that allowed? Sigh...I never said I was a "good" pastor's wife!

I also have a full time job as an attendance clerk/registrar/receptionist at an elementary school nearby. It's a busy and sometimes stressful job, but I love the people I work with and I love having summers off! (Time to write, write, write, you know!)

So when did I start my real writing journey? It was the summer of 2008. I was 42 years old and figured out I would never realize my dream of writing a novel if I never even tried. So on my summer break I wrote 3/4 of my first novel. Since then I've been getting feedback and some critiques on it, but haven't really edited it like I should. It's my first baby and I'm too nervous about "raising it".

I need a few more books under my belt to "learn" how to write and maybe I can go back to my firstborn and revise it like it needs to be. So I am ruminating on a new idea, percolating scenes and characters, hoping to find a great story in the process.

While my first story was a medieval, my next will either be a contemporary or a Regency. I can't decide. I love Regency, but the research required scares me. Contemporary may be easier. Maybe not. But be sure, I will share stories of exploration in the different genres.

Yes, I'm the newbie in the Writer's Alley, so you will get my bumbling first attempts at....well, everything. I'll share my successes, my joys, my struggles, and my rejections. Oh yes...rejections are a part of the journey. At least that's what I'm told! It's all good, really! You gotta find the fun in all aspects of the journey, because life's too short to be wearing your Cranky Pants all the time! (I try to keep those cranky pants tucked away in the closet, but they tend to make an appearance every now and then!)

I've got a question for you:  How new to the journey are you? Are you at the starting line? Have you stopped along the way? Or are you at the finish line and received the prize of publication? How long has your journey taken?



Katie Ganshert said...

I'm about three and a half years in and it's impossible to say where I'm at! I know I'm past the newbie stage, with four novels written and another one in the works. But I don't fee like I'm in the middle either, because who knows where the end is, and without an end, how can I determine the middle?

Alright....I'm being much too philosophical about this question.

Great post! Great family pics! I can't wait to hear more about what God does with your journey, Sherrinda!

Heather Sunseri said...

I'm definitely still in the beginning. I'm less than two years in and fine-tuning my second novel. As with everything in life, I feel I'm just skimming the surface of what I need to learn.

Love the new blog! Can't wait to see what's in store!

Krista Phillips said...

I guess I look at it as a bunch of different runs, some long marathons. Some short sprints. The thing is, with these races, we have no idea how long each of the race is. So you have to be prepared for the long hall... but run like you're sprinting. (This analogy may be stupid cause I have know NOTHING about running!)

So, if I had to guess, I'd say I'm in the middle of my current race, a little behind Katie though, ha!

Pepper said...

Oh Sherrinda,
GREAT post - and I think you got it right. It's so difficult to navigate writing time when the kids are younger, that it can be frustrating. As your kids get older, they a bit more independent, so that has to help with writing time....right?

Please tell me 'right'!

And I'm with Katie,
I have a few novels completed on my computer - but I still feel like there is SOOOO much to know...and that I have SOOO much to improve.

I still feel like a 'newbie'. I've been writing since I was a kid, but actually 'studying' the craft for about 5 years (inbetween real life) :-)

I'm in it for the marathon. I can't sprint, unless it's rushing a 3 year old to the bathroom before she begins to leak - or pulling brownies from the oven before they get 'too done', or getting the last piece of chocolate cheesecake. Otherwise, life is too full for sprinting.

God has his timing - so I'll keep jogging, walking, and crawling along the way until He's ready. Because THEN - I will be too.

Jessica Nelson said...

Ergggg, I don't know where I'm at. Definitely not publication but I wouldn't say at the start. I've been doing this for four years now. (I think? Can't remember, lol)

Jeanette Levellie said...

I love this post, Sherrinda! But I beg to differ: you are not middle aged at 44--you're just beginning to soar into the best years of your life! Aha. Ask me how I know.

Yes, it's okay to be proud, as long as you don't take the credit, which I know you don't. You boast in God, your husband, and your beautiful family.

I'm somewhere in the middle of my journey--I've written two books and hundreds of articles, some published, some sharing the compost pile with your first novel. God gave me a wonderful agent, who's working hard to place my books. In the meantime, I write a column for our newspaper and submit as many devotional/humorous articles as I have time to write. I also work full-time, and am a pastor's wife.

Wish I'd gotten serious about writing when I was young like you!

Audience of ONE

Unknown said...

I love that last picture. I've written for about ten years. I got really serious about publication in 2008. Even though I have a contract with Heartsong Presents, I know there is still so much for me to learn and places for me to go.

Jason said...

The first full manuscript is done and half way through a second full draft. I've been working on the next story but can't seem to completely put the first baby away. I want to push to finish it!

I'm hoping that God allows me to get published one day. Until then, I keep typing away.

Pepper said...

Ooh, Congrats Julie!! That's awesome.

Pepper said...

Hey Jason,
I think that's the only thing we can do: keep typing away.
Mary Connealy - a fantastic Barbour author - says the one thing all writers should do is...WRITE!
We can't finish a novel if we dont' write
We can't improve our writing, if we don't write
We can't grow in our craft, if we don't write
Just Write :-) (or Just Do It - your choice)
Good luck on that! Who God calls He also equips.

Casey said...

Lovely post, Sherrinda! You have a beautiful family. :)

Sigh, I am no where NEAR publication. I have written on novel (in high school) and put that one away indefinately. I have number 2 in the works and I am really excited about this one. :)

Soo, like Pepper said, just keep writing, just keeping, just keep wriiiiiitiinggggggggggg! Sorry, got on a tanget. :D

Jan Cline said...

Well, for a minute I thought you were writing about me! That is until you got to the age 42 part. I hope middle age includes early to mid 50s! I too tried to write a novel in high school - I still have it. Then got married at 19 and spent my time raising 3 kids and being in church leadership and singing. So I was 53 when I decided that I should be obedient to my call to write - that was almost 3 years ago. Finished my first novel and now Im on to my second. See? We have a similar story. :)
Blessings Sherrinda!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Katie!!! You are definitely NOT a newbie! Not with an agent, you aren't! And I love your philosophical mind, girl!

Heather!! Two years in AND you have a second novel! I'm WAYYYY impressed! You are ahead of me, for sure. I think part of my problem is I get distracted. I need some stick-to-it-ness!

Krista, you and me both...I HATE RUNNING! I HATE SWEATING! It's painful and I don't like to hurt. But short or long, we shall run the race, won't we?

Ah, Pepper! LOVE your thoughts on the journey. His timing is everything, isn't it? Sprinting or crawling...ahem, that would be me in a marathon, for sure...we will cross the finish line.

Okay, I have to leave and go to a class for my job. I'll be back at around 4:00! I'll see ya then! Thanks for all the wonderful comments so far!

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Arrrgggh, I just commented on everyones comment and it got lost!!! Don't you hate it when things like that happen?

So Jeanette, I love the similarities we share! And really, I don't feel middle aged, so I suppose it's all in the mind! Good luck to you and your agent shopping around your writing!

Julie!!!! You have a contract with Heartsong?!?! That is amazing!!! Congratulations! I have often wondered if I will ever feel like I've arrived when I get to publication. (listen to me...I sound like I have it in the bag! lol) I have way to much doubt!

Jason, I love that your first project is still calling your name, because mine is too! I hope we can stay focused on this next story so that when we DO go back to the first, we will see it with fresh eyes!

Casey, aren't you sweet! I love, love, love my family and am so incredibly proud of them. I hope I can get down to the business of writing this summer while I'm off work. I've got to get my plotting done soon!!!

Jan!!!! A kindred soul! How cool is it that we have similar lives and background and are starting this journey so late in life! I don't hear of many people getting married as young as we did! ;)

So Pepper, do you take Mary's advice and write, write, write??? Daily? ;)

Pepper said...

Sure, Sherrinda.
What else do I have to do? ;-)

Susan J. Reinhardt said...

Hi Sherrinda -

Great humor in your post. :)

I started out as a non-fiction writer, and had some devotionals and short articles published. My novel-writing adventures started in 2005, so I'm five years into this journey.

Ahem, I wish I'd started at your age. I've got a few years on you.

Susan :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Susan! I hope you know you give me hope! Hope that I CAN do this thing called writing...even at my age. :) I know I'm not "really" old, but society tends to deem the 40's as the beginning of the middle years. lol

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Pepper, you know you don't have a stinkin' thing to do these days! Buwahahahaha...loving the evil laugh!

Pepper said...

You know, they have a diagnosis for spontaneous outbursts like that ;-)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Okay, Dr. Pepper...
LOLOLOLOL...I am sooo cracking myself up tonight!
What is your diagnosis????

Keli Gwyn said...

You are no longer a total newbie in my book. You've completed an ENTIRE novel, dear sister, and made serious headway on some revisions. That's quite an accomplishment. I'm proud of you!

And, for the record, I don't think of you as middle-aged. Isn't that reserved for those of us who've weathered five decades--as they've "weathered" us, leaving behind those character lines on our faces and natural highlights in our hair? :)

Sherrinda Ketchersid said...

Oh Keli! I have those natural highlights and lines on my face too!!!! I'm weathered, and I'm not far behind you in the decade category! lol

And thanks for the encouragement. You always know just what to say to make me feel 10 feet tall!