A Childhood Dream Realised
It has been about a year since a comment from a former coworker changed the direction of my retirement, and of my perception of 2020.
It was a week before a planned retirement from a job in the healthcare field. I was healthy and active and I looked forward to a retirement filled with friends and social events. At a work holiday party my coworker Jenn remarked that I should start something on my bucket list. Without thinking, I immediately replied that I would write a novel. My response surprised me, because although I was interested in writing as an adolescent and had considered studying writing or journalism in college, I opted to study nursing instead. I started thinking about my response, and that it was so quick and definitive. I hadn’t realized that writing a novel was on my bucket list, and I wondered whether I really could write one. I streamed a few online writing courses in January and February 2020. In early March I decided I would spend the remaining months of 2020 trying to write a novel. I surmised that a trial of nine months was sufficient to see if I had a chance at success.
Then came COVID, and in the area of the United States where I live, a quarantine. Nearly all of our social activities were canceled. I started writing a novel. It was a scary process initially. I wondered how I could develop characters, how I could put the pieces together to construct a cohesive plot. Bits and pieces came to me, often at night when I should have been sleeping. I wrote for a few hours every day. I told no one I was doing this—not even our children or my close friends. My husband was the only person who knew.
The parts of the novel came together like a puzzle. My characters had a few surprises of their own. One of my characters knew about his wife’s secret—although I hadn’t planned that to happen. I finished the first draft at the end of May, ten weeks after I started. My book still had no title. Minutes after I finished the last words of the book, I practiced yoga. At the end of the exercise, as I was resting my body and my mind was clear, the title of the book came to me. I stood from my yoga mat and changed the title of my manuscript from “Book Draft” to “Beneath A Blanket Of Snow”.
I contacted a friend who is a writer, and he agreed to read my manuscript. I was thrilled that he thought it was well-written and worthy of publishing. It was at that point that I dared to think I was a writer. I told family and friends, who were very supportive. I decided to self-publish because I wanted to get my story out to the world. I didn’t want to spend time contacting agents and waiting for their responses. I didn’t plan to spend my retirement that way. After editing and formatting, I released “Beneath A Blanket Of Snow” in July 2020.
The response to my novel has been better than I ever expected. My readers love the story of four affluent couples who have their own struggles—and their own secrets—just like others in society. I am currently working on my second novel, and hope to self-publish it in the spring of 2021. I started it on the first of November during National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo), which is a challenge to write at least 50,000 words during November. I met the challenge. The biggest obstacle has been getting recognition for my name and my book. Authors are often advised to start publicizing their book a year or more before it is released.
But I didn’t plan to write a novel a year before it was released. It shouldn’t be a surprise that I became an author after retirement. After all, I consider myself a late bloomer. I started riding a bicycle for recreation in my 50s. I often ride 20 or more miles at a time. My husband and I often ride with other seniors. I also started taking piano lessons and playing Mah Jongg in my 50s. I wonder what I will accomplish during the remainder of my 60s and beyond.
As vaccination for COVID is imminent, I am thankful my family is healthy, although I miss hugging my children and grandchildren. While our social activities have been curtailed or adapted as online gatherings, most people consider 2020 a wasted year, and think of the canceled vacations and what could have been. But I focus on what I have accomplished. It was the year I wrote and published my first book. I realized a dream from my childhood. I became an author.
HERE’S A PREVIEW OF MY BOOK FROM KINDLE CLOUD READER:
I’m Arlene Lomazoff-Marron. In December 2019, about a week before I retired from a job in the healthcare field, a coworker commented that I should do something from my bucket list. I immediately replied that I would write a novel. I wondered why I had replied so quickly and with such conviction, as I hadn’t thought about writing a book since my adolescence. I took a few writing courses in high school and considered college and a career in writing, but decided to go to nursing school instead. I didn’t realize writing a novel was on my bucket list. I planned to try my hand at writing a novel from March through December 2020, but when COVID-19 kept me indoors, I started writing every day. Beneath A Blanket Of Snow is my first novel. I wrote it in ten weeks. I am hard at work on my second novel. I live in the U.S., in Pennsylvania with my husband Gerry.
Hey, finished reading? Let’s listen about her journey as a writer, from the ‘lady’ herself. Check-out her tweet below.
I was honored to be a guest on World Talents. I hope my journey to a published author can inspire others! #Writerscommunity #WritingCommunity #Writerslife #WednesdayMotivation #wednesdaymorning #Booktube #authors #IARTG #bookstagram #BookBoost #Writer