Set Backs ~ Is it just me?

As I get older, time seems to have accelerated. How could we be here already? It will be Autumn before we know it! Unbelievable.

What happened? At what point did I fall off track? I’m so confused.




“And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count. It’s the life in your years.”                                                                         —Abraham Lincoln


It all began in the early nineties when I took my first writing course, and I was on a roll. It didn’t matter that I worked a stressful job, or that I had a toddler to chase and a husband to please. I found time to work on developing my writing skills. It’s what I always wanted, and I had the determination to do it.

Eventually, in 2010, I received my first sliver of success with a contract for publication. I was psyched and went on to produce four more published stories in rapid succession.

                    “Anything in life worth having is worth working for.”

—Andrew Carnegie

Then, I realized there was so much more to this business than writing publishable stories. Who knew? I discovered a rather large gap in my knowledge base, especially when it came to technology, social media, marketing, and all those important undertakings. Honestly, I still have a lot to learn, but I’m working on it.

Having opted out of continuing-on after I’d earned my AA degree years ago (a big mistake that I’d come to regret) there was something else missing that I couldn’t exactly put my finger on, but it caused a bit of insecurity.




“Confidence doesn’t come out of nowhere. It’s a result of something… hours and days and weeks and years of constant work and dedication.”

—Roger Staubach


The answer, I assumed, was to go back to school and finish what I started. I’m thrilled to say, I did finish and recently completed my Bachelor of Arts in Creative Writing and English. I feel much better about myself. My confidence improved. I can honestly say, there is a measure of value in checking off items from one’s bucket list.

“The worst loneliness is to not be comfortable with yourself.”

—Mark Twain


Though, I believe adding to one’s education is seldom bad, the loss of momentum in my writing was quite a high price to pay. I haven’t yet decided if it was worth the set-back, only time will tell in that regard.

I glean comfort in knowing my former momentum is close by. I can feel her essence breathing down my neck. I no longer work the stressful job, there’s no toddler running around (well, unless I count my granddaughter, but she’s only here occasionally) and I still try to please my husband, but we’re both older and things seem a bit less arduous these days.

So, what’s the problem? You might ask.

The answer: Lack of inspiration, I’m guessing.




“The way to get started is to quit talking and begin doing.”

Walt Disney


I pulled out my last two works in progress, the ones I’d set aside when I went back to school. It took me longer than normal, but I finally finished both stories. The short one, Conquering Logan, was recently published through The Wild Rose Press.

My full-length story with a working title, Worth the Risk, which I’d plotted and begun writing in 2013 (did I mention it’s 2017?!) is complete and ready for…something.

Worth the Risk shows improvement over my former work, at least it seems that way to me, though admittedly I may be a bit bias. Perhaps taking all those writing and literature classes while working on completing my degree helped, I can only hope.

What’s the message I’m trying to relay here?

If you’re young and in school, and if it’s at all possible, stay there until you’ve finished!

No, that’s not it, though it’s good advice. Trust me, I know.




The real message I’d like to convey is that it’s never too late to continue working toward your dreams. Set-backs are painful, but they should make us stronger, and achievement that much sweeter.

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life.”

—Theodore Roosevelt


I hope you’ve enjoyed my post, and that it proves inspiring to you in some way. Has anyone suffered substantial set-backs in their writing pursuit? Was it difficult to reclaim your momentum? Please share your thoughts.

Until next time, never give up chasing your dreams!

Joyce Palmer

All photos (other than my book cover) are curtesy of flickr with no known copyright restrictions.



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