Wednesday, January 30, 2013

WRITERLY WISDOM: Darlene Foster








It's that time again!  Every Wednesday we will sneak a peek into the world of writing and publication.  Award winning author, Darlene Foster, is just another wonderful writer I have met while coordinating things for this series.  You can reach Darlene at her website 



or on her blog 


  

Take it away Darlene...



Never Too Late To Become A Writer
Darlene Foster

A goal without a plan is just a dream.

Many of us dream of being a writer. After all we have tons of ideas. We spend years talking about it, fantasize signing our books, and envision people saying, “I read your book and loved it.” But there is always an excuse.  We are too busy working, raising kids, keeping a house, volunteering, looking after grandchildren or aging parents; the list goes on. Then one day there is a bit more time and we say, “Now I’m too old to write a book. If only I had started years ago. Its too late.” I have heard this many times.

I was one of those people. I had so many excuses for not sitting down and writing a book. I took writing courses and attended seminars, wrote a few short stories and submitted to the occasional contest, but the idea of writing a book was too daunting and I often felt I left it too late.

Then I went on a fabulous holiday to the United Arab Emirates and decided I needed to write about it. It worked best for me to write my story from the point of view of a twelve year old and target it to middle readers.  Although I was already in my fifth decade, I was still busy working a full-time job, tutoring part-time, volunteering and sitting on a few boards. How was I going to fit in the time to write a book?

I came up with a clever plan.  The plan was to write the book in three years; a realistic time frame for me. How was I going to do this? I planned to write one chapter a month by writing one hour a day. By breaking it down into doable steps, it was not so difficult. I simply eliminated watching television for one hour every evening.  Soon my friends and family understood that I could not be disturbed for that one hour. If I missed one day, I would write for two hours the next day.

My plan worked. At the end of three years I had Amanda in Arabia-The Perfume Flask completed and ready for submission. It took another 5 years to find a publisher, but I persevered. In those five years, between researching publishers and writing query letters, I continued to write and completed, Amanda in Spain-The Girl in the Painting. After all, I was used to writing at least one hour a day.

Now in my sixth decade I have three books published, I have organized numerous book signings and people of all ages have approached me saying, “I love your books. I hope you write more.”  I write two hours everyday now and managed to write my latest book, Amanda in England-The Missing Novel, in one year.  I am working on the fourth novel as we speak and have many more ideas. There is no stopping me now!

The lesson I learned is that it is never too late and you can never be too busy, to make your dream of writing come true – if you make a plan and stick to it. As a much wiser person than I once said, “You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” -C. S. Lewis









Biography of Darlene Foster
dreamer of dreams, teller of tales

Darlene Foster is a writer of children’s stories, an employment counsellor, an ESL tutor, a wife, mother and grandmother. She loves travel, reading, shoes, cooking, sewing, music, chocolate, walking on the beach and making new friends.  Her grandson calls her “super-mega-woman-supreme”.  She was brought up on a ranch nearMedicine HatAlberta, where she dreamt of traveling the world and meeting interesting people.  She lives inTsawwassenBC with her husband Paul and their black cat Monkey. 

Darlene has always had a desire to write. She has published three books for middle readers, Amanda in Arabia – The Perfume Flask, Amanda in Spain – The Girl in The Painting and Amanda in England – The Missing Novel,recently released.

She believes everyone is capable of making their dreams come true!

Her website is www.darlenefoster.ca

57 comments:

  1. Thanks for this great post... so inspiring! And thanks for reminding us that it takes dedication and discipline, and not daydreaming, to finish a book.

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    1. Hi Sylvia! I really connected with this post...maybe it's because I took so long to follow this dream...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Thank you for those kind words Sylvia and thank you so much Donna for inviting me to be a guest blogger on your wonderful site.

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    3. No Darlene, thank YOU for your inspiration and for all you do for the writing community!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  2. Thanks for introducing us to Darlene. I love the quote from Maya Angelou on her site!

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    1. Hi Wendy! Anyone who likes Maya Angelou definitely has my vote! ;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Thank you Wendy, its nice to meet you.

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  3. Setting realistic goals, that's the key word! Thanks, Darlene, for this great post. And I love the idea behind the 'Amanda in...' series. This way, there's no limit to the books it can have!

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    1. Hi Richa! I've always enjoyed books that visit different states or countries with a central theme running through each one. I can see I will have to have her books to my list...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. I'm glad you enjoyed the post Richa and the idea behind my books. The possibilities are endless!

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  4. What a wonderful, inspiring story, Darlene, and I love that quote at the end. Thanks so much for sharing! Another great post, Donna :)

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    1. Thanks, Susanna, I try...really hard I try...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back nay time!

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  5. Yes so true, and so inspiring!

    Dreams are wonderful, but it's the hard work that makes them come true not wishing!

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    1. Someone once said, "I believe in luck. The harder I work the luckier I get!" I'm happy you enjoyed the post.

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    2. Hi Yolanda! I think I'm the type of person who BELIEVES in luck but I don't DEPEND on it to get me published...THAT is where the hard work comes in...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    3. It was Samuel Goldwyn said it darlene and also gave us other such gems as 'include me out' and 'I read part of it all the way through'

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    4. Hi JP! I hope you are enjoying this writer's series...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    5. Thanks JP. I couldn't remember who said it. My Dad often said things like that too.

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  6. Thanks, Darlene! What a wonderful, inspiring post. Dreams do come true.

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    1. You are so welcome. I'm glad you found the post inspiring.

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    2. Hi Genevieve! The first month is down and all these lovely inspiring posts are now out there for people to benefit from. Here's to a great February...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  7. Agreeing with everyone else about how inspiring this was! I finally have a more concrete plan this year, and as I get close to entering my fifth decade, I will keep Darlene's story in mind and not give up hope. :)

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    1. Good luck with making your dreams come true Teresa. With a more concrete plan I am sure you will.

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  8. Wow, what an inspiration. That is a fantastic consistent work ethic.

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    1. Hi Catherine and welcome to my blog! I hope you are enjoying this new series...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    1. Hi Erik! I'm glad you are liking this new writer's series and I hope you are learning as much as I am! ;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  10. "Doable steps" really resonated with me. I so often think, "Gawd, I can't write a whole novel!" And then I realized that maybe my thing would be short stories. So I started with really short stories, then longer stories, then short stories with sections...So now I have several collections (stay tuned!). And no, it's never too late. I'm 55 and I plan to be published, somehow, before I'm 56. I think your travel niche is a good one. Your Amanda series was a great idea - learn about new places, have an endearing character who goes from place to place - awesome!

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    1. Thank you so much Karen. I wish you the best of luck in getting published within the next year. I have no doubt it will happen. Your support and encouragement has meant a lot to me.

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    2. Hi Karen! I'm a wee bit younger than you but started very late in my lifetime to believe in myself and my writing. I, too, am hoping for a validation of my work by being picked up by an agent or publisher this year. To both of our successes!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  11. Hi Darlene. This is a lovely inspiring post, just what I needed. Consistency and goal setting! I have enjoyed reading Darlene's books and with my up coming travel I will no doubt will come back with many story ideas. Thanks Donna, great blog series.

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    1. Hi Diane! I can't wait to read one of YOUR travel stories...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. So pleased you enjoyed teh post. I'm sure you will be inspired by your travels too.

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  12. Way to go, Darlene! I'm a late bloomer, too, only I look more like that guy at the beginning of this post. (minus the beard) I didn't get "serious" about writing until I was in my sixth decade, but hope to FINALLY publish my first novel this year. Like you say, it's never too late. As long as we're still above ground, there's no excuse for not going for that dream.

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    1. Hi Susan! I LOVE your "as long as we're still above ground, there's no excuse for not going for that dream" mentality...you go, lady! ;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. I love your energy, determination and sense of humour Susan. Good luck with your publication!

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  13. Great advice here, Darlene. I remember being asked the question, "What is your plan?" That was the most profound question I had heard in a long time. What indeed was my plan? In my mind I thought I had one. But when asked to articulate it, I could not. With a plan, goals can be set. Yet somehow setting a goal for writing seems a slippery beast. I can never hold on to it. Your approach of setting doable goals is such COMMON SENSE!! Thank you. A great post. A really great post!

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    1. Hi Pam! I'm trying really hard to have clear, challenging but achievable goals in mind as I walk (not run) toward publication...;~)...and this post is a great guideline to get me there!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Thanks Pam. So pleased you got a lot out of the post. Best of luck with your plan!

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  14. This is a great story and one that proves that perseverance pays off. What really impresses me is not only that three books have been written (a great achievement in itself), but that the sheer determination to get the first one published meant spending five years looking for a publisher. That is really inspiring and just goes to show how important it is not to lose sight of your dream, not to be put off by rejection, and not to let initial rejection stop you from writing another book in the meantime.

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    1. Hi Lorna and welcome to my blog! Everyone knows it sometimes takes a long time to make it in the writing industry...I just think sometimes newer writers don't actually believe it. It's the people who don't look at the time involved as some sort of prison sentence but rather an opportunity to grow their craft that will come out ahead in the end...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Thanks for your flattering comments Lorna!

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  15. Great post, Darlene! I am impressed by the systematic way you went about achieving your goal, and by your persistence in sticking to your plan. And it's great to learn how the Amanda books came about in the first place.

    Thanks! (both of you)

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    1. Hi Beth! I'm so glad you enjoyed this post. I am honored by all the authors and writers who have given of their time to share their pearls of wisdom with others and look forward to a year worth of lovely guests...including you...;~)

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Glad you enjoyed the post Beth and some of the history behind the Amanda books. This is a wonderful site to meet other authors and hera what they have to say.

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  16. So true that it's never too late. I like that you have shown writers who might be feeling overwhelmed or believing they don't have time to write that it is possible. You have proven that breaking goals down in small steps, and being satisfied with the time you have set aside, can produce some great results. I imagine there's some patience and faith involved too :-) Congratulations on your late blooming success. Here's to many more years of writing.

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    1. Hi Alayne! I'm really glad that it's never too late to dream...otherwise I would be in BIG trouble...lol...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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  17. To have grown up in a place called Medicine Hat just speaks magic, imagination and inspiration! Loved this post. Thank you for sharing.

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    1. Hi Georgette and welcome to my blog! I'm so glad you are a part of this writer's series and hopefully it will continue to inspire you...

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Growing up I thought Medicine hat was a boring place. Of course now I realize it gave me many ideas and fueled my imagination.

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  18. Darlene, this is SO inspiring! I am a 44 year old woman and, like you did, I have been talking about writing a novel for years. I have actually started mine, but it has been a year since I've picked it up. I have so many excuses and they have to stop. Your plan sounds really doable and I really think I'm going to try it your way. Thanks for the inspiration. I'm saving this post in my Instapaper read later account so I can remind myself frequently. =O)

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    1. Hi Michelle and welcome to my blog! My goodness, you are one busy lady...and I thought I was busy! ;~) Good luck to you with your novel...not only do I write children's books, but also middle grade as well as young adult mystery and fantasy. I too have a couple of novels I have had to put aside while I concentrate on picture books at the moment, but hopefully soon I will be able to finish my fantasy and then focus on my mystery. Darlene's post had great advice on setting achievable goals!

      Thanks for stopping by and come back any time!

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    2. Thanks Michelle and good luck with your writing. I know you had a busy and tough year last year but I'm sure you will see some great results this year!!

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