Back in my young mother years, I was watching a talk show and a guest commented that ‘at 40 her life was over.’ What I believe she meant was that her path was set and it was too late to change it. I remember thinking how pathetic to feel that way when her life may be less than half over. But then looking at my own life, I wondered if I was living with the same mindset. I was married, had 3 children and a career. My children would grow up and leave, I would work at my career until I retired. And then what? Would I be too old, too infirm, too poor, or just too tired or lazy to pursue those dreams I had either abandoned or put on hold?
Shortly thereafter, I read this quote by George Eliot in an early issue of O Magazine: “It is never too late to be what you might have been.” Around this time, I had also begun my career in finance and learned a lot about setting goals. Maybe I just never paid attention in school when they talked about setting goals, but I had never done so. I remember thinking I was letting life happen to me rather than being the director of where I was going in my life’s journey. I began to set goals and live life more intentionally.
For many years, I planned to write a historical novel based on my distant ancestors. But the amount of time and effort required to complete such a project was daunting. At this point, this quote from Earl Nightingale showed up in my life: “Never give up on a dream just because of the time it will take to accomplish it. The time will pass anyway.” I could go another five years of putting it off and accomplishing nothing, or look back at that same five years, proud of what I had accomplished. And so, I started writing my Roses & Rebels series.
A year later, my rough draft was complete and I put it away for six months before reading it. After the requisite amount of time passed, I took out the manuscript and I can only say that this quote from Ernest Hemingway described my first draft perfectly, but also offered encouragement. “The first draft of anything is shit.” Yep, my first draft was so bad, I wondered if I would ever be able to get it polished enough that I would not be embarrassed to see it published.
Fast forward to 2022. I have published the first book in the series, TOKEN OF BETRAYAL. Now I have found inspiration and validation that all my hard work and sweat was worth it based on comments about this work..
The first quote comes from Keith Mbuya from Readers’ Favorite: “I loved how Lee developed an amazing cast by boldly bringing out their qualities. This, coupled with the profound depth of emotion, made it easy for me to connect and empathize with the characters. This is a magnificent piece of work and an awesome first installment in the series.”
The second quote comes courtesy of Pikasho Deka, also a reviewer for Readers’ Favorite: “Every character has an agency that drives their motives and actions, and it makes for some compelling character drama that is delicious to consume.”
Yes, quotes, while some may think they are trite, can impact a life. They certainly did mine. And in the process, I learned to write a novel and found something I truly enjoy, writing!
Tell me, what quotes impacted your life.
C.V. Lee writes historical biographical fiction featuring forgotten heroes and heroines of the past. She is a member of the Historical Novel Society, Alli, and a founding member of Paper Lantern Writers. You can find her on Facebook @cvlee.histficwriter and on Instagram @cvleewriter.