It took two disasters to throw me into writing. The first was a natural disaster: the Thousand Year Flood that hit in 2015. Thank you notes turned into essays. Essays eventually became a chapter in my new book.
The second disaster was the man-man variety: divorce, then dating. Even though my online dating misadventures only lasted a few months, I got enough material for a lifetime. Stories told to friends turned into stories for my column and blog and then another chapter for my book.
The flood, divorce and dating at 50 all fall into the crisis category, no doubt. But the cataclysmic events of my life led me to my dream of having a writing career. Funny how that works. Occasional stories turned into a weekly column and blog, and now the South Carolina Press Association distributes my work statewide. Somehow, I managed to use my darkest times to create my dream.
As parents and teachers, we encourage young people to follow their passion. Sometimes we need to pause to see how we are doing with our own dreams. About the time I hit 50, I started wondering about my passion and my dreams. We fill our days with work, raising children, maintaining relationships or sometimes surviving the collapse of them. Our dreams get bumped further and further down our to-do list.
As I evaluated my life, I realized I had become boring. Netflix or Facebook should never be the best parts of the day. I decided I could live a boring life, or I could be brave and bold. I loved being a mother and a teacher but needed more. I wanted to pursue my dream and become a writer. I was at that age when I knew it was now or never. Figure it out or forget it. I wasn’t ready to let my dream go. I always wanted to have a column, and I’ve always wanted to write books. I had the dream, and I had the material. I was pretty sure I had the talent. There was a very long list of things I didn’t know how to do like get an agent or find a publisher. I still don’t know how all that works, but here’s what I do know. If you want something badly enough, you figure it out. You take the first step.
With the release of my second book, I feel like I am exactly where I am supposed to be with my writing career and can’t wait to see what happens next. I love a good back story, and my new book is full of them. Here’s mine: I didn’t know it at the time, but the low points in my life would be the very things to help me reach my dream. I had to be brave and bold to make it through my hard times. I didn’t realize it at the time, but those traits would serve me well as I embarked on my big adventure of becoming a writer.
As a fifth-grade social studies teacher, I spend my days pushing my students to do their best and be their best selves. In the same way we encourage our children to listen to their hearts and follow their dreams, it’s important for adults to do the same thing. It’s easy to stay in a safe place and not try anything new. It is easy, but it’s also pretty boring. Bold and brave are much more fun.
Tammy Davis is a SC writer. Visit Davis’ website at tammydavisstories.com.