Dear Sherry: Is It Too Late?

Dear Sherry,

I’ve recently come to a crossroad in my life. I have had to re-evaluate a bunch of things, one of which is that I want to give writing another try. I used to write, a lot. I did some workshops, and even had a few short story sales. Then I stopped, mostly because of work and family. If I’m really honest, I also stopped because I was frustrated. I wasn’t making the pro-sales, and I couldn’t get an agent interested in my work. I gave up. I left my writing circles, and I’ve lost most of my writing connections. Now I wonder if I truly gave it a chance and want to try again, but the industry has changed so much over the last several years. Have I missed my window of opportunity? Is it too late for me to try for traditional publication?

Missed Window of Opportunity

Photo Credit: 3dman_eu


Dear Opportunity,

I get it. If I were to compare the publishing industry to a ship, you feel like you’re standing at the shore, watching your dream sail away.

Thankfully, that is not true. The publishing industry has changed a lot over the years, but that just means you have more and different opportunities.

Rather than regretting the lack of success in the past, see this as the perfect time for you to experiment, to write what you truly want to write.

Getting a traditional contract can still be difficult and frustrating, but it is also still possible. If it is truly what you want, and if you are willing to put in the work, you owe it to yourself to give it a shot.

Your biggest challenge is going to be sitting down to write. Your questions of missed opportunities and doubts about the industry are going to plague you, stopping you from writing.

What I’m going to ask of you is far easier to say than to do. I want you to set those doubts aside. Your first task is to put words on paper. Figure out what you want to write. Not what is trending or what you think will sell. You won’t enjoy writing if you don’t love the project.

Take time to reacquaint yourself with your writing skills. They may be a bit rusty, but I promise you they haven’t gone away.

Your life experience can only enhance what you now write. Use it. Explore it.

For the first few weeks and months, see your writing time as taking care of yourself. Writing, playing with words and ideas, will feed your soul. A little bit of time writing will help you accomplish the rest of your regular tasks.

Set yourself small writing goals and make note of their completion. Maybe it’s writing a page or scene, maybe it’s having outlined a couple of scenes. Write down the daily goals and check them off, or write them on your calendar after you’ve completed them so that you can look at them at the end of the day and see your progress. It will be slow progress, so you have to celebrate the small steps. Without the small steps, you don’t get to the end of the big goal.

Reconnect with your writing friends and community. Chances are, they will welcome you back with open arms. We all struggle in this industry. If they aren’t there for you, there are always other groups to connect with, either locally or online. Find that support system. You will greatly benefit from it, and they will benefit from your experience too.

It is never too late to write and submit. The publishing industry will always be there. Its form may change, but it will still be there. I said this earlier, and I will say it again: If this is really what you want, then you owe it to yourself to give it an honest shot.

Creatively yours, Sherry

Sherry Peters“Dear Sherry” is an opportunity to ask for advice on writer’s/creativity block, time management, the process of writing, and more. Sherry Peters is a Certified Life Coach who works with writers at all stages of their writing career looking to increase their productivity through pushing past the self-doubt holding them back. Her fiction has won the Writer’s Digest Self-Published e-book award, and been nominated for the Aurora Award, Canada’s top prize for Speculative fiction.

If you could ask a writing coach anything, here is your chance! Send her an e-mail at




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