By J. R. Turner
I’ve quit a lot of things in my life. I quit smoking, my job at a potato warehouse, buying yarn without a pattern. And I quit writing in January of 2010.
I’m a multi-published author with six novels in print, one in eBook, and a host of awards under my belt. My family is proud and supportive. I have no day job to worry about and my children have grown to be mostly independent. So why would I give it all up?
My father was dying (he passed on February 14th) and I longed for more time with him. I drew my children closer to me and threw my energy into being a great homemaker, mom, and wife. To me, nothing seemed more important than spending time with them.
I didn’t tell anyone I had quit writing. I simply stopped. For a while, no one noticed. Eventually it came up and I told them. They supported my decision, but they weren’t happy. My eldest said, “But you can’t quit going after your dream, Mom.”
Unexpectedly, my mom had a massive heart attack on June 24th. If I had any doubts that I needed to be with family, they vanished in the face of her death. My parents divorced when I was three and they lived more than a thousand miles apart, so her passing in the same year was mere coincidence. We didn’t even know she was ill.
So there I am, all tied up in their estates, juggling life and travel, without any sort of plan for my future. Grief and uncertainty don’t go well together. If I wasn’t going to be a writer, what was I going to be? The question plagued me for months.
Eventually, my publisher began to wonder when I would return. I dreaded telling her that all the risks she took by publishing an unknown author were for nothing. But a funny thing happened on the way to the phone…
Sometimes life gives you exactly what you need. I chose to quit writing because my royalty statements didn’t seem worth missing time with my family. I needed to contribute financially to our household. After ten years, I thought I’d given it my best shot.
Then I got an email from a young girl who loved my YA Extreme Hauntings series and wanted to read the third book I was supposed to be writing. WRWA needed to hire a new editor for their newsletter, and when I finally did speak with my publisher, she invited me to take over Quake, their YA imprint – a paid position.
Fate, or maybe my parents watching over me, took away my “excuse” not to write. On top of my royalty payments, I had regular income as an editor. I decided to return to writing, to my family’s delight. Of all my blessings, their renewed pride in me meant the most. This also taught me a valuable lesson. Writing is such a big part of who I am, without it, I’m no longer me.
I’d like to close with this great quote from a recent favorite, Dorothy Dix:
It is only the women whose eyes have been washed clear with tears who get the broad vision that makes them little sisters to all the world.
Thank you for letting me share my story with you.
Born blonde and Polish, Jennifer Turner writes action adventure thrillers and romances. She resides in Wisconsin with her husband Eddie, a red-headed Texan, and her three children, Dustin, Molly and Matthew. Raised by an eclectic assortment of artists and musicians, her upbringing helped shape and hone her imagination and dedication to the romantic arts. Between her commitments to family and writing, she actively pursues three things–white chocolate, dark chocolate, and more chocolate.