Friday, November 1, 2013

When Life Gets in the Way by Cathleen Armstrong

Cathleen Armstrong
Do you ever feel that with all your responsibilities and life flying by, the time for you to write and/or get published will pass? It can feel a little discouraging. Author Cathleen Armstrong joins us today to share her experiences, and she encourages us to believe that it’s never too late! ~ Dawn

When Life Gets 
in the Way

Once in a while you’ll hear a writer admit that they never thought about writing while growing up. They’ll say they didn’t even read all that much, too busy doing other amazing things. But one day writing a book just seemed like a good idea, so they did. They usually say these things in an interview about their best seller, and we try not to judge them.

Because most of us, I think, have wanted to write since we first realized that those stories we loved had an author. We wrote down our own stories and poems and proudly showed them to anyone we could get to read them, dreaming of the day our efforts would appear, not on lined tablet paper, but in a book.

Some of those young dreamers and writers kept right on writing. They never harbored doubts and they never let anything get in the way of their dreams. I salute them. They light the way. But it’s the others I want to talk to—those, like me, who came to see the dream of becoming an author the way they saw dreams of being an astronaut or marrying a prince of England, something to put away with the rest of the childish things.

But unlike the astronaut or prince-marrying dream, which definitely fall into the “what in the world was I thinking” category, that writing dream just won’t stay in its box. Your life can fill up with responsibilities—with children and jobs and parents and church obligations. And the years can pass, but the longing to write never does, and finally you begin to fear it might be too late.

Well, it’s not. I sincerely believe that if that desire to write sits quietly waiting its turn for your attention year after year, it’s because God put it there.  The same God who knew the obligations and responsibilities he had for you. The same God who gave you a lifetime to fulfill them all.  So, if your time to write isn’t right now, then wait for it. But know that it is coming, so be aware.

Did you know that Laura Ingalls Wilder wasn’t published till she was in her sixties? And Raymond Chandler was first published at fifty-one? Richard Adams wrote Watership Down in his fifties, and Frank McCourt wrote Angela’s Ashes in his sixties. And then there’s me. I raised a family, went back to school, took care of an elderly mother-in-law for ten years, and saw eight grandchildren into this world before my first novel was published. And I still have more stories to tell.

Just make these words your own—and you can probably sing them if you’re as old as I am:

To everything there is a season, 
and a time to every purpose under heaven.

Ecclesiastes 3:1


If your time to write isn’t right now, wait for it. Be aware—it’s coming. Click to tweet.

Laura Ingalls Wilder wasn’t published till she was in her sixties. Click to tweet.

To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven. Click to tweet.

The red warning light on her car dashboard drove Lainie Davis to seek help in the tiny town of Last Chance, New Mexico. But as she encounters the people who make Last Chance their home, it's her heart that is flashing bright red warning lights. These people are entirely too nice, too accommodating, and too interested in her personal life for Lainie's comfort--especially since she's on the run and hoping to slip away unnoticed.

Yet in spite of herself, Lainie finds that she is increasingly drawn in to the dramas of small town life. An old church lady who always has room for a stranger. A handsome bartender with a secret life. A single mom running her diner and worrying over her teenage son. Could Lainie actually make a life in this little town? Or will the past catch up to her even here in the middle of nowhere?

Cathleen Armstrong has lived in California for many years now, but her roots remain deep in New Mexico where she grew up and where much of her family still lives. Cathleen and her husband Ed raised three children, and when they were grown, she returned to college and earned a BA in English. Today she and Ed live in the San Francisco Bay Area with their corgi. Their children and eight grandchildren continue to delight.

To learn more and connect with Cathleen, please visit


  1. I'm singing the song, and grateful for your encouragement. Now it's time to switch songs and sing with Barbara Streisand, "I will never give up!"

  2. Oh, what wonderful encouragement today! Thanks so much for giving us permission to pursue our writing dreams. :)

  3. Love this, Cathleen! Thanks for the encouraging words. :)


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