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Writing My First Novel – Nancy, 53

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I knew starting KuelLife was going to be challenging but I also knew, deep in my belly, that I would have a blast.

The ‘Share Your Story’ section may end up being my favorite!

This is Nancy Knight. Another one of my lifetime dearest friends. She too was willing to grin and bear through a gazillion questions to hone the idea. This “Share Your Story” concept is still in its infancy and I’m sure will morph over time. But for now, I am honored to share this KuelWoman’s tale.

There is power in storytelling. There is power in the community. There is power in sharing. The more we know about one another; the more we understand; the more powerful we become.

We invite all of the KuelWomen out there to share their stories with us.

“Turning 50 made me recognize I don’t have all the time in the world anymore.”

Here Is Nancy’s:

KUEL LIFE: What are you pursuing now, after 50, that surprises you or might appear to others as if it’s come out of the left-field?

NANCY: I am writing my first novel. I’ve always been a writer, so to speak. The idea of writing a novel has been in the recesses of my mind – forever it seems. But, someday…. in my 20s and 30s, I had many ‘sometimes’. Turning 50 made me recognize I don’t have all the time in the world anymore. You wake up and realize you don’t have that many ‘sometimes’ left.

KUEL LIFE: What’s a typical day like for you?

NANCY: We get up at 5:45, do the chores in the barn (home to a pony and thirteen chickens), take the dogs for a two-mile walk, drive 50 minutes to work, slave for The Man all day (doing something I mostly love — graphic design), drive 50 minutes home, relax over dinner and wine with my wife.

General Frustration:

KUEL LIFE: With what do you struggle?

NANCY: General frustration of trying to carve out the time to do things I want to do for myself. Working full-time, being in a long-term marriage, and taking care of our home and dogs takes a lot of time and energy. My writing, scuba diving, and hiking sometimes take a back seat.

KUEL LIFE: How do you motivate yourself and stay motivated?

NANCY: At work, I’m extremely motivated by the fear of becoming irrelevant, as my current job description keeps me focussed on a part of the news industry which is quickly dying: Print media.

So I’ve been making a concerted effort to make myself indispensable on the Web side of our news organization as well. When I’m working on my novel, I do occasionally become overwhelmed with how much more work I have to do to complete it, but I stay motivated with the thought of the great disappointment I’ll feel in myself if I don’t finish.

“Keep your eyes on the youth and the underlings.”

Keep Learning:

KUEL LIFE: What advice would you give fellow women about aging?

NANCY: In business, speaking as someone who is in a dying industry who spends a great deal of energy clawing her way to the thriving side of the industry; keep up your skills! Keep your eyes on the youth and the underlings.

They have skills and hunger you may not possess. Keep up. Don’t coast. Personally? Kind of the same advice but for different reasons. Keep learning, new hobbies, new travels. Novelty keeps your mind active and your relationship thriving.

KUEL LIFE: What does vulnerability mean to you? What has the ability to make you vulnerable?

NANCY: Vulnerability means opening up my true desires and feelings to someone where I am unsure how they will deal with it. I feel incredibly vulnerable asking for something I really want from my partner but am unsure I will get it.

Successful Career:

KUEL LIFE: What are three events that helped to shape your life?

NANCY: In childhood, it was my parents’ decision to send me to summer camp, where for the first time in my life, and for the next twelve summers, I really felt like I fit in, which gave me a confident and positive self-image I’d never had before.

In young adulthood, it was sticking to my guns and refusing the job at the bank the post-college headhunter wanted me to take, and instead of going for the low-paying desktop-publishing gig, which leads to a successful career as a graphic designer. And later, it was moving to Boston for a job in the tech industry, because that’s where I met my future wife.

“They both taught me that I could be an adult without being too grown-up.”

KUEL LIFE: Who influenced you the most in life and why?

NANCY: I had two amazing adult women in my life growing up. A camp counselor, Denise Madigan, and the mother of my friend. They both taught me that I could be an adult without being too grown-up.

They were funny and fun to be around. It was a great lesson to learn at such an early age. On the other side of the coin, my sister Sally acted as a cautionary tale. She was a bit of a free spirit and unconventional. Growing up I felt like I had to prove myself to my parents (academically and professionally).

What Enriches My Soul:

KUEL LIFE: What is the best advice you’ve been given from another woman?

NANCY: “We should take a road trip before we go back to school in the fall.”

KUEL LIFE: What woman inspires you and why?

NANCY: Hillary Clinton. I admire her incredible intellect. I respect the way she has dealt with adversity throughout her life. When you read the particulars of her life, the stuff she put up with… she is single-minded, but since when is being too ambitious a sin?

KUEL LIFE: Are you a grown-up?

NANCY: When I have to be.

KUEL LIFE: What do you do for self-care?

NANCY: Scuba dive. It enriches my soul.

KUEL LIFE: And last but definitely NOT least: What are the top three things on your bucket list?

NANCY: Travel. Take a two-week, live-aboard scuba-diving trip in the South Pacific, go on a biking/wine tasting trip through France and a week-long backpacking trip through Yosemite

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