Last Chance

CCarson 1200 x 1800~ By Caro Carson

Two mini-events at my computer conspired to teach me a lesson about life and about publishing, all before my morning coffee had a chance to kick in.

First, my computer obligingly flashed the date at me: January 31st. Today is the last day of the first month, the last day of the month that began with high hopes and New Year’s resolutions. My resolution, as usual, had focused on health. If I’m healthy, then my family benefits, my writing benefits, every aspect of my life benefits. Last year, I’d been derailed mid-way through an otherwise decently-healthy year by a broken foot, and I hadn’t gotten back on the fitness wagon, although the crutches had been put away and that cursed boot had come off. On January 1st, I had resolved to get back on track. I’d do some yoga, some walking, some swimming – in short, get back in motion. I’d even bought new running shoes. Conventional wisdom says it takes thirty days to start a new habit. I knew one month ago that today, January 31st, would mark the day my resolution had become a habit.

Except, it’s not a habit yet. You see, I haven’t worked out thirty times. In fact, I didn’t get myself to my first workout until last week. Iíve now taken three yoga classes and gone for long walks despite the cold weather, but it’s January 31st! I should have thirty days of habit-forming exercise behind me, not seven.

I gulped some bitter coffee and opened my e-mail in box. It was full of ads from stores where I actually shop: a furniture store, a restaurant, a clothing store. “Last Chance!” they all proclaimed. Yes, every single one had sent me an e-mail with “Last Chance!” in their subject line. It was laughable. They send me e-mails all the time, sometimes weekly, sometimes daily (I really do need to unsubscribe from those), and every single one contains some spectacular discount or invaluable coupon. Did they really think that I would believe that this e-mail, this particular one on January 31st, was really my last chance to save at their stores? Absurd. I took another sip of coffee, feeling smug and superior for not being a sucker for their gimmick. “It’s never the last chance,” I thought to myself.

And that’s when those two mini-events happily collided in my brain. Sure, it was January 31st, and I’d only been active for seven days, not thirty, but it wasn’t my last chance. It’s never the last chance. February 22nd is a perfectly great date to have formed a new habit. As I set aside the coffee to write this blog, it occurred to me that this is true in publishing, as well. Have you gotten a form rejection from the final agent on your wish list? Has your manuscript been shopped to the last house without getting a nibble of interest? It’s okay. Those events were not your Last Chance. New agents and agencies announce their interests every week. New digital-first and small presses seem to open as frequently, and traditional publishers are trying new lines and announcing new editors. With the advent of indie publishing, no manuscript has ever received its final rejection. Publishing can always be an option; gone are the days of a rejected manuscript being shoved under a bed, never again to see the light of day. Instead of “Last Chance,” an author’s world today is better served by the motto “Take Chances!”

If an attempt to achieve any personal or professional goal didn’t work out for you in January, there’s always February. And March. And April.

You have all the chances you need.

Enjoy your coffee, enjoy your day, enjoy your journey. Cheers!

Despite a no-nonsense background as a West Point graduate and U.S. Army officer, Caro Carson has always treasured the happily-ever-after of a good romance novel. Now, Caro is delighted to be living her own happily-ever-after with her husband and two children in the great state of Florida, a location which has saved the coaster-loving theme park fanatic a fortune on plane tickets. Caro’s next novel is THE DOCTOR’S FORMER FIANCE, a February release from Harlequin Special Edition.

9 thoughts on “Last Chance”

  1. Hi there very cool site! Male. Great. Superb. I will take note of your website plus use the provides nourishment to on top of that? We are pleased to seek out quite a few valuable information here within the submit, we want workout much more tactics during this respect, thank you for expressing.

  2. Hi, Jan and Lacey! I’m glad you got a little inspiration from my ruminations. It’s nice to have the structure of something like the Weight Watchers plan to keep your resolve strong–or to give you a re-start point when the plan slips away. It’s only a temporary slip up, that’s what I have to keep reminding myself. 🙂 Lacey, I think using a calendar is a great idea, actually–but you’re right, we need to remember that there’s always another day on the calendar where we can try, try again. 🙂

  3. What a great post, Caro! You are so right…we get so caught up in New Year’s resolutions, etc. Sometimes it’s hard to forget that our ‘first day’ of forming a new habit can start any day. Of course, there’s something about the way the numbers fall – I always seem to vow to myself that I will start on the first day of a month (like, I just promised myself yesterday that I would start writing every day – starting today – 1 Feb). Crazy huh? This was an inspiring post – thank you! Enjoy your day. 🙂

  4. Great post, Caro. I so agree. Each day is another chance to achieve our goals. One of my friends said, “It’s a revolution, not a resolution!” True change is hard, but we can do it. At least that’s what I keep telling myself as I track my Weight Watchers points. =)
    Thanks for the inspiration!

  5. Thanks for the compliment, Christyne, and I’m glad your hero is taking any chances when it comes to the heroine being his last chance!

    Lorelei–you’ve got that ABBA song stuck in my head now. Fortunately, that’s an awesome song.

  6. A great post, Caro! And while my current manuscript has “last chance” in the title and my poor hero thinks he’s might be staring at his last chance at happiness as he looks at my heroine, I too believe that “Take Chances” is a much better mantra! Well said!

    And yes, I too am still working on this new year’s goals…like exercise! 🙂

  7. Yay! I’m inspired! Love that line! I’ve been planning to go to that Zumba class since NOVEMBER! In Dec I said I would as soon as everyone went back to work/school. Nothing. Feb. 17 I WILL GO! I’ve had my Like Page unpublished since Aug. kept saying, next month, every time and tomorrow it’s finally becoming a reality. I’m Taking Chances! ♪♪ Take a chance, takeachance, takeachance on me…♫ Great post!

  8. I’m so glad you got a boost from reading this blog today–and good for you for going to the gym. I solemnly swear I will make a yoga class today. It’s more fun than laundry and dishes, anyway. 🙂

  9. Great post, Caro. I love turning “Last Chance” into “Take Chances.” And it’s so true, especially today in publishing. Thanks for the boost. I’m off to the gym 🙂 Happy New Year and WRITE ON!

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