This week, I celebrated another anniversary of my 40th birthday. At this point in the game, these occasions are a good opportunity to reflect on the past and look forward to the future. You are over the hump, with more years behind you than ahead.

I try not to spend too much time looking behind. There’s nothing I can do to change my decisions, good or bad, so all I can do is take away lessons and hopefully keep more marks in the good column than in the other. I’m fond of saying, “It is what it is.”

With a dwindling number of years ahead, I focus on what I’d like to do in the time remaining, my “bucket” list, if you will. I’m working on my fifth book, planning on releasing it by the end of the year. I love writing, and learn something new about the craft every day, and with every conversation I have with other writers. That’s one of the things that attracts me, is the idea that you never “get there.” It’s truly a journey, and you try to improve with each sentence, but never feel like it’s quite good enough.

Just like every writer, I dream of the big leagues. In my case, a New York Times Bestseller. I realize the odds are probably not much better than the lottery, but it’s still nice to ponder.

But the real reward is to have a stranger buy your novel, read it, and gush about how much they liked it and how they couldn’t put it down. That, my friends, is what drives me. And to those who do that, I say, “Thank you, from the bottom of my heart.”

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