I didn’t really start writing until I semi-retired, which gave me more time to pursue my dream of producing a novel. Since I started this process over five years ago, I’ve had many doubts about my sanity and the wisdom of starting a writing career later in life. A FogCon Panel on It’s Never Too Late to Be a Writer gave me inspiration and encouragement. There’s a ton of talent and wisdom among older writers.
I have to admit, I had no idea what I was getting into. I had a story to tell, so i thought I would write it and publish. No big deal. I was surprised at my ignorance of the publishing industry and overwhelmed at the responsibilities of launching a website, blogging, keeping up on social media and finding time to write. Here’s where my many years of project planning, computer work and juggling multiple projects paid off. I’m too stubborn to give up and I do well under deadlines, so I pushed forward, learning along the way and improving my craft in the process.
Sometimes people ask if I regret ‘wasting’ all those decades before I learned to believe in my writing and take it seriously. No, I tell them, I was gestating, amassing experience and material I tap into when writing my poems today.Rebecca Foust
I won’t deny, there are some amazingly talented twenty-something writers out there, but I wasn’t one of them. What has given me the ability to develop realistic characters and plot depth has been my own successes, heartbreaks and challenges that came from living life beyond halftime. Think of yourself as a seasoned athlete, one who knows the moves that succeed, the odds of defeat and how to create an edge over your opponents. Your characters and plots will reflect the range of emotions and life experiences that have shaped your journey.
Need some inspiration? Here’s some authors that started their careers later in life:
- J.R.R. Tolkein – 45
- Richard Adams – 52
- Annie Proulx – 57
- Frank McCourt – 66
- Harriett Doerr – 78
Every man should lose a battle in his youth, so he does not lose a war when he is old.George R. R. Martin — A Feast of Crows
In the end it comes down to you and the story you have to tell that’s unique to you and your life experience. Your years on the planet can only make it richer and more exciting. Drop the doubts and start writing.