Age: Are You Too Old to Write?

“How old would you be if you didn’t know how old you were?”  –Satchel Paige

I had two new students last week mention that they were probably too old to start writing. I’d like to debunk that myth. It’s never too late to get started! It’s always a good time to tackle a new dream.

What’s Age Got To Do With It?

Jessica Tandy won the Academy Award for Best Actress at age eighty. James Michener didn’t write his first novel until age forty-two, then produced a gazillion bestsellers before he died at age ninety. Laura Ingalls Wilder’s first Little House book was published when she was 65. There’s a woman in my neighborhood who can out-run me, and she’s at least seventy. I started biking last year (that’s me in the picture), and while my no frills bike (foot brakes, one speed) marks me as old, I can pass younger people going up hills.

Youth isn’t everything–not in physical endeavors, nor mental ones. Certainly not in writing!

Experience Rules!

Become comfortable with your current age, even if it’s not what you wish it were. You have tremendous writing potential because you’ve lived long enough to have learned a lot. You have life experience! By now you’ve been in the work force in one career or more. You’ve raised children–enough material there alone to last a lifetime!

Some years ago I had an elderly student (70′s) who wrote beautiful historical fiction lifted straight out of her childhood–a la Laura Ingalls Wilder. She loved doing it! She didn’t have to do any research, yet her descriptions were superb and rich with detail because she drew on her personal experiences.

Time’s a Wastin’

If writing and publishing are aspirations for you–but you’ve come to it later in life than others–please don’t let that stop you. If you come to the end of your life, will you be disappointed that you didn’t try? I think you will.

You have the same qualities that drive younger writers: creativity,  perseverance, and a passion to succeed. You may not have as much energy, but you probably have a much larger pool of ideas and experiences to draw from. You may also have more time to choose what to do now that children have grown and flown the coop.

Don’t be afraid to start something new at any stage of life. Chances are good that, if you apply yourself like any other writer, it’s not too late to succeed.

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