Here’s a question. It bugs me. Perhaps it bugs you too. I’m well past my first flush of youth, and life passes at a terrifying lightning pace. Do you feel that there’s not enough time left to accomplish all your goals? Do you feel that, (being realistic, not sexist), as a woman, you get far too little time to write? Is it any easier if you’re male?
An author I greatly admire, Virginia Woolf, said in her essay, A room of one’s own, (free e-book link), ‘a woman must have money and a room of her own if she is to write fiction.’ I’ll be fine when the remodelling is done, but up till now, I’ve made do.
How do you sit with that one?
No question we’re living in a youth-obsessed society. We celebrate and idolize young people who succeed in sports, business, and the arts. Facebook and Twitter feeds go viral with videos of impossibly young people doing impossibly impressive things. It stands to reason that we writers – who are, let’s face it, an insecure species, might feel some pressure to succeed before… well, before it’s too late.
Tick! Tick! Tick!
Is it too late? Am I too old to be published? Did I miss my shot?
SO IF YOU’RE A WRITER, DOES AGE MATTER?
Some say not as much as you think. But ageism is real. It exerts pressure on us in many aspects of our lives. But does it have to have that big an effect on us as writers? Maybe there actually are advantages to being an older writer. Huh? Say again!
They actually occasionally have panels at writing conferences with discussions such as “Debuting Over 40.” And if you look around at conferences, not everyone is young and incredibly attractive. Some are even older that we are!
I’m a big fan of Rosamunde Pilcher who successfully debuted at…80!! (After a successful media career). And if you check the link you’ll see she went on to write copious novels, most of which I’ve read.
So…is there any advantage to debuting after 40?
By the time we sit down and seriously write, many of us have been through some pretty major highs and lows: illness, death, war, job failures and successes, raising children, moving house, time in the ‘clink’, a bad relationship – or two, or three, or four. All of this informs our world view, along with our writing.
Love that image!
WRITERS ARE A SPECIES APART
Nora Roberts is a chain-smoking 65-year-old grandmother.
Clive Cussler is 84 and people still buy his books, even though now ghost writers do the writing, I hear.
Janet Evanovich is 72
James Patterson is 68.
Readers don’t seem to think any of them are too old to write something they’d like to read. And Patterson published his first novel at the age of 29, but he didn’t quit his day job and start writing full time until he was 49.
- How about you? Are you young, gorgeous and a successful author?
- Do you sometimes wonder if it’s worth trying to have a successful writing career?
- Do you think age matters if you’re a writer?
- If you’re a successful mature writer, do you have any tips for those less successful than you are?