Late blooming writers

This post is for everyone over 50 who thinks it’s too late to take up writing. I didn’t take it seriously until I saw my 60th  looming on the horizon and I knew if I was going to do anything interesting with this part of my life, I’d better get busy. Fast.

I jumped in with both feet and never looked back. After I got a few chapters into a children’s story I realized I had no idea where I was going and how to get there. So I spent the next year researching, trying to understand the structure of a plot and how to create characters. I studied archetypes and astrological signs; what makes a good protagonist and worthy antagonist.

Since my book, Guardian Cats, is seen through the eyes of cats, I did extensive research into cat behavior, including cat body language, cat whisperers and a whole host of YouTube cat videos. My collage of delicious bookmarks ranges from such diverse studies as The World Egg Throwing Federation, pirates and bullies, raccoons, talking parrots and pet psychics.

My computer, driven to its limits, crashed and burned. I lost all my research, photos and and half my files. I slogged on, determined that I wouldn’t drop the ball. There was no turning back, especially after a year of sleep deprivation that it took to study this fascinating craft.

The more I studied, the more I was hooked. Whenever thoughts crept into my mind like– ‘You’re too late! Too old. You should have kept up your writing when you started years ago. Then you’d be somewhere now…’–I slammed the door in their faces. Threw rotten tomatoes, eggs, anything handy, at those whiny, demonic little beings.

The thing is, my previous attempts at writing were childish and immature…when I was a mere 20, 30, 40 years old.  I like to think that all my living counts for something and that being over the hill a late bloomer might actually help.

Here are a few tips for other late blooming writers.

  • Read like crazy. Haunt libraries, bookstores, Amazon and GoodReads.
  • Study the craft of writing like you are attending a university.  Take it seriously, but keep it fun, if that makes any sense.
  • Throw rotten eggs at your demons.
  • Patience and determination will be your best companions.
  • Write without expectations. Write because you love it.  Like my mentor, Ray Bradbury, says:
“Write only what you love, and love what you write. The key word is love. You have to get up in the morning and write something you love, something to live for.”

11 thoughts on “Late blooming writers

  1. I will be 78 in 2 months and find the meaning of life at this age is to feel passionate about some activity…than all one has to do is follow this energy…and the details will fall naturally in place.

    1. Very well put, Sid. It’s that flow thing, isn’t it?

      I never knew what I wanted to be when I grew up. Now it’s more like how you state it here. Finding and following your passion. It’s easier now and I feel like everything in my life has led to this place so nothing, not even what I might want to consider ‘lost time’, is wasted.

  2. Rahma,

    It is never too late to do what we love. You are an inspiration–and a talented one at that.

    Sometimes I think we need to mature ourselves before we can be effective. I know I would never have cut it in front of the public four years ago when I first started submitting my longer fiction.

    I’m actually thankful for those polite rejections of my past, because I’m a much stronger writer now than I have ever been.

    Best of luck in reaching your dreams…and we are never too old to dream are they?

    1. Best of luck to you as well. You have also been an inspiration to me in the way you engage with your readers, i.e. Blog and AQ.

      The public? Like emerging from our warm cozy den and talking to real people?

  3. Thank you for the inspiraion, Sid. I have been writing on the web for 4 years now. I’m 59 soon to be 60. It wasn’t until last year, I realized what I want to do with the rest of my life…write!

    The realization didn’t come too late. I have a lot of years and a lot of words left in me. Thanks, again.

    1. Thomas: Thanks for stopping by. I’m glad you found your passion for writing. I’m having more fun now than I ever did when I was younger. And I have lots more to write about!

  4. This blog was clearly aimed at me. I’m over 50, and my writing is immature. But I’m afraid it will have to remain so – because I am too. I’d hoped that I would grow up a bit since my first efforts during my twenties; but I haven’t – not deep down inside anyway. So my silliness must remain, and hopefully always shall do. Just think – there are people in the world who have my books: Does that make me immortal?

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