Tag Archives: older writers

Writing After Age 50–It’s Never Too Late.

It wasn’t until I took a children’s literature course in college that I discovered the “Little House” books written by Laura Ingalls Wilder. The series was published decades earlier between 1932 and 1943. I was a late bloomer joining the Little House Fan Club. Laura was a late bloomer herself. She published the first book, Little House in the Big Woods, when she was 64.

Maybe, like Laura, you are older than 50 and thinking about writing a book. It could be you don’t know where to begin and the path to publication feels overwhelming. Talent has no expiration date. You are never too old to learn.

Henry Ford said—
“Anyone who stops learning is old, whether at twenty or eighty. Anyone who keeps learning stays young. The greatest thing in life is to keep your mind young.”

There are advantages to being an older writer.

  • You’ve collected years of life experiences younger writers might not have, for example growing into a deeper relationship with your spouse through years of marriage, raising your children to adulthood, making it through heart-wrenching valleys and soaring to the heights of celebration.
  • If you are a reader, you’ve likely read thousands of books equalling thousands of examples of good and bad writing.
  • You have more time now to write than when you were younger.

So, where to begin?
First, think about these questions:

What do you want to write?
Why do you want to write?
What rewards to you expect from writing?
Think about the skills and talents you acquired that moved you forward from your first job to where you are today. How might you apply those to starting a new career as a writer?

Next, recognize that writing for publication is a business. It takes work, ambition and fortitude to get published. Most important, it requires learning. Study and learn the steps to getting published traditionally or by self publishing. There are many guides online to get you started.

One of the best resources, in my opinion, is Jane Friedman’s web site. Jane is a writer and consultant with more than twenty years experience in the publishing industry. You will find tons of free advice and resources on her page.

Remember to stay current. Avoid boarding the mental time machine that spits out phrases like, “When I was young . . . back then . . . I remember when . . .” Don’t put a date stamp on your forehead. Even if you plan to write a memoir or an historical novel find an angle that feels new, fresh and exciting. Keep up with current trends. Connect with younger writers who can provide you with a fresh look at writing and publishing in the 21st century.

Finally, set realistic expectations, and stay positive. You’ve worked hard all your life. This is your time now. Enjoy writing. Love it at its core. Author, Annie Proulx, said, “You should write because you love the shape of stories and sentences and the creation of different words on a page.” Write for the joy of writing.

“No one has ever achieved anything from the smallest to the greatest unless the dream was dreamed first.” —Laura Ingalls Wilder

You’ve dreamed of being a writer. It’s never too late to get started turning that dream into reality.

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