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.”