Writing While Old

I had another birthday recently and celebrated two years of retirement a couple of days ago. I’m starting to think of myself as “older,” if not actually old. It seems most of the writers in my corner of the blogosphere are middle-aged or older. Younger writers must hang out somewhere else.

I knew all my life I wanted to write. Scenes and dialogue snippets would materialize in my mind, no doubt inspired by all the reading I did at the time. I kept a journal for decades, starting at age 13. I wrote poetry in my teens (who doesn’t?) and a little novel as a school project. I wrote essays and assigned papers in college, and memos and reports for my job. But I thought the only way to become a real writer was to make it a career choice at an early age, get a creative writing degree, live in a garret, and do nothing but write and hobnob with other writers. I missed my chance to do any of those things, so would never be a writer.

Until November 2000, when I finally thought, “Why not? Who’s going to stop me?” I had been nursing an idea for a novel for a couple of years. One day I started writing and haven’t stopped. The thrill of creation helped me finish that novel and write four more while I was still working full time. After diligent attempts to get published traditionally, I decided the only way that would happen was posthumously. The self-pub option came along just in time, as did blogging.

Am I a real writer? You bet. Am I a professional writer? No. I am lucky enough to have an adequate pension, so I have no need to make a living from my writing. (A good thing, too.) I have the freedom to decide what I write, and how I promote my writing. With time at my disposal, I can draw upon the experience, insights and wisdom of a lifetime to explore relationships and situations and spin them into stories.

Like most writers, old and not so old, self- or otherwise published, I write for the love of it. Some of the benefits are:

Learning stuff. I’ve learned how to create plots and characters, do research, rewrite and edit. I’ve learned how to wrestle Word documents into forms that can be turned into ebooks and printed books. I’ve put together some half-decent cover images. And I’ve maintained this blog for several years.

Personal connections. I’ve been a member of my local writers’ society since 2003, and several critique groups. That gets me out of the house and face to face with other writers and gives me the opportunity to read some of their writing and offer (I hope) helpful suggestions. I’ve also met some wonderful people through their blogs. (You know who you are).

An Active Mind. To keep my aging brain active, writing beats watching television, doing crossword puzzles, or working “brain gym” games. See “Learning stuff” above.

Books. Written, rewritten, edited, published, and available to readers. Unlike my younger self, thinking how I would never be a writer, now I am one.

Spark the imagination! Light that fire!

 

Fire adj2

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36 comments

    1. I was swept up with enthusiasm for my first book and got pretty much obsessed with the characters and their stories for five years. Then a couple of years later I went through another happy obsession and wrote novel #5, which I haven’t published as yet. Thanks for your comment, Priscilla, and good luck with your writing.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I’m there with you sister (except of having written actual books,. published or not). I consider myself a writer even though it’s mostly blogs and the odd article for various library or other associations I have volunteered for. Now to write the next chapter (metaphorically and literally)
    Pat

    Liked by 3 people

  2. Inspiring, Audrey. And I’m definitely in your corner. I started writing when I was fairly young and never got up the courage to stop (if that makes sense!), so that now it’s such a big part of who I am that I can’t imagine not doing it.

    Here’s to all you’ve accomplished, and to all the books you have yet to write!

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Having had a ‘big’ birthday a few months ago, I can certainly relate to your writing journey. It really has been a steep learning curve, especially around self-publication and marketing – which I refer to as the dark side’. Even after one goes through the agony of listing on Amazon, Kobo, Smashwords or whatever, it’s difficult to gain gain recognition with so much out there. What I have discovered is the incredible array of writing talent (yourself included) right here in Victoria. My critique group provides inspiration and affords an ongoing learning opportunity. I appreciate and look forward to your blog posts. They help keep me grounded and focused on what’s important. It’s all bout the writing!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I agree, John: the writing comes first. There’s no point in spending time and energy on marketing if you don’t have great books to market. I’m glad to hear you find my blog inspiring. That inspires me to keep on posting!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Loved your post! I, too, am “older” although I am still working. I have wanted to write since I was a teenager, but whether because of laziness or fear, have never really accomplished it. I started a blog here a few days ago with the hope of easing myself into the habit.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Laziness and fear are big. I know that. Somehow the word “writer” has a kind of aura around it, like you need to be anointed or something. Starting a blog is a great idea. It gives you a place to show your writing without making a huge committment like writing a novel.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. A great post, Audrey. Thanks for sharing. I started writing every day in my mid twenties, and I’m now in my early sixties. Out of 30+ years of writing nearly everyday, only 3 of those years were devoted to fulltime writing. I enjoyed the experience, but chose to go back to work part time with no regrets. I’ve never depended on writing for my income and like you, it’s given me the freedom to choose to write what I want. Now that my mother has dementia, I’ve realized that how important it is for me to keep going. Writing is a wonderful way to maintain brain health.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Getting out and moving around is essential. Five miles is an impressive walking distance! I wrestle things in the garden. Good ideas turn up occasionally; the trick is to write them down before they flit away.
      Thanks for reading and commenting.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. At school being a writer was hardly presented as a career choice – but has it ever been. I talked about writing a book and a discovery in the loft of forgotten scribbles proves I did write something! But not till everyone had left home and I joined a writing group did I take it seriously. The next big change was realising I could be am Indie Author and I vowed to cease my search for agents and carry on writing whatever I like…

    Liked by 2 people

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