Notes from An Alien

~ Explorations In Reading, Writing & Publishing ~

Tag Archives: Too Old to Write a Book?

Too Old to Be a Debut Writer?


Last week I wrote the post, Too Old to Write a Book?

Older Debut Authors

Lady Justice image courtesy of Carlos Sillero ~ http://www.freeimages.com/photographer/cwsillero-48168

Here’s just a bit of what it said:

“…my Best Friend published her first novel at 50 and I, in spite of a life-long love of words didn’t get busy writing seriously till my mid-50s.”

“‘Age-based awards are outdated and discriminatory, even if unintentionally so. Emerging writers are emerging writers.’”

“Do you think youth has some special ingredient that helps writers but disappears as one ages?”

So, the other day, I discovered an article on Publishing Perspectives called, UK Group to Fight Bias Against Older Debut Authors.

The article’s written by Dennis Abrams, author of more than 30 YA biographies and histories.

Dennis says:

“When did forty become the cut-off age for discussing ‘promising’ debut authors?”

Then, he discloses that there’s “…a new writers group: the Prime Writers: ‘a group of about 50 authors who were over 40 when their debut novel was published. The group spans many genres, publishers and locations; some of us have agents, others don’t; what links us is that many journalists, event organizers and book prize administrators think we’re getting on a bit.’”

The quote within that last quote is from the 48-year-old author Claire Fuller.

Here’s a bit from the Prime Writers blog:

“Whether you’re looking for your next read, assembling a panel for an event, or simply seeking inspiration for your own aspirations, The Prime Writers is your gateway to a wealth of talent and expertise.  Browse the list of writers, discover the many ways of working with us, or keep up with news from a favourite writer.  We want to hear from you too, through the comments function on the site and email theprimewriters@gmail.com.”

Later in Dennis’ article, Claire says:

““It’s not only event organizers we want to re-educate – it’s also the many older writers who think their time has passed. If they read some of the Prime Writers’ tweets, our public Facebook messages or our website; if they can see a photograph of a debut author who is over 40, wrinkles and all, and feel inspired to keep going, then I’ll be happy with what we’ve done.”

It seems appropriate to replicate some of the other questions I asked last week:

“Do you know ’emerging’ writers over 40?”

“Over 50?”

“60?”

“Are the experiences garnered in five or six decades more valuable than the ones plucked in the spring of life?”

“Is it somehow ‘wrong’ to take the whole of middle-age to finish writing a book?”

“Does our literate culture over-value youth?”

Care to share what you think or feel in the Comments?
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Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
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To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com

Too Old to Write a Book?


Yesterday, my Best Friend sent me a link to an article from Overland, authored by Melissa Fagan, a Brisbane-based writer, writing teacher, and MPhil candidate in Creative Writing at the University of Queensland.

Too Old to Write a Book?

Image Courtesy of mihai radu ~ http://www.freeimages.com/profile/mihairadu

The article is entitled Not Dead Yet.

I found it intensely absorbing since my Best Friend published her first novel at 50 and I, in spite of a life-long love of words didn’t get busy writing seriously till my mid-50s.

The first point made by Melissa (quoting from a New York Times op-ed) is:

“‘Age-based awards are outdated and discriminatory, even if unintentionally so. Emerging writers are emerging writers.’”

Melissa had outed herself as an “emerging writer” who’s over 35

She brings up the disturbing trend that assumes 40 is some sort of “obvious” cut-off age for a writer’s spark and verve

She also shares a compelling list of authors who quash that idea

Another excerpt:

“There are all sorts of trajectories a writing journey can take, and a writer’s emergence can be stymied or delayed by any number of things. Lack of opportunity or education. Disability or addiction. Physical or mental illness. Choosing, or being forced into, a primary caring role. Being consumed by a demanding career, or by a sense of obligation – to one’s parents perhaps, or one’s community – to meet a prescribed set of expectations. Or, as Stephanie Convery has written about with honesty and eloquence, a writer may be thwarted by her own demons: by jealousy, anxiety, or an unwillingness to fail.”

She poignantly reveals her own struggles, then says:

“Do we honestly think that it’s harder for young writers to be published, to break out or break through, to emerge to wherever or whatever the hell it is we’re emerging to? Or is there something else at play: a doubling down perhaps, or a doubling up? A preference for precocity that, when examined, starts to look a lot like prejudice.”

Do you know “emerging” writers over 40?

Over 50?

60?

Do you think youth has some special ingredient that helps writers but disappears as one ages?

Are the experiences garnered in five or six decades more valuable than the ones plucked in the spring of life?

Is it somehow “wrong” to take the whole of middle-age to finish writing a book?

Does our literate culture over-value youth?

One of Melissa’s commenters:

“Thank you for this. I’m trying to be an emerging writer and I’m 44. I’ve been trying to fit this in around a chronic illness that developed when I was 29, and I can also relate to your personal aspects of discouragement and lack of resilience….”

Another commenter:

“Why all this fixation on writing processes, I wonder? Just write the stuff, if that’s your wont, and dwell on all the other bullshit not.”

And:

“…I waited until now, when I have four small children, too many pets, and everyone needs clean clothes and food, several times a day, and here I am, finding the moments to scratch out stories. It’s less to do with youth and more to do with when you’re ready.”

Perhaps you have thoughts or feelings to share in the Comments (about you or someone you know)?
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Read Some Strange Fantasies
Grab A Free Novel…
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
To Leave A Comment, Use The Link At The Top-Right of The Post :-)
For Private Comments or Questions, Email: amzolt {at} gmail {dot} com