Monday, February 24, 2014

There is no Age Limit for Pursuing Your Dreams

I'm turning over my blog to a guest blogger who has caught my eye. She has a unique style that captures the reader with a friendly "hello" and "let's sit and chat" manner. I hope you enjoy this post as much as I did.

Writing is an incredibly unique profession, it is perhaps one of the few careers that really does get better with age.  In today’s extreme youth oriented society, it is shocking to suggest that there is some benefit to getting older, but in terms of being a writer, age has a great many advantages.  After years working in healthcare and education, I decided it was time to do what I had always dreamed of and become a full time writer.  This has not been without some struggles, but I believe that right now is the best time for me to jump into writing with both feet.

Best-selling writer Elizabeth Gilbert is quoted saying “Writing is not like dancing or modelling; it’s not something where if you missed it by age 19 you’re finished.  It’s never too late.  Your writing will only get better as you get older and wiser.”  Using all of your life experience in your writing gives your work a richness and depth that is earned through all of the things you have learned along the way.   I am not suggesting that there are no good young writers, but there are a great many mature writers who had added so much to the literary world. 

The average age for a first published book in this country is 42.  My first book was published when I was 38 years old, so I beat the average just slightly.  After taking a few years off I am ready to jump back into the writing world and at almost 50 years old, I am in good company.  There are quite a few literary late bloomers like me.  One of my favorite authors, Claire Cook, likes to boast that she was writing her first novel at 45 and at 50 she was walking the red carpet as her book was turned in to a highly successful Hollywood movie.  She is living the writing fairy tale that many writers aspire to.  The unifying theme of all of her books is reinvention, an idea that seems to resonate with so many of us as we get older.  At 45 Cook is in good company.  Wildly popular author Janet Evanovich did not publish her first book until age 44.  Helen Dewitt also published the highly successful The Last Samurai at age 44.  These are not even some of the older authors that I discovered.  As a child I loved reading the Little House on the Prairie books.  I would read and share these books with my friends.  I was astonished to learn that Laura Ingalls Wilder did not even begin writing her stories until the age of 44 and she was first published at the age of 64.  My childhood would not have been the same if Ms. Inglls Wilder thought she was too old to try something new.  After leaving the teaching profession, Frank McCourt first published a book in his mid-sixties 

There has never been a better time to write and publish a book.  As the popularity of ebooks continues to grow exponentially, authors have so many choices for publication.  There are unending technology tools and resources available for writers.  No longer do authors have to spend days at the local library, trying to read old microfiche films, now just a few clicks on your lap top can yield the research needed for your latest book setting.  If you don’t want to go the traditional route of an agent and a publishing house, Indie publishing firms abound.  Once a book is written, authors have a plethora of marketing tools at their disposal through a whole host of social media platforms.  The tools for writing have improved so much, anyone with a computer and enough motivation can become a writer – at any age.

Laurie Jake is a self-described writer, dreamer and child at heart.  Her unique insights on emotions and behavior come from her many roles as a wife, mother, sister and former middle school teacher.  Laurie wrote her first book in 2001.  Laurie lives in Arizona with her incomparable fiancĂ© and three unruly dogs.

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