Too OLD to become a writer?
Are you too old to become a writer?
I asked myself this question a few years ago when I began taking fiction writing seriously, with the hopes that one day it might become something more than a hobby.
Now, I’m not saying I’m old, but I’m 39, which isn’t exactly young. I was 35 when I started writing for real, every day, setting goals, etc. Before that, I wrote film scripts that I produced myself with no money. But I realized I just enjoyed telling stories, so I turned to writing fiction and never looked back.
But still, the idea of starting a new form of writing, a new form of art, at my age was a little daunting. So I sat back and thought about it, did some digging into famous authors and I found that…
You are never too old to become a writer.
I thought how writing compared to other highly sought-after careers—dream-come-true type careers that lots of people aspire to but a painfully minuscule amount ever achieve.
A lot of careers involve youth. Or at least really benefit from youth. For instance, say you are 45 years old and you realize you’ve been watching NFL football your whole life, you’re in great shape, and have a great throwing arm. You dream of becoming an NFL quarterback, the next Tom Brady. Well, unfortunately, if you’re already 45 years old, not only are you not going to be the next Tom Brady, you have about a 0.0001% chance or less of making it to the NFL. Some dreams are just that, dreams, unattainable fantasies.
But writing is different. No matter how old you are, there is still a chance you will find success. Or, at least, an audience.
I’d venture to say that a little age is GOOD for a writer. People might take you more seriously if you’re a bit more mature. Plus, as a writer, you need your own experiences to draw from. I think back to my 20s and I shudder at how much of that time I wasted on silly drama or doing dumb shit.
But all that drama and dumb shit you did in your past is the future fuel for your storytelling. Even the worst years you lived through can become the basis for your next great novel. Writing is all about pulling details from your own life and putting them into a fictional narrative…if you’ve never really lived, you’ll have nothing to write about.
Besides, there is an endless list of famous authors, prolific authors, household name authors—that didn’t publish their first book until their later years.
Bram Stoker didn’t write Dracula until he was 50. Granted, that was a long time ago.
Anthony Burgess published his first novel at 39. Then later went on to write A Clockwork Orange.
Richard Adams published Watership Down at age 52 and enjoyed almost immediate success.
There are plenty more examples. Like the JK Rowlings of the world who went from rags to riches. I’m not going to bore you by listing a ton of different authors, but you easily can look them up for inspiration.
It’s a great time to be an artist in general. The internet allows you to connect with people in a way that authors from the past never dreamed of. And even if you only find a few people who enjoy your stories…that’s more than some beloved authors ever had while they were alive. Imagine if Edgar Allen Poe or H.P. Lovecraft could have posted their stories online…instead, they never became icons until long after their deaths.
Writing is the true form of timeless art. It transcends lifetimes. It existed long before television and Netflix and movie theaters. And every film or show or play starts with a writer.
So, yes, I think it is worthwhile to pursue writing as a career, a hobby, a goal, whatever you wanna call it, even if you’re getting up there in age.
Anyway, that’s about it. Hopefully this helps inspire any of you that might be out there, wondering if it’s too late. I say do it. Whatever kind of art you want to produce. I know that since I started writing it’s given me a jumpstart in life, a little kick in the ass to stop being lazy, stop wasting my time, and try to achieve something. And it’s fun sharing some of my journey and this thought process with all of you. So thank you for reading. And if you do decide to go ahead and write something or create some piece of art, please let me know so I can check it out.