Sunday, August 26, 2012

Are You Ever Too Old to Write a Novel?



Are You Ever Too Old to Write a Novel?


Even if you can remember using one of these, with the courage to jump into the digital revolution, you can write and publish a book. If you can’t overcome your techno-fears—hire a kid to help you.
Many people over sixty regard computers and social networking as something they don’t have to learn. They brag they don’t need it, claim it’s too difficult to learn, too expensive, and anyway, what do they need it for except skyping the grandkids?
Everyone has a book in them whether it’s a recipe collection, a life-story memoir, or genre novel. I started writing She’s Not There after I retired. It took me five years to complete.
When I joined a critique group, I found out getting a book published the traditional way by finding and agent and/or a publisher, could take up to twenty years! I didn’t have twenty years to spare, so I published my first eBook on my own.

Ten reasons to start writing after 50.
1.     Writing is great brain exercise. (See last week’s blog, below.)
2.     You’ll meet new friends with a common goal joining a writer’s critique group.
3.     It’s something you can do no matter how incapacitated you are. (If you can put together a jigsaw puzzle, play bingo, or watch TV, you can write!)
4.     Add some extra cash to your fixed income.
5.     You have more spare time now than you ever will.
6.     Unlike a “job,” you can take time off whenever you want.
7.     You’ll read other authors with a new respect and learn from them.
8.     You’ll always have an excuse. “No, I can’t today, I’m working on my novel.”
9.     There’s nothing like having a goal to work toward!
10. And nothing like the satisfaction you’ll get from completing an entire novel.

Dear friends,
This blog is dedicated to all of you readers, who, like me, have always been secretly plotting your own book in your daydreams. Make that dream come true by taking a first step no matter how small. I started by plotting my novel while I walked, then starting on chapter one. If I can do it, so can you!
Take care, have a great week, and keep daydreaming!
Marla

42 comments:

  1. Writer Dave Here.
    I love that picture of an old typewriter. It looks just like my old Underwood that I learned to type on. Ah, memories.
    Web of Guilt is in the proofreading and editing stage.
    I will be back to my blog stories soon, so you can have a laugh.
    Take Care and Keep Up The Informative Blog Articles.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm afraid I have to admit learning to type on one of those too! We're older than dirt, what can I say?
      Glad you're still working on the book, but miss the funny blog stories!
      Marla

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  2. I remember a quote from a writer saying "If you can't find the perfect book, you'll have to write it." but because I'm past sixty now, I can remember who said it. Anyway, my third came out this week, so I agree with you completely. However... remember to really know who you're writing for. Your target reader may not be someone you know all that well anymore. Thirty-somethings don't usually find the same things to enjoy about a book as someone who is just now starting college, or someone who retired years ago!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats on writing three! I write mainly for the over thirty crowd, but that's speculation on my part because it seems the younger readers prefer fantasy, vampires, sci-fi or combinations thereof. My characters tend to be 30 plus, and my books are suspense/mystery. So while not limited to the older reader, I believe they make up my largest audience.
      I still love to read suspense!
      Thanks for commenting, Richard!

      Delete
    2. I'll be 72 this month and have two published and three more in work. Just started in March this year. So yahoo! old folks can write. Even an old cowpoke like me. D.A.Grady/Storyteller

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  3. Great post, Marla. The first book in my humorous mystery series was published 3 months before my 60th birthday. Reading, marketing, and networking truly keep you alive and I swear I have more energy than people half my age. One interesting thing I've noticed is that as I'm maturing, my protagonist's sixty-two-year-old mother seems to be loosening up and having more and more fun in each subsequent book!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I love that you put a positive spin on it, Cindy! That it all keeps you alive rather than drives you crazy.
      Fun to have mom evolving with the other characters.
      Thanks for visiting and keep writing!
      Marla

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  4. I celebrated my 50th earlier this year, I'm still working full-time, running a home and raising a family (almost done) but still finding time to write.

    When I listen to the young people in my office, I feel I do three times as much in a day! I'm looking forward to getting to a stage where i can devote more time to my novel, but if it takes another twenty years so be it! I am a great believer in fate. Right place, right time.

    Good post, thank you.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congrats on hitting 50, Maria! You are facing quite the challenge, writing while still
      working and momming.
      You're right. You'll know when the time is right. Maybe you can hint for an iPad for
      Christmas, then you can carry it with you everywhere and write in between other events.
      Like me, you have to learn the fine art of writing amidst distractions! I'm still learning.
      Nice to meet you,
      Marla

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  5. I love reading the comments of others like ourselves. Best wishes to all and thanks for your optimism, Marla!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Martha!
      There are many days it's hard to be optimistic! So I like to make the most of the good
      things when they strike me. Glad you enjoyed reading my blog.
      Many thanks,
      Marla

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  6. Thank you! I follow you on Twitter as Shay Starcaller. (Don't tell anyone but I fall into this 50+ crowd - lol. My earlier published books lack what I can write now big time. A little old, a little more experiences.. you get the idea. Nice post and comments. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for visiting, Shay!
      Yes, there are a lot of us 50and overs that write. You're right! Our life experience is a big
      help for the creative process! I couldn't recall who you were until I noticed the green hair.
      Irish? Me too, and not just on St. Patty's day.
      Appreciate your kind words,
      Marla

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  7. Hi Marla and Thank you. Just love it when I turn a positive corner and read something like this. There's hope for us all! :D

    Ann :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There's hope! I think the creative process is a fulfilling challenge for us all. I'm not a positive
      person by nature and have to work on it, so I'm always happy when I discover something good
      (brain improvement) coming from something difficult (self-publishing).
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Marla

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  8. I know lots of authors who chose this as a second career. Some of them came to writing later in life, and others had always wanted to write but didn't have time earlier. If writing a novel is your dream, you're never too old to start. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I agree, Denise! And believe it is a wonderful new career after retiring. Older authors have a
      lifetime of experience to bring to their writing.
      Nice to hear from you, thanks for visiting,
      Marla

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  9. Thank you Marla!
    I'm 63 today... and you truly inspire me!
    Still working on a rewrite, but I will finish my book & someday soon will publish.
    Have a wonderful day!
    Thank you again...
    Marilyn

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Happy birthday, Marilyn!
      I have one coming up myself. Thinking about skipping it! Congratulations on reaching 63.
      Stick with it! SHE'S NOT THERE took me four years. Actually five since I'm having it edited
      once more. Just finishing my rewrite. Stick with it! Great to hear from you.
      Marla

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  10. Great entry, Marla! I started writing when I turned fifty. Since then I've written ten full-length novels and published five and one novella! This is something I couldn't have done in my twenties or thirties, because my life was just too congested. I've voluntarily retired myself and write full-time. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Chicki!
      Bet there's a story in how you got that cute name! Wow! You've accomplished a lot in your
      golden years! You can be my new role model. You're right. We'd never have done it when
      we were younger. So nice to have you stop in for a visit.
      Thanks,
      Marla

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  11. I've been wanting to write since I was in my teens and wrote a bunch of petry in my twenties. I always wanted to write sci-fi and just kept putting it off. Finally at 53 I put all my poetry together and published it at Amazon. That was in the beginning of this year. Since then I've written and published 8 more books averaging about one a month. All that pent up writing was finally released with a vengeance! I'm now working on my 9th book! You're never too old and you're as old as you feel. I'm still a teenager by the way! ¯\_(ツ)_/¯

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Afobos,
      I'm impressed that you write poetry! I tried it a few times on Fanstory (great site for poets, by the way), and know it is not easy to do. We tend to not make time for poetry but it can be very inspiring.
      Keep up the good work. 8 a month! Amazing!
      Take care and thanks for stopping by,
      Marla

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  12. Marla, I enjoyed your post re. writing over 50. I believe you're never too old to pursue your dreams. The average adult will have an avg. of five careers in their life. This is my third. And, as writers, we have to stick together and help each other because the publishing world has always been a difficult egg to crack. To me, talent is preceded by a good story. So if you have a story, tell it, worry about the semantics later. :)
    We follow each other on twitter feel free to follow my blogs at http://nowmotivated.blogspot.com & http://funwithmrwrong.wordpress.com.
    Ciao!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Cella,
      Good to hear from you! Writing is my fifth career, too. And the most fun despite my complaints about the publishing and marketing process. I agree about a good story! That's why I write--not for the money, glory, or awards, (not that they wouldn't be nice LOL) but to entertain. Nothing is more exciting to me than when someone tells me they loved my book and couldn't put it down.
      Have a great weekend,
      Marla

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  13. I'm going on 59 and have 2 novels written, but not published - tried conventional route, but like you, just don't have time (well I plan to live for ever, but....) So my novel goes up on Amazon this autumn, assuming the editor is kind, and doesn't want me to totally re-write.... I still have day-job, but feel more myself when closeted with my characters. They become real, and are great company!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Madeline,
      I'm excited to find out how much company I have! Occasionally people ask me if I'd be thrilled to
      have a publisher approach and want to take over my books; I disappoint them by saying, don't think
      so! As an Indie, we get to do as we please, don't we? I'm happy for you that you're doing it! Listen to
      your editor, but only make the changes you agree with. I just had my novel re-proofed/editted and made about 95% of her suggested changes. I did find out I'd been wedded to the word, "that".
      Yes, characters are great company. Too bad writing is such a lonely profession! Stay in touch,
      Marla

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  14. So here's another compatriot! I started writing on a typewrite like the one you show (mine was a portable), but I've been writing on the computer since 2000 - a liberating experience. I wrote for myself, without trying to publish, because I went down that path of rejection years ago and didn't like it. About this time last year, I thought, my books are going to die with me if I don't start something soon, so I began querying agents. After three months, I decided I would also die before I could get an agent, so now I also am self-publishing. I've published four books (science fiction) and have more at the ready. It's the promotion that's tough - finding the right audience. But I just keep on keeping on! I won't give up!
    BTW, thanks for the follow on Twitter!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Lorinda,
      So nice to hear from you! Congrats for all those books you've finished! I think self-pubbing is the wave of the future. What I had to learn the hard way was to make sure I had a "polished" product, so my second novel is in the hands of an editor/proofer. Hope to have it on by October. I agree, it's the marketing that's the hardest. I use blogging and Twitter for my marketing, mostly because those are the two I found the least annoying! But I must say, it took some time, but now I feel I've met some wonderful peers. Love your attitiude, Lorinda!
      Marla
      P.S. My first typewriter (although I learned on one like the one above) was a Smith-Corona portable, not even electric!

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    2. Great article Marla and so true.

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  15. Super article about age and writing. Here I sit contemplating retirement, and regretting the fact that I found writing so very late. I find solace in the adage, 'better late tan never.'' however, I still wish it had been a bit earlier. Finished my first middle grade fantasy and working on book two. Thank you. You are a fine example, and I appreciate it.
    Jeanne
    http://warriorechidna.blogspot.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. HI Jeanne,
      So nice to hear from you! I agree about better late than never. I wish I'd started sooner too; then I wouldn't have to spend so much time polishing skills like grammar and style! Oh, and tense. I have the advantage of being in a writer's group which helps, but still working on my writing style.
      Happy to hear you've gotten started! Good luck with the books and keep writing.
      Have a great weekend,
      Marla

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  16. Not sure about number 4, Marla but it's a nice list. I'm 50 next year but as yet unpublished so for me it would be a case of reasons to try to be published after 50 rather than reasons to start writing...

    I'm not sure how it is in the States but here in Australia it's a small writing community (relatively speaking) and EVERYONE SEEMS TO BE REALLY YOUNG.

    Ahem.

    You came up on my twitter feed, so I thought I'd come and comment.

    Happy writing!

    Melba

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Melba!
      I'm not too sure about #4 either! Although by using the KDP free days, I managed to make enough to cover the expenses of my second novel. Something, anyway.
      I'm in a writers group (I live in a small town) and I am the oldest, but not by a lot. Our youngest is near 40, I think. So not a real young group. I think there are a lot of us, the trick is to find them. Donna White Glaser, who started our group, ran an ad in the paper and at the local library. Maybe you should try it and start your own group. It's helped me enormously. Also the group encouraged me to self-pub on Amazon and Smashwords.
      It's exciting to see your book published, even if you did it yourself! My only advice would be to pay someone else to format it, and proof it if possible.
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Marla

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    2. Hi Marla, I'm 68 and have RA. I published my first book last year and am just polishing the 2nd one due out this month. Couldn't agree more with what you have to say.

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  17. Marla, your are correct...it is never too late to write. Glad to see you blog. Keep writing and publishing. Best!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks, Sabra!
      I have a cold today and not feeling very creative!
      Happy to hear from you and have you visit my blog. Yes, I'm keeping at it! Three projects going,
      and hopefully, my second suspense novel will be finished soon.
      Nice to meet you,
      Marla

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  18. I love the excuse, "I can't I'm writing tonight." I'm not retired yet, but I still love the excuse! And I agree, you are never too old to write a novel.

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  19. Thanks for these inspirational words! I started my novel-writing career a month after turning fifty, and I have not given up yet! I signed up for NaNoWriMo and that was a very good way to get started. This was 2011, and currently I am revising my draft, and I at least have one fan (my wife, who is reading the chapters on her phone while commuting to work).

    Perhaps it would be wise to participate in a critique group. Do you have any hints where I can find such a group?

    Best regards from Sweden and Linköping.

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    Replies
    1. HI Ola!
      So nice to hear from you. Congrats on doing NaNoWriMo. Takes bravery! Glad it helped
      you get started in your writing career.
      I've been in a group for four years, and never would have got started without it! Try advertising
      for other authors in your local library. If you write mystery, Sisters-in-Crime will set you up with
      other writers looking for a group. Actually, I think the other genres have online groups you can
      join that will help you find an online group if you can't find one in your area.
      Thanks for stopping by,
      Marla

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