Pitfalls for the Older Writer
How to survive writing after fifty
Older writers do have advantages: more life experience to draw from, more free time, no 9 to 5 schedule competing with writing, and, writing for most older authors, is not something we expect to support us.
The older writer faces a few problems that tend to be less challenging for his/her younger counterparts.
1. Sit-itis – Sit-itis is a chronic disease, which, left untreated, will wreak havoc with things like overweight, arthritis, diabetes and circulation. Take time at least every half-hour to move. Finish a chore, mail a letter, anything that gets you moving for at least five minutes. Set an alarm if necessary.
2. Techno-impairment – Unlike people who grew up in the last thirty years, we older writers didn’t touch a computer until we were in our forties, and then approached the experience as we would a trip to the dentist. If you don’t enjoy trial and error, take a class. Or enlist a younger relative to help out. Most senior centers have computer classes. Take advantage! Don’t let the cyber world pass you by or drive you to distraction. Exercise your brain a little, it’ll improve your memory.
3. Peer dumping – Most friends will be supportive and encouraging of your writing career, but sometimes even the most well-meaning will give you a bad case of the ‘I shoulds.’ I should be out golfing, babysitting grandkids, traveling in a motor home, learning to knit, or playing cards at the senior center. Don’t let the ‘I shoulds’ get you down. Make time for the things you love to do, but don’t forget you also love your newborn writing career. Balance is the key!
It wasn’t until I retired from my full-time job that I began my writing career. An avid reader since I first learned to read, writing my own book is something I’ve always wanted to do. The things I mention here are those I struggle with. Let me know if I missed some that you find challenging.
I think the ‘peer dumping’ advice is good, writer or not. We have many friends here whose life styles consist mainly of traveling, babysitting and social events. For me, that isn’t enough. I need to have a goal in life, something to be working toward. Once I accepted that, I was able to ignore the ‘shoulds’ and be happy doing my own thing.
Have a great week and don’t ‘should’ on yourself,