On writing

Don’t let your age put you off trying to publish your novel

At Conflux a few weeks back, at the ‘Starting Writing Later in Life’ panel, an older member of the audience asked something along the lines of, “You talk about how long it takes to write a book. What’s the point in someone my age starting now? I’ve likely only got one good book in me before I run out of time.”

I’ve thought about that question a lot, since. I can’t remember what was said at the time, but here’s what I think.

Don’t put off your dream because you think you’re too old.

While you may find some dreams harder to do as you get older, if you have the determination, you can do almost anything. Sure, it becomes more difficult. Yuichiro Miura was 80 years old when he climbed Mt Everest, and he probably did it harder than someone half, or even a quarter of his age, but he still did it.

True, too, most people wouldn’t bother.

But we’re not talking hard, physical exercise here, we’re talking writing a novel, which older people can do as well as younger people.

“Sure,” you may say. “But we’re not talking about writing a single novel. We know we can do that. We’re talking about making a writing career out of it.”

And it’s true, some of us might die or become incapacitated before we got any further than the first book. But we don’t have to get old to do that.

Would I go through the hassle of writing a book and having it published if I knew I was only going to have time to publish one book?

Most definitely.

There’s something magical about having that first book published. It’s an experience worth having.

Sure, we’d all like to have it again and again, but don’t stop just because you think there might be only time to do it once.

Believe me, it’s worth it, even just for that once.

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