Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Starting A Writing Career in Middle Age

I've been asked many times how long I've been writing. My mental answer is Not nearly long enough! but I usually tell people that I didn't start writing until I reached my mid-fifties. Kind of at the same stage as the people pictured above. 

My children were independent, my husband was still very involved in his career, and we were in a new community. My contacts were few and time hung heavy on my hands. I'd been use to a full, busy life up to then. The opportunity to fulfill a lifelong desire had finally presented itself. I could start writing!

Along with the desire came fear. Could I begin something brand new as I was speeding along to my senior years? Was it possible to learn something that required some skill in my fifties? How strong was my desire? These and many other questions swirled through my mind even as the wish to try grew greater. 

I took a giant step by signing up for a correspondence course to learn to write for children. I loved the assignments, finished the course in less time than the average student, only because of my enthusiasm, and plunged into the writing life. 

I thought I wanted to write stories and books for children because I had been a teacher before my children came along. But little by little, I branched out and tried essays, memoirs, short adult fiction and even poetry. I discovered that creative non-fiction was my strong suit. And along with that, I thoroughly enjoyed writing articles about writing. The old teacher part of me surfaced again.

It's been close to twenty years now since all that happened and my writing desire is as strong today as it was at the beginning. Do I wish I'd started writing in my twenties? Absolutely! But I have no regrets that I finally entered the writing world later in life. Far better then than to never have tried.

It's never too late to begin something new. Especially something that you've always wanted to do. If not now, when? Yes, there's much to learn, there's time to be spent, but the rewards and self-satisfaction are well worth all you give to begin a journey into the writing world. As with all things, you start small and grow as you go. There are so many wonderful sources for help in learning to write today. The internet is a goldmine of workshops, critique groups and blogs like mine. 

No, it's not too late to begin Tomorrow, I'll introduce you to a group of people who began writing after they reached fifty. You'll read how each one began and how they feell 


  1. Beautifully said Nancy. I hope to start a group in my own town.

  2. Jaye, if you do start a group, I have a feeling you'll get back every bit as much as you give of yourself. Best wishes on doing so.