51 responses

  1. Stamperdad
    April 14, 2011

    Thanks for this inspiring article. I too am an older writer. Been writing in some form or another for most of my life, but not really seriously. Several years ago realizing I was not far from retirement I took it up seriously. Now at 61 I am published fairly regularly in magazines and journals. Now working on a novel. My message – it’s never too late to do the things you really want to do.

    Steve

    • Elle B
      April 14, 2011

      That is so exciting, Stamperdad! I’m exactly in the same boat. Retirement is still about 12 year away, but if not now, when? And how better to spend those years? Thanks for the confirmation.

  2. Christi Craig
    April 14, 2011

    Debra,

    I love that quote from P.D. James and the lessons from all three authors. I’d say I’m a late bloomer (embarking on my dream at 40 years old *cough* did I just admit that?…). But, I don’t think I was ready to be a writer at 20.

    And, why not strive for the 50 over 50 list? I love it!

    • Elle B
      April 14, 2011

      I agree, Christi. I know one of my other favorite writers, Mary Shelley, penned Frankenstein at 18, but life experience has inspired me to write. And 40 is pretty young these days! We have a whole life ahead. Thanks for stopping by! –Debra

    • Susan Bearman
      April 25, 2011

      Me, either, Christi. It’s taken me a while to find my voice.

  3. florence fois
    April 14, 2011

    Debra, it’s good to know that a fellow “boomer” is also a finalist … Love, Love, Love this post and I will become a regular visitor to your blog. LateBloomer.com …

    For your reading enjoyment, I am sending you a two posts about myself and my “vintage.”

    Thanks so much for a great post :)

    Read me: http://ramblingsfromtheleft.wordpress.com/2010/09/23/crabby-cranks/

    … and: http://ramblingsfromtheleft.wordpress.com/2010/10/13/baby-boomers/

    Have a great one …

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      I was looking for you last night, Florence! Just followed you on Twitter. Love those articles and the retro graphics.

      Eugenia West has a sexy age 50 former opera singer starring in her fabulous mystery series, so it’s happening! The demographic is definitely skewed in our favor. It’s only a matter of time :)

  4. PatriciaW
    April 14, 2011

    I’ve been amazed to learn the ages of many of my favorite authors. Even though they may write contemporary romances with young protagonists, many are over 40 and upwards of 50 or 60. Since I too am getting started late, at least in terms of publication, I love it. Thanks for letting us know the club is bigger than it seems.

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      It certainly is! I constantly return to that HuffPost article “41 Over 40″ for inspiration. Thanks for stopping by, Patricia! –Debra

  5. Linda Poitevin
    April 14, 2011

    Hear, hear! (From another late bloomer) :)

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      Thanks, Linda. Sometimes I wish I’d started early, but it’s so much fun starting now!

  6. JT Webster
    April 14, 2011

    As a late bloomer myself – started writing at 47 – your post was inspiring. I’ll remember your words when I have a “It’s too late for me to have a writing career” day.

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      Thanks, JT! Love your tag line “Historical Tales of Love and Adventure” — right up my alley! Just fixing your link for the other readers: http://jtwebsterbooks.blogspot.com/

      Looking forward to spending more time on your site! –Debra

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      JT, love your tagline “Historical Tales of Love and Adventure.” Just fixing your link for other readers: http://jtwebsterbooks.blogspot.com/

      “It’s never too late” is no longer a cliche, it’s the simple truth!

    • Elle B
      April 16, 2011

      JT, thought I replied to your earlier. Love your site. “It’s never too late” is no longer a cliche, it’s a truism! –Debra

  7. Ashley Prince
    April 15, 2011

    Although I am not late bloomer, I can definitely appreciate what your article has to say. Especially the bit about learning from your failures. I tend to appreciate things more when I’ve gotten them wrong a couple of times, and then have it create a bigger impact once I’ve fixed said problems.

    Thanks for the article. :)

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      So true! Also, it’s amazing how many famous writers have been rejected umpteen times and not very nicely. If any of them had given up, we’d be missing some of our most-loved masterpieces. Check out this article: http://exm.nr/gtAvL1

    • Elle B
      April 16, 2011

      Hi Ashley, I replied to you earlier, but it got lost. It’s hard to learn from flops (I prefer that word to failures!), but sometimes it’s the best way, as you’ve noted. Thanks for stopping by! –Debra

      • Suzannah
        April 16, 2011

        Hey Debra, sorry about your comments not showing up right away. When comments have links in them, they get put through a spam filter and I have to moderate them manually. They’ll turn up eventually! Thanks :)

      • Elle B
        April 16, 2011

        Ah, that explains it. Thought I was going nuts!

  8. Deb Mallett
    April 15, 2011

    Lovely article, Debra – three inspiring and important lessons. I had to look up that Bruce Sterling quote, “Follow your weird.” And right after those words in his speech he said, “Forget trying to pass for normal.” Maybe that’s the key. After a long life of so-called normalcy, it’s a relief to give up the pretense. It breathes energy into a tired life and, as you say, keeps the journey exciting. Sounds just right for blooming late!

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      Love Sterling. I agree about normalcy. I’ve become more myself as I grow older, because I don’t try to conform anymore. Thanks for stopping by, Deb!

  9. Suzannah
    April 15, 2011

    You know what I loved about this post? I believe from experience that writing is one of the few things that improves the older we get. It’s not like modelling, where you’re washed-up by the time you’re 25.

    Sure, at 18-years-old, I thought I wanted to be a writer, but I had absolutely no life experience. Now that I’m nearly 31, I feel like I’m just on the verge of a major breakthrough with my writing. And even though I don’t feel ‘young’ exactly, I know that by publication standards, I am!

    Who knows, maybe my first novel won’t be published until I’m 40 or 50, but at least I’ll have plenty of practice by then!

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      I’m sure you’re on the verge of a major breakthrough, Suzannah! I used to think writing was only about inspiration, but I know it’s more about practice and learning from more experienced writers. And I learned so much by reviewing the editing tips you published for the contest. Thanks for this great experience!

  10. Michael P. Dunn
    April 15, 2011

    It’s good to be reminded that there really is no age limit on getting published. I remember some years ago, in the local mall, a bookstore was advertising a signing by a first time author. I don’t remember the author’s name or the title of her book. What I do remember is that the ad mentioned she was 67 years old.

    While I’ve been writing for quite a while, it’s only within the last few years that I’ve become serious about getting published. So at age 47, I’ve had four stories published and I’m hard at work on a novel and two other stories.

    Have to remember Sterling’s “follow your weird”.

    • Elle B
      April 15, 2011

      Congrats, Michael! I suspect the over-40 pub club is much bigger than we realize.

      Besides being a great sci fi writer, Sterling is an inspiring “out of the box” thinker. I return to him again and again. –Debra

  11. Kathy
    April 16, 2011

    Thank you! “Late-Blooming Writer” is my new bio catchphrase!

    • Elle B
      April 17, 2011

      Don’t forget the adjective I use: “Proud late-blooming writer”!

  12. Rebecca Burgener
    April 17, 2011

    At 27, I don’t want to be a late-blooming writer, but I definitely see my writing becoming deeper and more meaningful as the years go by.

    • Elle B
      April 17, 2011

      So true, Rebecca. As Suzannah pointed out, writing is not a field like modeling where you’re washed-up by age 25, it’s one where we can keep improving for as long as we’re around. That’s true of very few areas!

  13. Eporter70
    April 17, 2011

    Like others here, I, too, thank you for this. I’m 49 and was just laid off from my day job of 26 years, a job I took to help feed the family and pay the bills until the time came for me to write. The time is here; you’ve shown it’s never too late.

    Thanks!

    • Elle B
      April 17, 2011

      Even if I got a book deal tomorrow, I’d keep writing my late bloomer stories just for feedback like this. Thank you. It’s wonderful you’re seeing a potential set back as a way forward. Hope you got a nice severance package to start your writing journey!

  14. Helen
    April 17, 2011

    This is great… Very upbeat and encouraging! I started writing at 45 and almost didn’t because it felt so late. I’ve always been encouraged by the story of MFK Fisher who took a 12-year hiatus from writing when she went back home to care for her aging father, not knowing she’d ever write again.

    • Elle B
      April 17, 2011

      I didn’t know that about Fisher. Interesting woman. Thank goodness you didn’t listen to that insidious little voice, Helen!

      • Helen
        April 21, 2011

        Well…sometimes I do. This is why I started my new blog, WritingNurture. !!!

      • Elle B
        April 23, 2011

        Great blog…you’ve got the right tagline!

  15. Erika Liodice
    April 19, 2011

    Fabulous insights, Debra! I think it’s important to celebrate everyone who finds the courage follow their “weird”…no matter what their age. Good for you for following yours!

    • Elle B
      April 20, 2011

      So true. Thanks, Erika!

  16. Susan Bearman
    April 25, 2011

    Doris Lessing won the Nobel Prize for Literature at age 87 — more inspiration for us late bloomers.

    • Elle B
      April 26, 2011

      Love her! Just checked…she published her first book in 1950, which means she wrote consistently for 47 years before receiving that honor! Thanks, Susan.

  17. Bandsfitz2002
    May 11, 2011

    yeh Debbie!!!!!! Love, Brat

    • Elle B
      May 16, 2011

      Thanks, dearest Brat! 

  18. CJ McKinney
    March 30, 2012

    This is such a great blog and I love the name –Write it Sideways. I was an “early bloomer” in the world of writing, first published at 16! But I’ve taught writing in the community for quite a long time and so many of my students are those later bloomers who’ve bought into the myth of early success or none at all. They sit in class, mostly midlife women, so tentative about their dreams, as if waiting for permission to put those dreams on paper. These posts are an inspiration for them all. I once had a student who was 90. She wanted to write “a little something” about her life for her grandchildren to read. She ended up with enough material for a novel and with the encouragement of the class started to write it. Bravo to everyone who is challenging the myth that everything important happens in the first half of life!

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