Monday, March 14, 2011

Too Late?

One of the biggest concerns I had when I started trying to become established as a writer was that I had waited too long to get started on this goal. I was certain it was too late, and I was too old. I thought everyone would think I was foolish for trying something new, and the voice inside my head insisted that since I didn't start this when I was 20, there was no point in starting it now.

There was never anything rational about this, as when I have come upon people my age or older who are trying new projects or pursuing new paths, I have never once felt that they were foolish, and I never would. So I'm not sure why I held myself to a harsher standard, except for the fact that I've always been my own worst critic, and old habits die hard.

As I still have these thoughts swirling around in my head, I was pleased to come upon this article by Richard Goodman called, appropriately enough, Never Too Late.

The title of the article, which originally appeared in The Writer magazine and was reprinted on the Gotham Writers' Workshop website, caught my eye immediately. I was hoping it was about what I thought it was about. And sure enough, it was.

It was inspiring to me to read that Goodman was older than I am now when he published his first book. I could totally relate to his thoughts and experiences, and I found myself nodding my head in agreement more than once.

While I found the whole essay inspiring, I particularly enjoyed reading about Harriet Doerr, who wrote her first book Stones for Ibarra when she was 73.

If it wasn't too late for Doerr at 73 or Goodman at 46, then surely it's not too late for me, either.

Or at least I hope it's not. See, old habits die hard. ;)


  1. Jule, I can totally relate to your post. I too (as noted in my about me section on my blog), covers this topic. Now that I have discovered my real desire to be of all things, "published".. the pressure is on and each day I do not write, I kick myself in the butt and write more the next day.

  2. Hi, Julie. I know how you feel. I've often wondered if things would have been any different if I had started writing sooner. I've come to realize however, that the experiences I've had a long way are invaluable to my writing. Writing found me when I had lived enough. There's no such thing as too late - but there is the tragedy of giving up too early. :-)

  3. Hi Julie, thanks for following my blog (you found me via Donna's bookpub blog). I am following yours too and will add it as a link in the blog list on my page. DOn't know if you checked any of my older postings, but I recently posted on my blog and also in the Friday Speak Out on WOW, a post called Late Blooming. I just turned 55 and recently finished my first children's novel, got an agent and our proposal is going out to publishers this week! It is never, ever too late.

  4. My favorite quote is "It's never too late to be what you might have been." by George Eliot. I'm a late bloomer too, but I figure with all of the life experience I have now I can write better than I did 20 years ago!

  5. I'm so very glad to read about Harriet Doerr! And I love Janel's quote from George Elliot above. My mom published her first mystery novel last year at the age of 88, and last week an 89 year old was at our writer's club promoting her latest. Nope. Never too late.

    And people who have lived a little (or in my case, a lot) have so much more to say, don't you think?

  6. Julie I felt the same (I am 55)....also...I know she wasn't a writer but didn't Grandma Moses not begin to paint until she was in her 90s? It's NEVER too late!

  7. Great post, Julie! I'll have to read that article, too! Thanks for sharing it with us "older, but much better women"!! :)

  8. Julie, again great post!! I have passed a "bloggy" on to you! Go to my site to pick it up!

  9. Indeed I returned to college and started writing in earnest - in something other than my journal - 4 years ago, age, 50ish. Go for it!

  10. Hi all!

    Wow, it's great to know so many others can relate to this feeling, and also that there are lots of other "late bloomers" too. Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts on this!

    @Adrian, I know just what you mean, I end up feeling that pressure too. And thank you for the bloggy, I am on my way now to get it, thanks so much! I apologize for not responding sooner, I had some problems with my internet connection and blogger yesterday, I love my computer but it sure does drive me crazy sometimes. Thanks again!

    @Samantha, that is a great point about life experiences. I realize now I see things very differently than I did when I was in my 20s, so hopefully that can add something to my writing that wouldn't have been possible before.

    @Melissa, congratulations on your book and on finding an agent! That's wonderful, best of luck to you as you go through the next step of the process, how exciting!

    @Janel and Anne, I love that Eliot quote too, I actually have a card with it on my refrigerator. It's very inspiring and one I try to keep in mind!

    @Anne, that's amazing about your mom! Wow! Congratulations to her, and it's also wonderful to hear of the 89 year old lady at your club. How fantastic!

    @Caren, I didn't think about Grandma Moses, but I you are right about that, great example!

    @Becky, I hope you like the article! I'm very glad to have shared it, I hope it resonates with others too.

    @Cathy, congratulations to you and returning to college and pursuing your dream like that, very inspiring, thanks for sharing!

    Thank you all again for sharing your experiences, I'm very inspired by all of your comments!

  11. What Sam said!

    When I started studying literature, I stopped writing for many years.

    I often wonder how much I could have learnt about writing in that time, but I know it's okay. Apparently I had to live a bit first in order to have something to write about. :-)

  12. @Lisa, I agree, thanks!

    @KC, I think you hit the nail on the head about having to live a bit before writing. I hadn't thought of it that way before, but it's definitely the case for me. Thanks!


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