Fiction, Life, Opinion, Power, Real Life, Writing

Why age makes you a better writer

A few days ago, I confessed that I once burned books. I am not proud of that action, but while reading your comments, I realized something. I do not regret being the person who committed that act. I don’t regret being any previous version of me. I believe they were all necessary to make me the person I am today—someone I sort of like.

Towanda in action!

I used to envy those of you who are writing seriously at a young age—and young being relative, that means most of you, as far as I’m concerned. But you know what? To paraphrase the great Towanda*: “Face it girls, I’m older than you and I have more experience.”

I’m able to write from a different perspective. Think about this: at the age of twelve, fifteen … even twenty, could you have written with the depth you can today?

We are admonished to write what you know, and because of my advanced years, I’ve accumulated a good bit of knowledge—mostly trivial, yes, but what better use for trivia than to spice up your writing?

Write what you know can also mean write what you know from an emotional level. The older you are, the deeper the emotional well you have to draw from. Even pain can be used for good. You must have lived in order to write about life.

Of course, some you youngins have probably lived far more exciting lives than I have, but for the sake of my argument, I’ll ignore that. Age makes you a better writer. That’s my story and I’m sticking to it.

* If you haven’t read Fried Green Tomatoes (or seen the movie) you really must.

45 thoughts on “Why age makes you a better writer”

  1. Well at least your your birth certificate was printed with ink and on paper. My dad said something about a rock and a chisel.

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  2. I don’t know that age makes you a better writer, but it makes you a different writer. The things that mattered to me at 20 are not the things that matter to me now.

    I see a lot of these younger writers are tackling the UF and YA genres – relationships, love, high emotion, identity. Whereas the more mature writers tend to focus on wider, less self-centered concepts, such as sacrifice, obligation and choice.

    I think at any age, you write what matters to you. Whether or not you are good at it comes down to talent and practice 🙂

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  3. Linda, I enjoyed this tongue-in-cheek post very much. You really look quite young for someone in their “advanced years.” They should bottle whatever’s in your genes, so the rest of us can look forward to an attractive dotage.

    I sometimes wonder where I fall in the writer age continuum. Probably somewhere in the middle. I do think I have a wealth of experience to draw on now that helps my writing. But, in general, I just like life better as I get older. Like you, I don’t recriminate any of my “younger selves” but feel grateful to them for getting me where I am today.

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    1. Thank you, Meredith, for reading my post that way. I started out with a serious thought, but then decided to lighten up. My wedding anniversary is coming up and I was thinking how laughable it is that I thought I was so mature those oh so many years ago.

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