I feel very old this week. Keeping up with small children is not something I do well any longer. Three days in a row this week, I had two of my grandchildren, ages five and seven, in my home. They were both sick with colds and still they wore me out.
I praise all who have care of little ones and still are able to write. If nothing else, the reason I waited so long to get serious about writing is clear to me now. I couldn’t even get my thoughts straightened out in snatches of free time, let alone write anything coherent. And by the time the kiddies were tucked in bed, all I could do was stare into space.
When my own four children were that young, I’m sure I had more physical stamina, yet the mental fatigue was just as bad. I sought refuge in books. I read. And read. And read some more. I took in a lot, and it mixed and fermented and formed into stories in my head, but I didn’t have the energy to write them down.
Let’s call that my writer’s training course. Long, long years of it. There are advantages to that, of course. I had a lot of life experience stacking up too. Intense research, we’ll call that. And to be honest, I’m glad I didn’t write down most of the stories that swirled through my head through those years. It was a time to watch and listen, not speak.
I’m happy to be approaching my career as a writer from a mature perspective. I’ve finally found my voice and have some things to say. Many novel’s worth.
Your turn: How does your age and circumstances affect your writing?
[tweetmeme source=”cassidylewis” only_single=false]
43 thoughts on “Why did I wait so long to get serious about writing?”
I am in my late 40s and I have only recently decided I want to write a book. My last couple of entries on my blog were about sickness, children and getting older. I smiled when I read you were taking care of your grandchildren.
Welcome to my blog, Gwen, and thank you for commenting.
It sounds like you’ve reached a spot where you could take a breath and think. Good luck on your new adventure in writing. 🙂
Kids definitely make it difficult to sit down and coherently write anything.
I’ve always had stories running a muck through my head, but I’m glad I have waited until now to really start writing. In the scheme of things I’m fairly young, in my mid-thirties. But, I’m definitely glad I didn’t try to write in my twenties. I wasn’t as disciplined then. I also think that I have a better focus on my writing, and reading for that matter.
I find the best time to write is early in the morning. I get up with my 12 year old daughter every morning. While she gets ready for school and the 14 month old sleeps I write. It’s the only way to get anything done around here. Once the baby’s up it’s all about him; until nap time. By the time it’s bedtime for the kids I’m done, drained, and passing out alongside them.
I’m glad you’ve found your time to write, Heather. Like Cathryn mentioned, I wonder how many other writers developed the habit of writing early in the morning for the same reason.
DS: I don’t think that’s mediocracy! You are at a point in life where you have some experience and are still exploring existence. That’s what we all do, whether old or young. I personally think that writing about the small things in life can be very powerful. As a writer, you can take an everyday experiences–the smell of a flower, the scent of freshly brewed coffee, the white hair of the old ladey next door–and show with your words that those seemingly minor things can be rich and important and make them shine. Does that make sense?
Obviously your post struck a chord with your readers, Linda. 🙂
I’m definitely an oldie and, while I’ve tinkered with fiction over the years, it’s been tinkering only. I apparently don’t do well compartmentalizing myself into many different boxes, so my days of single parenting and supporting my family were pretty fully consumed with just that, but I don’t regret a second of it.
I knew then, as I know now, that writing fiction would most likely not provide a steady income I could depend on to pay mortgage/food/orthodontia/school etc. – at least not with the level of talent I manage to pull out of my brain.
But I admire and respect the people who have a burning fire of passion, commitment, whatever, who are able to carve out a chunk of writing time out of the other demands on life. ::applause to y’all::
Now I have more time to write and the perspective of more experience. I’d add wisdom, but – eh, not so much, some days…
I’m lucky. But I’d better start writing a whole lot faster to fill in what I didn’t write up till this point in my life.
Oh, Natasha, I think I set myself up for harsher criticism. I feel like my readers will now be expecting my writing to be superb since it took me so long to get to it. 😀
But yeah, I’m not great at compartmentalizing either. I was starting Brevity when I still had care of one of my granddaughters weekday afternoons, and it would take me a couple hours after she left to “decompress” and switch over to my writing brain. I need a lot of quiet and long hours to get serious writing done.
Oh my gosh, wow. I have one small child at home. She wears me out. I sometimes wonder how the heck I’m doing any of this. I sometimes wonder if I jumped in too soon. I sometimes wonder if I will have another child and how that will affect everything else. Crazy stuff. The thing is that I just have to keep doing what I’m doing and loving it. It’s working so far.
I’m so happy you’re in a good place now. You seem so content with your paths, and that makes me happy! 🙂
Thank you, Michelle. You know, I think that’s the key, if you can write, don’t question how you’re managing to do it. Just do it. 🙂