At the age of 57 I decided to become a writer. To be honest the idea had been floating about in my head since I was a teenager but it was never really taken seriously, by myself or others (I am from a very working-class background and there were no writers in the family). But at 57 I decided that I was going to give it a go. I signed up for a Creative Writing Master’s Degree at my local university and worked hard to achieve a Commendation.
What became clear during my time on the master’s degree is that becoming a writer at 57 is pretty difficult if not impossible. Publishers have too much choice (which is a good thing for readers). Too many people want to become writers and so publishers tend to prioritise the work of the younger writers. Unless you write something pretty amazing you will not get much of a chance of finding an agent or publisher once you pass the 45-year-old mark let alone 57.
I did not and do not want to give up.
One of the distractions of my life has been my own personal research into a deeper understanding of Religion and the Idea of God. Can these things be relevant in our times? As a spiritual person I find that many of our spiritual narratives are outdated and irrelevant. Should I write a non-fiction book about my journey? Non-fiction might be easier to get published for an old fogey.
Two years ago, after completing my master’s degree, I signed up for a creative writing PhD choosing a subject related to creative writing, narrative creation and spirituality thus tying my interests together into one package. Work is progressing well on my thesis although I have had to drop down to part-time due to caring responsibilities (of my elderly mother-in-law).
I really want to write novels. I have been looking at alternative ways writers can use to get their work into print. Self-publishing is currently, it seems, the way for many writers young or old, to get their work noticed and read. This is the path I am going to take. Before starting the master’s degree I did self-publish a collection of poetry through CreateSpace. This poetry was basically my entire life’s work up until then. Also, inspired by the NaNoWriMo project, I wrote a novella which I published through CreateSpace (a great service BTW). Neither are particularly brilliant but they are a start. (Actually some wonderful random lady in London purchased my novella and gave it a 4-star review on GoodReads).
I have now created the WriteShed project to continue on my journey to becoming a writer (I am now 61). This blog, a vlog and an online serialised novel – an idea I have been playing with for quite some time – will be used to showcase my work. I just need to decide whether to create my own website or use Wattpad or a Wattpad alternative, to publish my serial novel (which will eventually be self-published via CreateSpace).
If anyone has any advice they would like to share I would be grateful. Whatever your age, do not give up on your dreams. Us old fogeys have a wealth of experience to put into novels. Publishers, it seems, may need a little help to realise this.
– I have created the image from a picture I downloaded from Pixabay