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View Full Version : For ELDERLY writers only. Are you over 70 and a BEGINNER fiction writer?



The Backward OX
07-01-2011, 07:05 AM
I’m 75, have been messing about with writing fiction of various types since 2007. I’d be interested to hear the writing experiences of similar others.

There are two items in particular that interest me. The first one is imagination. To judge by what others on this site say, about the way they write, with characters taking over their stories, mine is apparently lacking. Is lack of imagination a problem for you? Have you been able to overcome it? How?

The second item: do you have the mental energy to write a novel, and how do you sustain that mental energy? Three years ago I had an idea for a novel, wrote about 50,000 words in first draft form, cardboard characters and all, and then ran out of steam. Today, I know what still needs to be written – I have an outline – but when I open the word processor, it’s so hard to force the words out that I go away and do something else. Maybe I shouldn’t have said “mental energy”, maybe motivation comes into it somewhere.

Are there any answers? Or should I just hang up my quill and go sit quietly in a corner with a rug over my knees and a good book?

Susan Littlefield
07-01-2011, 07:23 AM
Backward Ox, please don't kick me out because I'm under 75. I just don't think age matters when it comes to writing. If you like to write, then keep on keeping on. I just want to throw some friendly encouragement out to you. :D

thothguard51
07-01-2011, 07:37 AM
OX,

What do you like to read? What is it that interest you about writing?

I turn 60 next month. For me, writing is something I enjoy, even the solitude. I enjoy the worlds I create, the characters and the storylines. It also helps that I read a lot for inspiration, or knowledge to see how other writers weave this craft of writing.

Writing is no different than anything else in life. If you do not enjoy it, then it can become a chore.

Al Stevens
07-01-2011, 07:37 AM
I just turned 71. I wrote short stories a while back, but nothing of novel length. About a year and a half ago I started to write a novel, a story that had been with me since I was young. It's semi-autobiographical and is based on the JFK assassination. It's being evaluated now by a publisher. I have a second ms completed and being beta read, and a third one, a sequel to the 1st underway now. It is also based on life and is about intelligence ops in Vietnam.

I got motivated to start and finish these projects after I had a stroke that scared the crap out of me. It took me off the bandstand for a while--I am a jazz musician--and left me worrying about whatever else could happen.

Not knowing whether another stroke will creep up and keep me from working, I want to finish as much as I can in whatever time I have. That's my motivation.

I got a writing coach and some beta readers and applied myself to learning the craft of fiction. I read everything I could find about it, and asked questions in places such as AW. It helped that I had, over the years, published a lot of non-fiction, so the discipline was in place. And an understanding of the personal fulfillment that publishing gives, making it worth seeking.

I hope this addresses your question and is helpful to you. Good luck with your writing projects. Don't hang it up.

(I'm sure our age group is in a minority here. It is everywhere else. :) )

Sirion
07-01-2011, 09:47 AM
I'm in your thread, being under 21! Nice place you got here. O_O

Linda Adams
07-01-2011, 02:50 PM
I'm not in the right age bracket, though I know age doesn't make a difference. I have a relative who wrote a newspaper column well into her 80s and only stopped because they annoyed her.



There are two items in particular that interest me. The first one is imagination. To judge by what others on this site say, about the way they write, with characters taking over their stories, mine is apparently lacking. Is lack of imagination a problem for you? Have you been able to overcome it? How?

It may be more of a matter of figuring out how to access it. For years, I had a lot of trouble just coming up with ideas and often waited for inspiration, which was far and few between. I ended up having to learn what will help get things started. You might try mind maps, which are messy and free form but allow you to brainstorm at a rapid pace (brainstorming means you don't stop to say, "This idea stinks" and screen it out). I also found it useful to do a journal of sorts, where I write down my potential ideas for the scene I'm working on. Sometimes I don't have the answer to what I'm seeking, so I write down the question. Even that helps.



The second item: do you have the mental energy to write a novel, and how do you sustain that mental energy? Three years ago I had an idea for a novel, wrote about 50,000 words in first draft form, cardboard characters and all, and then ran out of steam. Today, I know what still needs to be written – I have an outline – but when I open the word processor, it’s so hard to force the words out that I go away and do something else. Maybe I shouldn’t have said “mental energy”, maybe motivation comes into it somewhere.

It might help to look at why you wrote the book in the first place. What excited you about that made you want to commit to it. Over the course of it, it's possible you might have lost that, or just plain forgotten that.

CACTUSWENDY
07-01-2011, 03:32 PM
Ox....am not yet your age........but working on it.

I have several WIPs that are hanging out in my computer. I dust them off every once in awhile and kind of laugh at them.

I have one that stays on my desktop that I open every few days. It can and will be a series type of work. There is just an unending tale to tell with it.

I keep a yellow legal pad by my computer all the time and jot down 'things'. Might be an idea, a neat key phrase, something that I will research on later, etc. I let my 'pondering' take over and allow my imagination to open up with the stuff I have on the pad. Little by little new sparks hit my WIP.

What I miss now days is that I very seldom dream any more. But my sleep hours have changed so much I can understand why. I think I use to get some really neat stuff in my dreams.

Not being in the work force any more has also added to my dry times as I am a people person and do miss the interaction from all that. I think that aids in coming up with new stuff. That's why I hang out here at the AW so much. It's my tie to the outside world.

My only advice to you is to keep hanging in there. Do some short stories for awhile. See if that helps. I find if I try to read much now days I get soooooo sleepy. ;) Two pages and zap....I'm out like a light. :D

I do hope it gets better for you. :Hug2:

PorterStarrByrd
07-01-2011, 03:44 PM
I'm a little young to be here at 63 but I've noticed I have to keep my mind active in many areas to maintain an interest in any one of them.

If I haven't run into something new witin the previous 24 hours, I've had a bad day. Each day provides me with a little more background that might show up in my writing, and memories to flip through when, on some future date, I am rambling through the old grey tissue files.

One way to keep the mind wandering (almost always a good idea) is to participate in the various threads here. You might find an interesting place to do that is the Old Farts Bar and Grill in the office party forum.

The Backward OX
07-01-2011, 03:51 PM
Do some short stories for awhile. See if that helps.Yep. I do that.



I find if I try to read much now days I get soooooo sleepy. ;) Two pages and zap....I'm out like a light. :DYep. I do that too.


I do hope it gets better for you. :Hug2:
Thanks.

The Backward OX
07-01-2011, 03:53 PM
It might help to look at why you wrote the book in the first place. What excited you about that made you want to commit to it. Over the course of it, it's possible you might have lost that, or just plain forgotten that.

You might have something there.

shaldna
07-01-2011, 06:24 PM
I'm not over seventy, but I just wanted to ad to the conversation and say that it's never too late for anything or anyone - one of my husbands authors is in his 70's and he has his first book coming out this year.

Kitty27
07-01-2011, 07:24 PM
I'm not in the age bracket but I agree with Shaldna. It is never too late for anything.