Is there a book in you, waiting to be written?
Have you ever thought that you ought to give it a try? Well, why not? That’s why the title of this blog is “Just Do It.” I was in my seventies when I wrote my first novel. Yes, really! And now my fourth is nearly completed. I am convinced that if I can do it, thousands of others certainly can.
How difficult is it?
As I was soon to discover, story-telling is an art, but novel writing is a craft; it has to be learned, like any other. The good news is that there are plenty of people out there who can teach you how. And it isn’t expensive, believe me. In fact it is cheaper to start writing than it is to get into most of the conventional hobbies that people take up. The only tool you need is a computer or word processor, but of course you could start with nothing more than a pencil and paper. The only other expense is the cost of a professional editor, who will teach you by email how to put it all together. Tuition is one-to-one and the beauty of that is that you can learn at your own pace. Wonderful, and great fun.
So, what qualifications do you need?
Surprisingly few: knowing where to put the commas and full stops is useful, but a good editor will help you with that. You also need time, but since you can take it at your own pace, that should not be a problem. The best news is that you may already have by far the most important qualification: life experience. It is the most under-rated, yet most valuable gift that we receive as we age.
In fact the case for taking up writing fiction is even stronger for those of middle age or over.
Ageing is ongoing, inevitable and relentless.
As we age, simple physical tasks like weeding, washing the car or just walking to the shops, routine activities that we take for granted, get progressively more difficult. We slow down. Yet mentally we feel no older. We feel no different now than we did ten or twenty years ago. When our bodies need new bits and at a time when physical problems can affect our quality of life, we still have our minds, often more alert and more effective than those of others far younger than us in physical age. Best of all, we are privileged to have something they lack: many more years of life experience. A priceless asset that cannot be bought, it is earned only by staying alive. And if you are a good observer, you are already well qualified to become a writer.
Just do it!