Have you ever watched a professional sports event and when the commentators start discussing a particular athlete, they all agree that she should retire, because she’s almost forty? On the other end of the spectrum, many countries won’t allow you to vote until you are eighteen, even if you’ve already held a part-time job, graduated from secondary school and you have a driver’s licence.
Fortunately, whether or not you’re a writer, isn’t determined by your age, it’s determined by your commitment. If you’re getting published and see your name in print, that’s great for your self-confidence, but it isn’t the most important issue. What is essential, is that you’re recording your unique perspective. Deciding if you’re going to keep it in a personal journal or share it with the world it up to you, but if you are writing, you’re a writer.
Regardless of what your age is, you’ve been preparing to write since the day you were born, learning about the world around you and collecting information for later use. I like to think of it as the Writer’s Vault; a storehouse of experiences.
Imagine a young boy is bitten by a dog when he is seven. It’s a terrible experience that no one wants their children to go through, but it does happen. Later when he is writing his first science fiction novel he comes to a scene where the hero is cornered by an alien creature, and the hero must fight to his life. He remembers the terror of being attacked by the dog and pours all those raw emotions into writing the scene. Readers want to stop reading the scene, because it is so well written that they feel like they are experiencing the attack themselves, but they can’t put it down, because the author has drawn them into the story.
Writing is about observing the world around you, and then using those experiences to express yourself. One of my published short stories, “The Poodle and the Golfer,” is a good example; I combined my experiences of living in Nova Scotia and spending time on a golf course with a family member, and created a story that incorporated both. It wasn’t intentional, it just happened. “The Poodle and the Golfer,” was published in Issue #20 for the internet literary journal, The Maple Tree Literary Supplement. http://www.mtls.ca.
I hope that this week you take time to write, share your voice and express your passion.