Tuesday, January 15, 2008
Q & A 125 Can I quit now?
Oh kind editor...do you ever have any words of wisdom for us "older folks"...those women past the age of 50 who are so down on their luck? 2 short stories accepted this week for publication,but a major...as in MAJOR., MAJOR..rejection of a novel....one I thought would succeed..so brutally rejected...when does one know when to face reality and quit?
First of all, fifty isn't old for a writer. For the first thirty years of your life you're a complete idiot, and it takes another ten years to realize that you're still a complete idiot. So in writer years, you're a teenager.
On the other hand, keep in mind that five sixths of your life is over.
I know a writer who wrote more than 15 novels before finally selling one, and who has now sold nine, all to major publishers. Of course, she's not fifty yet. If she'd been approaching fifty and still unpublished, she'd have thrown herself off a bridge. Hey, I'm joking.
I looked into this at Wikipedia. Here are a few late bloomers who should give you hope:
1. Colonel Sanders began his chicken franchise in his sixties.
2. Grandma Moses started painting in her seventies.
3. The great proponent of Gaudiya Vaishnavism, A.C. Bhaktivedanta Swami Prabhupada founded the International Society for Krishna Consciousness at the age of 70.
Okay, you're interested in writers: here are a few from the list:
Laura Ingalls Wilder did not publish her first novel until her sixties. Children's author Mary Alice Fontenot wrote her first book at 51 and wrote almost thirty additional books, publishing multiple volumes in her eighties and nineties. Richard Adams's first novel, the bestseller Watership Down, was published when he was in his fifties. The Marquis de Sade didn't publish his first novel, Justine, until he was 51. Raymond Chandler published his first novel, The Big Sleep at 51. The full article is here: Really Old People Who Managed to Do Something Besides Drool. Ignore the fact that the article has no references and could have been written by your plumber.
Of course, plenty of writers never get a novel published, but I look at it this way: nothing gives Evil Editor more pleasure than reading the writings of Evil Editor. So if you're the same way, I encourage you to immediately purchase all of Evil Editor's books.