At 23, as a shiny new MFA graduate, I stumbled upon Deborah Spark's, Twenty Under Thirty, an anthology that collected the early works of rising stars in contemporary fiction. From this book and the convoluted thinking of youth, I imagined a certain expiration date on writing success. If I don't publish X by age 27, I'm finished. As I passed 27, then 37 and finally 40, I began to take a longer view about publishing careers and realized how silly it was to think that authorship possessed some sort of expiration date.
Then I looked around my community of writers on Facebook and found six amazing women who started publishing after 40. I reached out to them for motivational advice for writers over 40. So here's 6 pieces of advice from authors who didn't let turning 40 stop them from achieving their publishing goals.
"Be honest in your writing. Dig deep. If you are crying when you're writing part of your book, good. It'll come out in your story and you'll make your readers cry. If you're laughing while you're writing part of your book, excellent. You'll make your readers laugh."-- Cathy Lamb, 47, her first novel, Julia's Chocolates (Kensington Publishing), was published when she was forty, in 2007. Her latest book, What I Remember Most, was published in 2014.
"The house does not need to be cleaned. Make the writing your first priority."--Katherine Towler, 58, published Snow Island (MacAdam/Cage and Plume/Penguin), her first book in 2002. Her latest book, A God in the House:Poets Talk About Faith, with co-editor with Ilya Kaminsky was published by Tupelo Press when she was 55.
"Be courageous. If you've got something to say, don't put it off. Say it!"--Sonja Yoerg, 54, started in non-fiction, with her debut book on animal intelligence, Clever as a Fox (Bloomsbury USA, 2001) before turning her attention to fiction with the forthcoming novel, House Broken (Penguin/NAL, 2015).
"Read lots of 1 star reviews of books you liked. Realize that someone will hate your writing. If you read enough 1 star reviews of things you think are good, though, you'll come to realize that people are really insane."--Angelic Rodgers, 44, released the first book in her trilogy, the Olivia Chronicles, Blood Sisters, in 2012 and the second, Brigitte's Cross, in 2014.
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