writers / writing

#IWSG–Am I getting too old?

writers groupThis post is for Alex Cavanaugh’s Insecure Writers Support Group (click the link for details on what that means and how to join. You will also find a list of bloggers signed up to the challenge that are worth checking out like Rebecca who inspired me to begin). The first Wednesday of every month, we all post our thoughts, fears or words of encouragement for fellow writers.

This month’s insecurity – Am I getting too old?

I remember three years ago–when I finally (huzzah!) found an agent


who loved my books as much as I did


–thinking I didn’t have a lot of time left before I wouldn’t want to write anymore. I’m assuming at a certain point in aging, that fire in my gut turns to coal and is no longer a passion to write, rather a job. I’m assuming age will precipitate that if not something else.

business ideas handwritten with white chalk on a blackboard

Three years ago, I found an agent and did the math:

  • it takes two-three years to bring a book to the shelves after it’s selected
  • it takes at least a year–probably two–to write a book. In my case, that’s more like five years, but I figured I’d write faster now that I had an advocate
  • that means three-four years for each book
  • I had maybe ten more years of writing in my fingers

When events caused my agent and I to part ways


amazed young boy portrait isolated on white background

(amicably–I still adore him), it was with mixed feelings. Sure, I’d lost a megaphone for announcing me to the literary world, but I’d gained an accelerated production timeline. Self-pubbing is a lot faster than traditional. I won’t get into goods and bads of that, just the cold hard facts that a self-pubbed book can hit the market much faster than any traditional house.

And still, I’ve made no progress. I’ve published quite a few non-fic, but not my WIP.

robot looking through binoculars

When am I too old?

too old

Is it really about satisfying my need to tell a story and not about making a living? Will it satisfy me if my book succeeds and provides security to my children?

I have no idea. Anyone been there?

whats your story

More IWSG articles:

Am I good enough? Does it matter?

Am I a Storyteller?

When does technical become boring

Jacqui Murray is the author of dozens of books (on technology in education) as well as the popular Building a Midshipman, the story of her daughter’s journey from high school to United States Naval Academy. She is webmaster for six blogs, an Amazon Vine Voice book reviewer, a columnist for Examiner.com and TeachHUB, Editorial Review Board member for Journal for Computing Teachers, monthly contributor to Today’s Author and a freelance journalist on tech ed topics. In her free time, she is  editor of technology training books for how to integrate technology in education. Currently, she’s editing a techno-thriller that should be out to publishers next summer.

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33 thoughts on “#IWSG–Am I getting too old?

  1. Pingback: #IWSG–Should I Continue My Newsletter? | WordDreams...

  2. Pingback: #IWSG–Am I Creative Enough | WordDreams...

  3. When I found out recently my mom had stage 3 cancer (incurable), I realized two things. Number 1, publishing a book is not the most important thing in my life. Number 2, writing is the tool that helps me survive. Not every writer will write a book, but they will write things that are just as useful, meaningful, fulfilling and perhaps even more important and memorable. If we don’t feel “complete” without a published book, we will never feel “complete” with one. Contentment is a choice. Writing is what makes life worth living, it’s not life itself.


    • Aren’t you brilliant. All true. We write because it feels good ultimately, whether it pays the bills or not.

      I’m sorry about your mom. That is very difficult. I hope ‘incurable’ includes lots more years of life.


  4. We are driven to write. In the past, when I’ve taken a break from writing, I’ve returned to it, despite rejections and not making oodles of money from it.

    We are never too old. Write on.


  5. They say that keeping our brain active, multi-tasking, word building, etc. is the thing that keeps it ‘alive’. I know a women who is 98 and her brain function works faster than mine! I say, keep doing what your doing, because, hey…you love it, and there will be many more years of adventure to come 🙂


  6. I am aged like fine wine or cheese, I am not old. Neither are you. And that’s not heartburn I’m feeling, it’s the fire in my gut that sends me to the computer and demands that I write. You too – you’re younger than I and you’re ablaze. I want it all – fame, glory, a big paycheck, a legacy for my children, and most of all, I want the honor of seeing my name on a book spine.


  7. O-l-d? What’s that? A new skin cream? That word is not in my dictionary so I must ask.
    What I worry about is losing words. Yes, dementia. That’s about the only problem I’ve ever wondered about standing in the way of writing. ❤


  8. Jacqui it comes down to the NEED to tell a story that is all I have and it drives me forward in slow unpredictable minutes in time. If you enjoy it like I do I imagine I will write stories until I cannot write anymore. Thanks for sharing their are many out there who resonate. You are way ahead of me, if that makes you feel any better.


  9. Yeah, I’ve thought about the fact that by the time traditional publishing would get around to publishing me (assuming it ever would), my writing time might be dwindling down. So I’m guessing I want the faster turnaround time of self-publishing.


  10. Jacqui, I’m hoping that ‘too old’ doesn’t come until the moment I die. With all the new software to help with hands that don’t work, ‘writing’ isn’t much of a problem anymore. Keeping the brain sharp enough still is though.

    I have yet to publish. I know that trying to find an agent is going to be he– so I want that 1st book to be published a small press company if possible so that there’s more of a chance of it having that polished look. I may change my mind on that though if I find enough good help with self-publishing. Of course, all this comes after the rewrites and professional editing. 😉


  11. It seems I am planning the wrong way. My plan is to be able to stop what is normally called work at about sixty, and then focus on writing. Hadn’t thought about the fire or urge to write diminishing. But, thankfully, “the best-laid plans, of mice and men, often go awry”.


    • I don’t think that happens until you can devote a considerable amount of your normal working hours to writing. For me, I took a sabbatical from teaching to write a technology-in-education series. That means I write about 10-12 hours a day.


  12. There was time when I wrote books to be able to buy an apartment. In 1992 I wrote a book to tell a story. It cost me $4,000 but I am very happy I did it.


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