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Writing through the ages

22. August 2007

Being a writer is a lot like growing up. You go through life stages, and the problems and self-perceptions you have are very similar to what faces people growing up.

The baby writer bumbles around with no fear. He writes purely for the joy of discovery, uninhibited and unfocused. She will abandon projects and completely forget about them. Grammar, word choice, storyline, all these things are irrelevant as the baby writer enjoys words for words’ sake.

The toddler writer knows her brilliance. Every word she pens is pure genius, every story idea pulitzer worthy. Like their real-life counterparts, toddler writers can’t fathom anyone not loving them and are prone to tantrums when criticised.

The child writer is used to being told they need to learn. they take classes and do their homework. Craft becomes important, and they often become quite obsessed with rules, regulations and guidelines. They want to win contests and get a lot of delight out of their writing. unless they feel like they’re scraping the bottom of the barrel.

Ah, teenagers. They’ve left their childhood behind, they’ve learned it all and usually have some form of success to show. It’s time to bend those pesky rules that got them nowhere. it’s time to rebel, to be their own person. The world just doesn’t understand and appreciate them!
After all, growing up/getting published is a mere formality at this point. they’re soooo ready! If only the old folks would move over and make room already.

Oh, finally! independence, a publishing contract, a whole new world.
And suddenly, there are bills to pay and drives to take, book signings and promotions and a host of other, mundane responsibilities. It gets harder and harder to actually find time to write, let alone delight in it. Suddenly, it seems to be all about maintaining the perceptions of others. Maybe you’re raising babies of your own, teaching writing classes, running workshops and presentations. Younger writers come to you seeking advice. Teen writers hate you. It’s not as glamorous as it was supposed to be.

Mid-life crisis:
Then it all gets too much. After several books, or maybe after deciding you’re a one-book wonder, life gets too much. maybe it’s time for a career change. Something easy like deep-sea pearl fishing or miniature painting. Anything but write.

Finally, the golden years. With age comes wisdom. Retired from the rat race, writing once more becomes a pleasurable activity, something to be savoured and enjoyed for its own merit. maybe a change of direction has opened a new perspective.

Life, and writing, has so much to offer. We shouldn’t rush through the stages, but try and get the most out of every situation we’re in.

Or maybe too many metaphors make for a bloated mind. Who knows?

One Comment leave one →
  1. Anonymous permalink
    28. August 2007 5:59 am

    A very clever and witty observation…

    – Sarah B.

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