Paying It Forward — It’s Never Too Late to Start Writing

It’s my birthday as this publishes, so I think today is a great time to tap into a subject many aspiring and experienced writers wrestle with. Am I getting too old to publish?

Colorful Birthday Cake
A Colorful Life Makes Colorful Prose

This week, I met a fabulous ninety-two-year-old woman named, Gloria. Before arriving in America, Gloria, along with many of her friends and family, falsely believed the streets in the United States were made of gold. I think they had us confused with Heaven — which America definitely is not.

Gloria’s first husband brought her to the United States when she was a young woman. The only English words the onyx-haired beauty with raven colored eyes knew were, “Hello,” “Thanks,” and “Goodbye.” Yet, with her baby son, she braved a storm-tossed sea on an ocean liner bound for her land flowing with milk and honey. However, as often happens in life, her milk curdled and her honey soured.

Shortly after their arrival, Gloria found out she was pregnant a second time. Her husband panicked and left. She and her family never saw him again, and her sons grew up not knowing their father.

For several years, the single mother raised her sons as best she could in abject poverty. But Gloria, not a woman easily beaten down, learned English, got a job in a local bank, and worked her way up the ranks. By the time she retired more than forty years later, through hard work along with savings and investments, Gloria was a wealthy and influential woman in her Iowa community.

This ninety-two-year-old powerhouse is still impacting others, and will again this December, when she goes on a mission trip to Africa. She knows it’s never too late to make a difference.

I learned most of her story by devouring Gloria’s self-published memoir. Talk about a fascinating and motivating read. I found myself speaking out loud to some of the pages.

“You poor thing.”

“Spot on, Gloria.”

“I didn’t know that.”

“How did you survive?”

“So that’s your secret.”

I laughed, I teared up, and I thought: If Gloria could make it through her situations, then I can face my fears and do the things I’m compelled to pursue.

But then another thought niggled my brain. What if Gloria hadn’t written her book? If she hadn’t shared her story, her family and the world at large would miss out on ninety-two years of revelation, inspiration, and motivation.

Getting Through What You Can't Get Over
My Way of Paying It Forward

Like a fine wine, writers get better with age — let’s face it, the more life we’ve lived, the more we have to offer. Deeper insights, decisions tempered with wisdom, balanced viewpoints, lessons learned, and the list goes on.

If we inspire or motivate one soul, if we can help someone face their pain and cry healing tears, or laugh out loud when they’re experiencing difficult moments, I think we should at least try. It’s the ultimate example of paying it forward. This is the very reason I wrote, Getting Through What You Can’t Get Over.

If we justify not putting words on the page or excuse ourselves due to age, then we hoard our gifts and steal from others. No matter how old we are, if we are writers, we should write. It’s never too late to start writing…whether for the first time, or for the first time on a new project. No matter how many birthdays we celebrate, we have something to offer.

15 Replies to “Paying It Forward — It’s Never Too Late to Start Writing”

  1. What an inspiring story, Anita! What’s the title of Gloria’s memoir? I’d love to read it! And I agree–it’s never too late to start writing. Good word.

  2. Awesome post, Anita … great points, terrific anecdote, highly motivational. Thanks so much for sharing Gloria’s story – really gives me something inspirational to chew on today.

    1. So glad to inspire you, Deb. Aging is something most of us will ultimately wrestle with, but writing is one of those things we can do up until our final days. As long as there is another breath in our bodies, we have purpose while on this earth. Writing can be our vehicle to fulfill it. Have a blessed day!

  3. Thanks for the words of encouragement. I have not written, at least for other’s eyes, in a year but I’m getting back up on the horse in the next several weeks. I often resort to thinking my voice is not needed in the vast display of “qualified” discourse. You are just another reminder though that if only one person is impacted by my life experiences, I will be grateful and write until I can write no longer.

    1. Awesome, Barbara. Get back up on that horse, someone needs to hear your voice, and maybe they need to see your example of riding out what you are compelled to do. I boldly believe, at least one person will be impacted by your writing, if not many more. Blessings to you!

  4. Thanks for this post!!! Just this week I was feeling like I was too old to be writing and trying to get published!

  5. I, too, felt a bit too old to start a book. So far, I’ve put down over three hundred pages and the end is not in sight! I go to a wonderful writer’s group who have given me tips on how to write succinctly and “show not tell” as well as how to use the dialogue to move a story on. It is a great discipline to write, as well as to teach me patience in my editing and rewriting. Your story of Gloria and her memoir gave me hope that it is never too late to write.

  6. Wow i was actually giving up on something and i just came by here and the title grabbed my attention and you just gave me the motive to try one more time, thank you for sharing & happy late birthday 🙂

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