I started my writing career later than most. At least compared to many of my twenty-first century peers.
And I worried I’d waited too long.
Actually, I had a lot of strikes against me. I was sure I’d made my bed, and had no opportunity to make another. But I was wrong.
If it hadn’t been for a persistent push from God, I doubt I’d be writing to you now. But He continually convicted me through the Parable of the Talents, Matthew 25:14-30. You see, I was the wicked and lazy servant who’d buried her gift.
However, God truly is merciful — and encouraging. Over a period of a few years, He used five real-life examples to show me it’s never too late to write.
The first lived in Missouri, like I do. Laura Ingalls Wilder and Rose Wilder Lane, two of the most inspirational writers I’ve ever studied, called Mansfield, Missouri home. Rose schooled her mother on how to formally pen those wonderful classic books, the Little House on the Prairie series.
But the most amazing part was learning Laura was sixty-five years old when the first best-selling manuscript went to her publisher.
Strolling through her grounds recently, I imagined her gnarled hands scratching out stories from memory onto pages of paper. She finished her final book at age seventy-six.
Another author who started late was Frank McCourt, also publishing in his mid-sixties. The wisdom of time and experience propelled Angela’s Ashes to the top of global readers’ favorite lists.
At forty-five, Raymond Chandler, (who I share a birth date and month with), finally broke into publishing success, after struggling from the time of his youth to make his professional mark.
In her fifties, Mary Wesley published a few children’s books without notice. However, in her seventies, she took the world by storm with her first novel, Jumping the Queue.
James Michener is a well-known name for those who know writing. But some don’t realize his fifty year Pulitzer-prize-winning career didn’t start until he was fifty, continuing until his death at age ninety. His last book published posthumously.
No matter what encourages you, whether it’s real-life examples, spiritual promptings, or the example of a writer who did, though I feared I wouldn’t, let something spur you on. Age, location, past failures, naysayers, none of those things matter.
If you are willing to learn, to listen, to do the work, to learn some more, to listen some more, then work some more, you will see results. Maybe not at the caliber of some of the names listed here, but at the level you are supposed to achieve. This leads me to one more thought — actually it’s a question.
Many people tell me they believe in God. But I respond by asking this, “Do you believe God?” A simple change in sentence structure changes the meaning. In Proverbs 14:23 (NIV), it says, “All hard work brings a profit, but mere talk leads only to poverty.”
Maybe your sentence structure will help someone see a familiar statement in a new way. Maybe your profit will result in financial windfalls. But more likely, it will come through a life changed. A life you touch because you never gave up. Because like me, you chose to believe God and say, “It’s never too late to make a fresh start with fresh faith — while I write.”
What encourages you to write on?