It’s Never Too Late to Write

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.

Broodmoor Hotel, Colorado

It’s Never Too Late to Make a New Bed

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.

What's on Your Bucket List

What Does Your Bucket List Say?

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?

 

My New Word Focus — Six Weeks Later

Like many others, a few years ago I switched from making resolutions to fixating on a single word focus at the beginning of a new year. All of my words tied to specific passages of Bible scripture, equipping me with a support system for my resolve. And they enhanced my writing, as well as general life choices.

In the past, various encouragements came to mind:

Joy by Anita Brooks

One of my past Word Focuses — JOY

All very positive affirmations. And each one transformed me more into the person I wanted to become.

But this year, I’m compelled to focus on a very different word. Mostly opposite of concentrated efforts in my past. This year, I guess God’s using a little reverse psychology on me. My New Year focus word?

Lazy.

As in, don’t be the wicked and lazy servant who buries her talents. Matthew 25:14-30.

Besides the spiritual application, there are practical applications as well. Especially when it comes to succeeding as a published writer.

  • If I fritter my time away on television, or other useless endeavors, I can’t be about my Father’s business of writing.
  • It takes practice, learning as a good apprentice, to become a professional. 
  • Allowing myself to wallow in tiredness stifles my ability to be a doer, and makes me a dreamer only. (I’ve learned I can talk myself out of being tired, can move around for a few minutes, or even allow myself a short nap to revive. Sometimes, fatigue is a mindset.)
  • A person has to start where they are in order to get where they want to go.
  • I only get so many seconds, minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months in a year, and wasting them will only leave me discouraged, guilty, and depressed. This can spin me into a hamster wheel of failure.
  • Publishers don’t like working with lazy writers.
  • Being lazy with my marketing means missed opportunities to get my message into the world.
  • Building a writing career takes time, energy, and persistence. Laziness steals momentum from what we’ve invested thus far.
Anita Brooks Ready to Write

Crawling Into My Writing Cave

The reason I’m writing about this now, versus week one or January 1, is I know myself. Often, about six weeks into a focus of this nature, I start getting lax, allowing apathy to override my renewed concentration on a specific act. I need something to propel me into my Writing Cave.

So this post isn’t just about you, although I certainly hope it encourages you to revisit your resolution or New Year’s focus, but it’s also about me. I’m creating a tickler for myself, to help me avoid the pitfall of so easily forgetting the promise I made to me, before God.

Ecclesiastes 5:5 says, “It is better not to make a vow than to make one and not fulfill it.” A resolution or word focus is a vow you make to yourself.

I’m not saying this to make anyone, including myself, feel guilty. But I can’t ignore the truth of the statement, and the reminder that I need to do a better job of acting on my God-given ability and opportunity. After all, a lazy attitude toward learning new things, or accepting new challenges, will make me stagnate.

Anita Brooks, Dare to LiveAs the tagline on my website says, “It’s Never Too Late for a Fresh Start with Fresh Faith.” I believe it, and I live by it.

So this year, my focus is on the word lazy — something I hope to learn to live without. Each day dawns bright with new hope, and each moment burns deep with opportunity.

What have you resolved? How are you doing in your renewed efforts?