Ageism in Writing

It's interesting how I had these ugly feelings about my age (late thirties) and suddenly I see this Insta-story by Mary E. Pearson, author of several YA fantasy books, including the most recent DANCE OF THIEVES. She talked openly and honestly about the stigma and how her first book wasn't published until she was already 45. Mary is 63 and still going strong, still writing and staying undefined by her age. (P.S. Her skin is flawless and looks crazy young!)

Another author I looked up was JK Rowling, who was 32 when her 1st book published, and 42 when the series was done. Keep in mind it took several rewrites when she conceptualized/drafted the first book at 25. At 53, she still writes strong, especially in her Adult pen name, Robert Galbraith.

However, several new, upcoming, or even authors with books really charting those charts, are all...young. 20s, Early 30s. I'll flip to the end of finished books to see author photos and its like looking at kids and I feel ancient!  And dang, you probably are young in my eyes, too, and I'm NOT preaching to the choir!

Personally, I wonder as an unpublished author if what I'm doing in trying to be published is too late in life. Yeah, we hear there is no age limit, but is that really true? Do you ever wonder if an agent looks at your age and thinks well, we can pump out at least this many books before they croak?

I often wonder what MY excuse is for not "noveling" sooner. Yeah, I made that word legit. Spread that. Growing up and into my high school years, it was always poetry, lyrics, and novel "attempts." After H.S. and an amazing creative writing class my senior year, I went for a "real novel this time." Lost it, and ... life went crazy in a vague nutshell. It wasn't until I moved to this little island in 2006 that I wanted to write about its history and remembered - Hey! I used to love writing!!!

Slowly, and after a few newspaper articles, I regained that passion and around 2012/2013 tried to rewrite that story in H.S. I lost. It's buried on my laptop, now. Where it should be. But what a learning process!! Then I got pissed and wrote a WF about being a pissed off writer with life issues. HAHAHA! Jokes on me, it didn't get published and I realized I'm not a WF writer.

So what is my excuse for taking this all the way into my 30's to start noveling?? Stupidity? The dark ages in my life? I don't know. But, I suppose it's better than waiting until my 98th birthday, with my last breath saying, "So, I have this idea for a Viking..." *croaks*

Here's my last tidbit about ageism in writing...if you can think it, you can write it. There is no golden age, formula, maturity. You are the only one stopping you or allowing others to. Screw that! Show them what you're twerking with. See? I'm hip. I'm young. :)~

*click to see Mary E. Pearson's insta-story on ageism here*

Tell me your thoughts! If you're under 40, don't you dare! Kidding!!!!!

Love your guts,



Hi Tammy - there may be ageism ... but just keep writing and being ready with more ... believe and it will happen - take care and good luck - Hilary
Mary Wesley (whose work I thoroughly enjoyed) had her first novel published in her sixties. So there is (perhaps) hope for me yet.
Natalie Aguirre said…
Hope there isn't too much ageism because I am way older than you--62. I don't think we should bow to gender or age discrimination even though it is out there.
Tammy Theriault said…
You got this, Natalie!!
The Silver Fox said…
I'm glad I saw "noveling" used in context. Otherwise, I probably would have mentally pronounced it "nuvveling" (rhyming with "shoveling," ya know?)

My mom had some unusual pronunciations. When she said "shoveling" she pronounced it "shevveling." I used to ask "Why do you pronounce it that way? Do you ever tell someone to 'shev' something up their butt?" (Okay, okay, I didn't say "butt" even though I was talking to my mom.)

So, you're in your late thirties, and experiencing "ugly feelings about [your] age?" Hell, to me you're just a baby! (I turn sixty-two this Friday.) And besides, at the risk of being politically incorrect and/or sexist, there is nothing ugly about you. Heh.
For those of us who start late, I think a lot of that has to do with not being able to devote the time when we're busy with day jobs, raising kids, taking care of the house, and all those things we do for others. Many of the writers I know who started in their twenties could do so because they didn't have to work a day job. I'm envious, but I still have lots of good years and ideas left. (I'm much older that you)
Tammy Theriault said…
I feel this is the reason, too
Mark said…
I try not to think of age much. My great-grandfather never knew what year he was born, so he literally never knew his exact age. It actually kind of liberated him:)
Unless we put our age out there, no one would really know how old a writer is when submitting something. The bigger worry I have is running our of years to keep trying! And you're a decade younger than me, so you're still just a kid ;)

And I'm going to gamble to say that you got a later start than you wanted to because you're a good wife/mother/daughter and you put your family first.
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