Age and Experience Sweeten the Cup for Writers

Old vintage books and cup with heart shape on wooden table
Two and a half years ago, I found the courage to go after a dream. I sat down at my dining room table and typed the first words to a story that would later be titled Mind Waves.

That first chapter would be edited and re-edited and eventually deleted all together, as I sought to improve the storyline enough to catch and capture an editor’s interest. It wasn’t easy.

Finding a publisher
I met my editor, Ms. Laura Kelly with The Wild Rose Press, at the first conference I ever attended. That was more than a year ago. She was the second editor I pitched. It took almost a year of rewrites and dozens of contest entries (to garner feedback) before Ms. Kelly said yes to the book (and me:)

I thought those ten months were the most agonizing, depressing ten months of my life. Like a wild roller coaster, my mood would swing up with a kind word from a beta reader or down with a contest failure. Up with a contest win, then a sudden plunge down, down with a barrage of rejections. When the future is uncertain and there’s no end in sight, it can be difficult to stay on course.

So, why did I keep at it?
I’d like to tell you it was one activity or person that inspired me, but it was not. The gas in my tank was a stubborn refusal and belief in myself and my writing skills. This is what I needed to carry me through the long haul of disappointments and lack of interest. Whenever I got a rejection, I would remind myself that I could do better and then go at it again the next day.

One thing I didn’t do was stay still. And I’m glad. Because failure one day would lead to success on another. For instance, on a day when I felt particularly frustrated, I began writing a new story to shake off the doldrums. That story placed third in the contemporary long category of the Cleveland Rocks Romance Writer’s Contest.

Ironically, what I found agonizingly slow, other writers tell me is fast. They marvel at how quickly I navigated the process. One writer friend compared my journey to a snowball rolling down hill, picking up speed and size. (I love the imagery of writer friends.) That’s when I first began to consider and appreciate my age and experience in this business.

I’m no spring chicken
I have been writing in the corporate world for more than twenty years. I’ve produced news stories in an hour with someone standing over my shoulder, urging me to type faster. I’ve pulled together marketing brochures and posters that have gone on to win awards. I’ve accepted and incorporated feedback over and over again from clients who don’t like the way something is written.

Last weekend at the Cleveland Writing Workshop, I met a lady who wanted to write military novels at nineteen but was told she needed more experience. So she joined the military and became a medic. She has since retired from service but has spent the past twenty years perfecting the craft and has more than six books under her belt.

In the writing world, age and experience are not a liability. Like fine wine, they enrich and sweeten our work.

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12 Comments

  1. Tena

    I truly enjoyed your story and couldn’t agree more. Thanks for sharing.

    • amandauhl

      Thanks for reading Tena!

  2. Sandra Dailey

    I’m no spring chicken either. I believe we experience so much over the years, what seems like a catastrophe to a younger person only feels like a bump-in-the-road. Great post! Good luck Amanda.

    • amandauhl

      Thanks Sandra!

  3. Charlotte

    Great post ! Couldn’t agree more.

    • amandauhl

      Thanks for reading Charlotte.

  4. Ilona Fridl

    I couldn’t have said it better!

    • amandauhl

      Thanks llona!

  5. Danielle

    Excellent words of wisdom! Another trick to keeping with things when it gets tough- is to go do something small instant gratification ( organize a closet, a room, cut the grass) so you can easily see the positive results of your efforts. 🙂 i call it the left brain right brain fix 🙂 Its quick and painless. PS i got it!

    • amandauhl

      Yes that trick works, too. I always try to do something. I don’t stay still long.

  6. Jeannie Hall

    Great post, Amanda! ?

    • amandauhl

      Thanks Jeannie!

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