Is it too late to become a writer?

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Your writing doesn’t have an expiration date. Those pages of handwriting in your notebook don’t care what day, month, or year it is. It’s never too late.

A story becomes real because of who you are when you are writing it. You breathe life into it with your care and attention. That’s what makes it feel alive.

When you write with presence, your writing becomes true, regardless of how much time has passed since you wrote it. 

You can jot down a note today about the way sun shines into your glass of ice water and casts a glow of gold light on the table, and you might not find a place for that detail in your writing until five years from now. But it has power, like a battery. It is true and relevant outside time.

That’s why an idea you wanted to write a whole story about last year could turn into character development for the novel you are going to write next year. 

Your writing is not a static object – it’s an evolving entity that is part of your own energy.

This uncertainty can be vexing. It’s also liberating! When you know that your story doesn’t work on a linear time continuum, you can use this to your advantage.

This is a benefit when your stories are out on submission, right? Waiting for news about publication can take a very long time. Let’s say after eight months, one of your stories comes back with a rejection letter. But it’s been eight months! Your life has changed since you wrote this piece. You’ve learned a few things, and this has made you a different writer. You’re working on something else now. It’s hard to remember what you were trying to do when you wrote this older story. What should you do with it now?

Feeling weird about your old writing is normal. But hang out with it for a minute, and you’ll see the gift that it’s offering you.

It can be tempting to look backwards: if you worked harder on this story five years ago, you could have written a book by now! That voice in your head is disheartening, but remember, it’s just a regular working part of your internal safety system. Your inner critic is a protector: it’s trying to keep you from taking a risk.

So, are you ready to explore what your old story is asking you to write today? 

Right now, your story has something to tell you about who and where you are at this very moment. Don’t look back. Trust that you have grown since you last wrote those words, and go forward with curiosity and respect for the writer you used to be. You’re right on track.

When you revisit your writing after time away from it, ask yourself: where can I find the truth in this writing now? Where is the energy, and how can I work with that energy today? 

Because you wrote it with presence, your old story is still alive.

Your story is smarter than you are. You can ask it for clues. Pay attention: look for glimmers and sparkles of interest as you read it. What you notice about your old story will tell you what you need to write next. Focus on the parts that feel alive, and leave the rest. 

If you choose to revise this older piece of writing, you can integrate this energy from the past with who you are, right now, and write a story that only you can write.

Of course, it’s also totally fine to start something new instead! What’s important is that you make a wholehearted decision, one way or the other. It’s a choice: you get to write what you want to read.

Everything you write is worth pursuing, if and when you choose to pursue it.

It’s never too late to become a writer.


Photo credit (top):Michael Dziedzic on Unsplash.

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Rand Webber

Thanks, Sarah. It was the perfect time for me to read this and take it in. I've just returned to a short story, written at the early onset of Covid, that now reads like an historical text! I'm reworking it but was having trouble moving past that original context. The story did feel static, frozen in place. I've decided to leave that draft intact, for the archives, and move on with an untethered version, one that hopefully will find a new way.

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You are AMAZING, Sarah!!!

Canot thank you enough for

your insightful comments. You

Invite us to rise up to deserve

the crown you invite us to assume.


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