Does AGE Matter

Does age matter if you’re an artist, writer, photographer, or anything else for that matter? The answer is yes. The answer is no. Maybe. Bottom line, after giving the age question much thought, there is no simple answer to the question.

When we are young, still wet behind our ears, we may not have accumulated sufficient experiences to write/draw etc. about many aspects of life. But at the same time, youth see everything through fresh eyes and are not tainted by experiences or the thousands of opinions an older person may have already heard.

For example, let’s look at writing. If you can write and have an imagination, you can write a novel or a screenplay. And if you are devoted to thorough research, you can write nonfiction. Whether you’re young or old, you need persistence, but age should not matter. Persistence is the key.

I suspect publishing firms prefer younger writers because, if they snag the next Stephen King when the novelist is twenty, they might be sitting on a gold mine for decades to come. In an ideal world there is no age discrimination, but we do not live in an ideal world. However, the playing field has been leveled with our ability to self-publish on the internet.

Everyone has unique experiences. Senior citizens have more experiences, and, perhaps, this gives seniors more to choose from, but young writers have experiences, too.

I am over sixty. My experiences and life-lessons are varied, but I have no idea what it feels like to grow up with cell phones and the internet. I do not take these inventions for granted; I marvel at them every day. And I live with them and use them as much as I can. But I can’t imagine what it’s like to be born into a world where these things are taken for granted. I know the transition from a time when these things weren’t around, and I suppose my writing reflects this. I often ask myself: when cell phones and the internet become old-fashioned, what will take their place? Whatever it is will impact writers. It will impact the novels and screenplays and nonfiction that is written in the future.

My 1950s childhood was different from many baby-boomers because my parents were divorced. We didn’t talk about divorce back then because divorce wasn’t common, it was kind of hush-hush. Today it is unusual for children to live with parents who have been married a long time. Today some kids have two moms, or two dads, parents of different races. None of this was common in the 1950s.

Age should not matter. What shapes our work are experiences, fears and accomplishments. And that my friends is good because some of us never grow old!

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5 thoughts on “Does AGE Matter

  1. I’m from the same time period, yet I know of people in their 60’s who took hold of the computer age and never looked back. With wireless in the ear, smart phone and tablet, it’s as if they were reborn, the era of pay phones and manual typewriters being the accoutrements a past life.

    I remember kids whispering in school, “His parents are…divorced.” You could substitute murderers/thieves/prostitutes or a few other choice words and the meaning would be the same. Children who were going through hell at home were forced to be pariah at school if the word got out that their parents were no longer together. I didn’t know what the word “divorced” meant until I was in 7th grade. A girl in high school who was pregnant, got married or spent the last 5 months in a home for unwed mothers (to give birth so that someone could adopt her child).

    Though there are many aspects of our younger lives I don’t miss. Had I been forced to remain in my first marriage, I would have been dead. The divorce rate has leveled off and though it is high I would imagine that before divorce became acceptable a lot more than 30 – 40 percent of marriages were made in hell, not heaven. I do miss things like being able to walk through the airport with your family to the gate, wait for a plane and hug them goodbye before walking down the ramp.

  2. I too grew up in the 1950s 🙂 When I started writing I thought I wanted to write kids books, but soon realised I couldn’t relate to their world enough to include it in my writing. I’m a teacher and I marvel at the rissk free writing of some kids. It makes their work exciting when they don’t worry about getting it right.

  3. In my native Scotland 19 of the 20 highest-selling authors are 40+ years old, and the 20th is 35 years old. Successful commercial writing certainly seems to be the domain of the later middle-aged, but your comments certainly hold true – all that matters at the end of the day is the writing itself, regardless of age or any other factor!

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