It’s Never Too Late

You’ve been writing for a while, haven’t you? Lots of words over lots of years.

And you’ve actually finished things, haven’t you?

Possibly you have a cupboard full of finished novels, plays and collections of poetry. Maybe you can’t open your desk drawer properly because that novel you’ve been meaning to edit for the past year keeps getting jammed.

The other day you needed your passport but you couldn’t find it because it was wedged at the bottom of the filing cabinet beneath that screenplay about the cyborg who fell in love with a human.

Your study is a waiting room for words, sitting and waiting for an appointment with the word doctor who is always running late.

It takes a long time to write a novel. At least a year. Good poetry and a gripping screenplay can take even longer as you grapple with tone and camera angles.

Writing is one of the few things people attempt without any guarantee of monetary success at the end. Beginning a novel without any hint of agent representation or a looming publishing deal is probably not terribly good business practice.

We know all that, yet we continue to write.

It’s the creative spark. Once it gets a grip on you it won’t let go.

And let’s face it, we all need something to distract us from the doleful dirge of human existence.

So what’s the point of this post, you say? Are you trying to completely depress us? To condemn us to a bleak future of dusty studies or writing nooks overburdened with page upon page of our creative musings?

Not exactly.

What I want to say is that all that effort might just pay off in the end.

Case in point.

An 82 year old grandmother in England has just landed a three book publishing deal. She has always been interested in creative writing and decided to give a novel a go after receiving positive feedback on a short story she wrote last year.

Myrrha Stanford-Smith said she was ‘gobsmacked’ to be handed the three-book agreement, which saw her first work The Great Lie start appearing on shelves last week.

I am thrilled for her. It’s never too late, is it?

So don’t give up. If you believe in your work keep at it.

All those words eventually have to count for something.

Don’t think I’ll chuck out my old stuff just yet.

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About Selma

Still dreaming, still hoping, still trying to pronounce incontrovertible. Writes stories the way Evel Knievel jumps canyons - without a net.
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33 Responses to It’s Never Too Late

  1. Pingback: A Novel Place « Selma In The City

  2. Great post and please don’t chuck out your old stuff Selma. That’s great to hear about the 82 year old getting a publishing deal.

    Like

  3. Selma says:

    Hi GABRIELLE:
    I really appreciate you stopping by. Karen and I are going to try and make some sense out of our writing pursuits with this blog. I actually have double the amount of stuff shown in the photo. And some of it isn’t half bad. Looks like I have a lot of editing to do *groan*

    Like

  4. Ms. Karen says:

    Um, I’m thinking SOMEBODY (Selma) has been peeking into my office and rummaging through my files (or rather piles) of manuscripts in all stages of completeness. At least yours is printed out, most of mine are locked away in the computer (which isn’t the best thing to do, considering what happened to me earlier this year).

    We’ll get them done, and oh, I’m hanging onto the thoughts of that dear woman who got the big book deal. That’s what I want (at least to start with! LOL)

    Like

  5. Slamdunk says:

    Thanks for the inspiration Selma.

    82? Great to hear stories like that.

    Like

  6. daoine says:

    Not sure if I’ll survive the wait until I’m 82 before getting published. Sigh. But at the rate I send stuff out… the odds are tipping more towards 102.

    Like

  7. Selma says:

    Hi SLAMDUNK:
    You are so kind to visit me here. And isn’t that story amazing? I was thrilled when I read about it!

    Hi DAOINE:
    I’m aiming for 112 so I get into the Guinness Book of Records on two counts. 😆

    Like

  8. Selma says:

    Hi KAREN:
    Didn’t mean to miss you there. I have even found some stuff on floppy disk. Remember them? Don’t know how I’m going to open them. At this rate I’ll be digging out a book written on a stone tablet next 😀

    Like

  9. Sue Guiney says:

    Never say die and never throw anything away! My first novel was published at the ripe old age of 52 — not 82, but still no spring chicken. And novel 2 comes out next month when I’m 55. people say perseverance is the key to success. I say stubbornness. Thanks for this, Selma.

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  10. Selma says:

    Hi SUE:
    You are still a spring chicken. No fear of that. I think it is fantastic your second novel is about to be released. I am thrilled for you. You inspire me. And I completely agree with you about the stubbornness. Thanks for visiting ♥

    Like

  11. Tam says:

    Ok Selma, the red background makes my head hurt.

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  12. Tam says:

    Thank you!

    Like

  13. Ms. Karen says:

    Tam: That’s because your computer doesn’t know how to make it look right. Because… your computer is OLD! In human years, your computer would be 500 years old, and now it’s starting to leave little stone chips all over the office.

    Like

  14. Geraldine says:

    I’m one of your biggest fans Sel. I KNOW you have what it takes to write a novel that is well-received and could lead you to a new career as a full-time writer/novelist. You have a special gift. You should be sharing it with a much larger audience. I hope that day comes. Great post, inspiring! G

    Like

  15. Jennifer says:

    It’s so true. Especially when you consider that with each year, one gets wiser and can therefore be a better writer. And anyway, from several perspectives – the act of writing is never a waste of time, whether it gets published or not.

    Like

  16. Selma says:

    Hi TAM:
    Sorry about that background. I forgot when I am messing around on the net that other people can see it too. Ooops. You’re right – it was a bit trippy.

    Hi KAREN:
    LOLZ. Even on my new high tech thing it was a bit dodgy. I think a nice, plain background is the way to go. Thanks for letting me know, Tam!

    Hi GERALDINE:
    That’s it. You’re going to make me cry. What a lovely thing to say. Come here and give me a big ((((Hugggg))))) Thank you so much, G ♥

    Hi JENNIFER:
    Agree with you 100% about the wisdom. It doesn’t even matter if you’re wiser in a benefitting-humanity-Buddhist-on-a-mountain-sense as long as you’ve lived. I also agree that not all writing needs to be published. I read something I wrote about five years ago today. At the time I didn’t realise that it was a note to my future self. It will never be published but it is important that it was written – if only for me. I really like the way you look at things. Thank you.

    Like

  17. daoine says:

    Heh heh. I would say you’re welcome to the record, Sel, but I want to buy one of your published books almost as much as I want to buy one of my own.

    Love ya.

    Like

  18. awareness says:

    You are beautiful…..! Look at you. 🙂 Never chuck out a thing……….. you just never know what will sing again the music only a writer can hear……. xx

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  19. Selma says:

    Hi DAOINE:
    You are beautiful to say that. I feel the same way about yours. When it comes out I will actually fly down to Melbourne for the launch and I hate to fly. That’s how excited I will be. Can’t wait!

    Hi AWARENESS:
    I am a crazy hoarding lady. I have being culling a lot of stuff today. Boy, did I write some crapola. But there is some good stuff in there too which is encouraging!

    Like

  20. Lua says:

    Selma, thank you for the inspiring yet realistic post!
    Being a writer is like taking a leap of faith; no guarantee, no certainty and definitely no financial stability. Just your hope and your words.

    Like

  21. daoine says:

    You’re on, sister. And I will lug my toddler up to Sydney for yours.

    Like

  22. john says:

    Hey Selma,
    I think the story highlights the fact that you have write as long as you are called to write, without expecting anything from it. It’s seems idealistic to say something like that, but I think it’s highly pragmatic. It’s like I tell my son about playing sport — if you really want to win, then forget about winning. If you love the sport, you will excel to your level, and then maybe you’ll win. Love the game, and everything else will follow. Of course there are no guarantees, and maybe it will take until you’re 82, but you will increase your odds if you pour yourself into writing for the love of writing. You’ll stand a chance of creating someone new and beautiful.
    Cheers,
    John

    Like

  23. Selma says:

    Hi LUA:
    To add to that though it does seem to be true that those who persist with their writing tend to succeed. I believe that not giving up is crucial. Keep writing, keep growing and believe in yourself. I know you can do it Lua!

    Hi DAOINE:
    I would LOVE that. I can’t believe we’ve never met. We will have to remedy that soon. 😀

    Hi JOHN:
    You are absolutely spot on. There are so many things in life that are almost like vocations. We do them because we are called to do them, not necessarily because there is a cause and effect thing going on. But sometimes – and here’s the little gem – that vocation pays off. That’s what keeps me going. It is so good to hear from you, John!

    Like

  24. That’s great to hear about the 82 year old getting a publishing deal! And NOW I want to hear about YOU submitting at least ONE thing from that PILE to an agent!

    Like

  25. Selma says:

    Hi MELEAH:
    Oh absolutely. If an 82 year old lady can do it, I can too. It’s time. I really appreciate you popping over here.

    Like

  26. Puddock says:

    Hi Selma

    Thanks for directing us here to this inspiring post. I am (or was) on the verge of giving up (again) on the novel. Wonderful for Myrrha. My personal inspiration is Penelope Fitzgerald, luminous writer and Booker Prize winner, who had her first book published at the age of 58, still long enough away for me (just!) to be a realistic aspiration.

    Keep on writing everyone!

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  27. Geraldine says:

    Just stopping by to leave another hug. It’s all true Sel. I mean it. G

    Like

  28. lissa says:

    I know exactly what you mean, I don’t have actual papers with my writings but I have computer files with loads of words, even ones that aren’t even worth much but I save them, I think we all want to keep our words even if no one reads them

    I might even join in on NaNoWriMo this year, haven’t decide yet

    Like

  29. Wendy says:

    Inspiring post! Not just for those of us who have a drawer full of stories, but for those of us who are still finding ways to deal with the sting of submission rejections. I think I’m going to like this new writing space.

    Like

  30. Selma says:

    Hi PUDDOCK:
    Penelope Fitzgerald is a wonderful writer. Her story is also inspiring. She highlights – as so many others do – the power of perseverance. I really believe the more mature writers have better stories to tell because, well, they have lived.

    I am really glad to have inspired you to keep going with your novel. Please continue to give it a go. I would hate for you to regret not sticking with it. I second the call –
    KEEP ON WRITING, EVERYONE!!!!!

    Hi GERALDINE:
    Your hugs are very special. Thanks, G. ♥

    Hi LISSA:
    You are one I am going to keep my eye on. You have so much potential, Lissa. Don’t ever forget that!

    Hi WENDY:
    The rejections do sting. At one stage I had a box full of 175 of them. I don’t know why I kept them because it was as if I gave them a power over me. Recently I threw them away and now I feel free to resubmit. I am forcing myself to acknowledge that one rejection is only one person’s opinion. It shouldn’t stop me from resubmitting somewhere else. Get those stories out there again, Wendy!

    Like

  31. lissa says:

    I find this blog about writing which I think is quite good for any would-be writer or anything that is interest in writing:

    http://www.noveldoctor.com/

    – just thought I share this

    Like

  32. Selma says:

    Hi LISSA:
    Thanks for that link. It is a really good blog about writing. I’ll include it on the blogroll. If you have any other useful links I would love to see them. Cheers!

    Like

  33. Reggie says:

    That’s the pecfert insight in a thread like this.

    Like

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