Perhaps you’ve always wanted to be a writer but haven’t made it happen yet.
There are so many reasons why you might not have made the leap from aspiring to write to actually starting to do it yet.
Maybe you doubt whether you’re good enough. Maybe writing has never seemed like an important enough priority to dedicate your time to. Maybe you think you’ve waited so long to start that it’s too late.
No matter what your reason for not writing yet is, there’s one thing that’s certain. Your desire to write hasn’t gone away yet, has it? Even if you’ve waited decades to get started, or told yourself every reason under the sun why you’re not good enough, your dream is very much still alive.
The fact that you still want to write is everything you need to know. No more excuses. It’s time to make it happen.
Next time you find yourself doubting if it’s still possible for you to start writing, hold onto these four important facts.
You have more life experience
Unlike a lot of ways of spending time, writing isn’t made worse by waiting. It’s actually kind of a tradeoff.
The earlier you start to write, the more experience of the technical craft of writing you have. The repetition of sitting down and getting words onto a page is a valuable discipline and one it takes time to develop.
But, counterintuitively, all the time you spent not writing has made you a better writer.
Unlike a lot of skills, good writing is a mixture of the technical competency of the person doing it and the blend of life experiences they’ve had up until that point.
All the time you spent on something other than writing was just preparation for getting started. Yes, you’ll need to spend some time sharpening your craft and the practical side of writing. But all of the things you’ve learned and experiences you’ve had will enrich your writing in a way that wouldn’t be possible if you’d started earlier.
So when you next try to trick yourself into feeling like you’ve wasted however many years not writing, stop and remember the truth. You were making yourself a better writer the entire time. So don’t let all your training go to waste!
You can always do things differently
It’s easy to make the mistake of confusing what you do with who you are.
If you’ve spent years wanting to write but never taking the time to get started, you might confuse your lack of action with your identity. You might hold beliefs like “I’m not the kind of person who could be a writer” or “someone who should be a writer would have started by now”. In turn, those beliefs end up holding you back further.
Instead of holding on to these limiting beliefs, take the time to see things in a more empowering way. Being a writer is as simple as committing to some form of writing and making it happen. If you commit to writing a single page and do it after finishing this article, you’re now a writer.
In truth, telling yourself that you’re not a writer isn’t really about writing at all. It’s actually about the fear of failure.
It’s easier to stay in your comfort zone and tell yourself false stories about why you don’t write than it is to face the possibility of finding it tough.
Once you recognize that you might be fearful of writing, you can take steps to reduce the fear you’re feeling. It’s important not to think too far ahead. Don’t think about whether your writing will be any good or if people will enjoy it or not. Be very easy on yourself and let action be your only measure of success. As long as you’re writing, you’re succeeding.
Like so many things, starting writing is often the hardest part. Once you build even a little bit of momentum and progress a snowball effect will kick in. You’ll gradually gain confidence and competency until you couldn’t imagine being anything other than a writer.
Your work is in harmony with the world
If you had started writing earlier in your life, your output would have reflected the values of the world around you at that time.
Think about how many people, writers and otherwise, have their past mistakes dragged up and amplified on social media these days. That’s not the way things should be, but it’s the world we live in.
Let’s imagine your writing that began decades ago featured views or language that society no longer finds acceptable. This happens all the time, with controversies relating to classic works of literature as well as more contemporary fiction authors like Stephen King or J.K Rowling.
By starting writing later in life, you give yourself a clean slate. You can ensure your body of work reflects the person you’ve become and the things you now believe. There are countless writers out there who wish they had the same opportunity.
What’s more, you’ve also avoided pigeonholing yourself into a particular style or genre. Once writers have a reputation, and a fanbase with a particular set of expectations, it’s hard to switch styles and write something fresh and unexpected.
Waiting until now to start writing means you’ve reached the perfect time to choose your style. You can write in any niche genre you want thanks to the possibilities of independent publishing. There’s no longer a need to serve the mainstream market unless that’s what you want to do.
Today’s writers have a wider range of influences and opportunities than ever before. So isn’t this the perfect era to begin?
You’re in great company
Becoming a writer a little later in life means you’re in great company.
Some of the most successful and beloved authors weren’t writers in their earlier years. Black Beauty author Anna Sewell had health issues and passed away a matter of months after her classic was published. Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Frank McCourt’s memoir Angela’s Ashes was published when he was 66.
Isn’t it encouraging that it’s not only possible to become a good writer at any point in your life, but also potentially one of the best out there?
So please don’t make the mistake of holding yourself back from writing. If it’s something you love, you almost owe it to yourself to try. As long as there’s breath in your lungs, there’s still time.
There’s no point in living with regret, so why not get started right away?