Thursday, July 8, 2010

The Right Writing Age: Attitudes Struck & Myths Dispelled

Whenever I begin a new Creative Writing Class, I stand at the board and ask people in the class--people of every size, age, stripe, to give me a list of reasons why they find themselves unable to write...what negative reasons one's mind gives the would-be writer to give up before they begin and invariably, high on the list beside "I am too young to write, too inexperienced" is the opposite: "I am too old to begin writing now! Too old to start a writing career, too old to dabble, etc., etc..."

Trust me, I get a long list of negatives on the one side of the board, and this is followed up by asking the class to help me REWRITE all these negative statements into POSITIVE statements such as "I am at the perfect age to write. This is a wonderful time in my life to write."

As awful a negative as I have heard - "I can't write because my job, working with kids all day, sucks all my imagination out of me..."  and "I can't write because my mind is on worrying about my dying wife" these too can be rewritten and the attitude that these are damn good reasons to write can prompt wonderful results.

On a Five Star chat group among Five Star authors, a negative similar to those above came up and suddenly Jim Ingraham (author of Sahara Dust, and Evidence of Evil, work in progress: Duff Kerrigan)  leapt into the fray with the following comments that I believe every 'older' or just starting out author, young or old, ought to hear.  Here's Jim in his own words after all this came up via the catalyst of my urging authors to take up the standard of becoming an Indie Author publishing with Kindle/Amazon.  Here's Jim in his words:

"It's not how age affects me as a writer that's important. It's how it affects me as a man. Because I have shed many illusions about myself and my life and have accepted who I am and who I have been, my relationship to people and to my work is more sensible than it once was. I am no longer crippled by fears that I won't "make it." I know that "making it" is an illusion. The only important result of writing is the work itself.

I liken it to playing golf. Winning a tournament is fun, but trying to is not what keeps me playing. The real reward is striking the ball well, that feeling coming into my hands when I watch the ball sail down the fairway, when I watch it fall into the hole from 30 feet across the green.

If the reward of your work is something other than finding the right word, building a solid paragraph, turning out a well-crafted story, then you miss the true rewards of being a writer.

If I am true to myself, the results of my work will reflect the gains I have made over all the adversities that have plagued my life. I hope that readers grow from my work. It pleases me that others enjoy my stories. But I write, not to please others, but to please myself."

Jim Ingraham
following is a photo of Jim & his son at the piano!

Wow...Man, wish I had Jim in my class. Jim is 87 years old by the way. Read his book Sahara Dust from 5-Star, and Evidence of Evil on Kindle/Amazon.  And do find Jim at - great website. You won't regret it.

Now I am outta here, kiddies, kiddos, and kid-kids.  Happy Writing and do affect the right attitude. Attitude is the one and only thing we ultimately can control in this life...that and sometimes our characters.

Rob Walker
Chidren of Salem, Killer Instinct, and coming soon to a Kindle near you, Titanic 2012 - FREE first 14 Chapters for a click found at  That's seven chapters per each storyline, 1912 and 2012


Anonymous said...

Attitude adjustment? LOL I'm published in my favorite genres in about all formats available (right now-who knows what the future holds)
I'm 83 (going on 39 :-) a and I'm going to wrie as long as I enjoy it and can see the monitor.
Jackie Griffey

Anonymous said...

Love it! Attitude is indeed the key. With today's publishing options our writing success is truly in our own hands--pun intended.

Jim truly inspires me. I do agree, age and life does have its impact on our attitude--it can make it better or it can make it not so good. I choose better!


Rob Walker said...

Thanks Anon and Sylvia for dropping by and adding your comments. All very worthwhile. I love Jim's zest and truth be known he looks so much like my Grampa Walker.