Writing Through the Ages III: Retirement

We all know that salaried jobs, families, and life obstacles were put in place by book hating aliens to prevent writers from writing.  But those aliens forgot to take into account retirement.  With many of those obstacles out of the way, retirement is the most popular time to return to life dreams of becoming writers.

Children’s Book Writers who are Retired:

How to Recognize:

It is easy enough to recognize the retired judging by their age and their presence in restaurants and hair salons or pruning trees in their front yards during normal working hours.  However, the “retired” category of people is so bustling with writers that it can be difficult to spot the writer from the non-writer.

If the cats are dancing, odds that person is a writer double.

The retired writer may frequent bookstores, sport an “artsy” style involving purple rimmed glasses and cat earrings, or write longhand in a notebook in the park.  But this category also contains many “closet writers” who write in private and do not sport cat earrings.  The best way to distinguish the writers from the non is to ask.

What They Have to Offer:

Patience and life experience.  Retirees understand that good things are worth waiting for, and they have learned how to wait.  They have lived through each of the age categories preceding theirs, most likely with a vast range of experiences, relationships, places, and deep emotions.  If you are familiar with the slogan “Write what you know,” then you can see where this group is at an advantage.  They know a lot.

With the exception of the “closet writers,” retired writers also seem to know the value of a good writing community.  They flock together to share their stories and knowledge, encourage each other, and to create lasting friendships.  They not only form critique groups but support systems, which are essential in what can be the lonely and discouraging world of writing.

Where They Stand to Gain:

The book that sparked the cat earring trend?

Some retirees are fortunate to have grandchildren that they see frequently.  Those that do not are at a disadvantage in knowing and understanding the modern book market as well as the modern child.  While it is important to understand what makes writing timeless, it is also valuable to know what modern kids are learning in school and how they’re learning it, what they care about and enjoy, and even what popular names are.  Knowledge of blogging and apps can’t hurt either.

Retirees take on the endeavor of children’s writing with varying degrees of seriousness.  Some mistakenly believe that it is too late in life to learn a new craft or to become a professional in a new realm.  Overwhelmed by the publishing process, many write only for themselves or self-publish books for their grandchildren, both admirable undertakings.  For those who are aspiring to publish, know that the publishing process is overwhelming for writers of any age, and that it’s never too late in life to pursue your dream.



Filed under Thoughts and Insights

3 responses to “Writing Through the Ages III: Retirement

  1. I LOVE it!!! You’re awesome! I’m gonna share these articles on facebook and twitter.

  2. Pingback: Writing Through the Ages IV: Children | Laura Boffa: Write of Way

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