Sunday, August 21, 2016

Author Vs. Athlete

As the Olympics draw to a close, I'm constantly making comparisons between my profession and that of these athletes. It's so different from the way the Olympics used to be, when there were no big contracts available, and the cost of training, equipment and travel had to come from the family. There was no question that the athlete would retire from the sport after their one big outing and begin to draw a paycheck. Some of today's athletes are career Olympians, fully funded by corporate dollars, and have been on this world stage three or four times before. Sometimes they stay too long, and their gold medals slip from their grasp the second or third time around. It has to be hard for them to accept the inevitable, since their time in the limelight fades while they're still young.

This is where being an author is different from being an athlete. Any one, at any age, can write a novel, if they're so inclined. I participated in an author panel discussion last week, and afterwards another silver-haired lady came up to me and told me I was an inspiration to her. She had just turned eighty, and thought she'd waited too long to write the book of her heart.
Photos courtesy of Amanda Uhl. Thanks, girl!

Our muscles are on the inside. Our outsides may not be the sleek, rippled machines I've been seeing on the TV screen over the past two weeks, but unlike those hard bodies, in most cases, the mind doesn't care how old you are. It's never too late to begin learning the craft of writing. Danielle Steel is still cranking out books at age 69. She's not retiring from the spotlight anytime soon. Susan Elizabeth Phillips is 67, Stephen King is 68, as is Jude Deveraux. Nora Roberts has had a schedule of publishing six books a year for quite some time. She's in her 50s, and has no plans to slow down.

So, even though I've enjoyed the Olympics, and have admired the hard bodies of these athletes, I feel a bit sorry for them, since my muscle will continue to work regardless of my age. At least that's the plan.

17 comments:

  1. Well said. I didn't publish my first book until I was 62! And I hope I have a few more in me.

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    1. We're the energizer bunnies of our generation, Susanne. Keep plugging along.

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  2. Inspiring post! I love hearing about authors who are writing well into their "golden" years.

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    1. Sometimes we have to wait to get to do what we've been destined to all along. Thanks for visiting, Joanne.

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  3. I love this post. I was 80 when The Wild Rose Press published Two Hearts in Time, my "debut" novel. The only thing I find to be difficult at this stage of life is the promotion. I was writing two other novels madly when so many people were learning how to navigate the internet, and I struggle with it today. It is also a bit more difficult to get out among 'em for presentations and signings, but I haven't done too badly. Becky is certainly right though, the muscle (brain) we use remains strong if we are lucky, and we can do and learn new things, if not as quickly. Write on.

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    1. Promotion's a struggle, regardless of age, Raymona. I hear my chapter mates, some of whom are 30 years younger, moan about it, too. I think a writer's natural tendency is to not brag on themselves, and promotion is entirely opposite our natural tendencies. Keep it going, tho. As you say, write on.

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  4. It's good to know that writing is a golden girl's sport!
    Thanks for sharing.
    Tema Merback
    Writing as Belle Ami

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    1. Thanks, Tema. We've all got lots of productivity ahead of us.

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  5. Inspiring post! I thought I got a late start to publishing at 48...guess I have plenty of time yet God willing:)

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    1. You bet you've still got plenty of time. Write on!

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  6. My first published book was when I was 52. I thought I was late to the game too.

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    1. Mine came later than that, Lynn. But it's nice that good writing has no age requirement.

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  7. Replies
    1. Thanks, J. Arlene. We're all in this together.

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  8. Geez, Beck--God Bless your 80+ fan! Nice! She's an inspiration to me! As always--
    Nice post

    marylou anderson

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  9. I was 40 when I started writing and though I wished I'd started soon,er that was when i was ready. I agree, so long as I have eye sight and fingers, I'll be writing :-)

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