Michille: It’s Never Too Late, Part 2

julia-childWe Ladies are all writers. Some of us have more years of life experience than others among us, some of us have been writing for more years than others among us, also, but none of us are wet-behind-the-ears young. But we write. Every now and then there are articles, blog posts, 8LW conversations about ageism and age discrimination in the writing industry. Some writers wrote for a long time before getting published. Some didn’t start writing until later in life. So for any of us writers out there who aren’t published and wonder if we ever will be and if it’s worth it, here are some examples of writers’ journeys that are more heartening than SEP’s first-manuscript-completed-and-sold publishing story:

  • William Golding’s Lord of the Flies was rejected 20 times, John Grisham’s A Time to Kill was rejected 16 times, Laurence Peter’s The Peter Principles was rejected 22 times. How about Robert Pirsig’s Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance with 121 rejections or Jack Canfield and Mark Victor Hansen’s Chicken Soup for the Soul with 134 rejections.

  • Louisa May Alcott was told to stick to teaching.
  • Agatha Christie’s first book was published four years after it was written. Worse than that – Gertrude Stein submitted poems for 22 years before having anything published.
  • Zane Grey, Marcel Proust, and Beatrix Potter self-published their works after receiving so many rejections.
  • Meg Cabot has a mail bag full of rejections on The Princess Diaries. I think Janet Evanovich had a trunk full.
  • Richard Bach’s Jonathan Livingston Seagull was rejected 18 times. At least one publisher said a book about a seagull was ridiculous.
  • J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter was rejected by every major publishing house before finding a home.

And to take a different route, there are celebrities in many areas with a late start:

  • Kristen Wiig started at SNL at 32.
  • Jon Hamm wasn’t a big deal until 40.
  • Harrison Ford was 35 when filming Star Wars: Episode IV.
  • Jane Lynch’s breakout role was Best in Show at 40 (if you haven’t seen it, it’s a[n] hilarious must see).

And Julia Child starting cooking at 37!

Once again, I say, it’s never too late. Go forth and do something you really want to do regardless of whether you think you’re too old to do it or not. May the force be with you (I missed May the fourth to deliver that line) on your journey.

11 thoughts on “Michille: It’s Never Too Late, Part 2

  1. Hoorah for the late bloomers! They do bloom magnificently, don’t they? Thanks for a cheery post on a dreary Thursday.

    Let me add: Laura Ingalls Wilder. Her first book was published when she was 65!

      • I didn’t realize she was in her 60s either — I knew Wilder’s daughter helped with the editing, but I never thought through the math. Rose must have been pretty far along in her career at that point, too.

    • I looked up Ida Pollock. She published her first Novella at 14 and her last two romance novels at 105. In addition to several short stories, she has published 125 romance novels under various names. That is a long and prolific career.

  2. Yay! for them, and us, and anyone who’s going for it, regardless of their age.

    I’d like to add Mary Wesley (check out her Wikipedia page http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mary_Wesley). Her first adult novel (the excellent Jumping the Queue) was published when she was 71. She went on to write 10 best-sellers and become one of Britain’s most successful novelists. Her best-known book, The Camomile Lawn, was adapted for TV. Oh, and guess what? Her family did not approve 😉 .

  3. Gene Hackman – first big film role in his 40’s – The French Connection.
    I’ve got a yr and a half to see if I can “start” in my 40’s. 😀
    Thanks for the pep talk today… It was needed.

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