Odd Woman Out (and Blogging Anniversary!)

I’m the youngest member in my prompt-based writing group. I knew that going into it. Younger writers have come and gone, but I’m the one who stuck. Usually this isn’t an issue. We’re all adults, we’re all writers, and that’s all there is to it. Except when it’s not.

Our group meets just about every Monday. And you may recall how Valentine’s Day fell on Monday this year. My husband made dinner reservations and I sent my regrets to the group.

This past weekend, I ran into one of the women from the writing group who told me, yes, they still met despite the holiday. She informed me I was the only one young enough to still enjoy such things. And that they had a few jokes at my expense.

Now, I know this is all light-hearted teasing. As the youngest by two decades (at least), I have to expect some ribbing.

But it does make me wonder sometimes. Because I’m the youngest, do they treat me differently? Are they less critical about my work so they don’t discourage me?

The group is comprised mostly of hobbyists and those who turned to writing later in life, some after they retired from an unrelated career. Then there’s me, someone who also turned to writing later in life, but a few years after grad school, not decades. I often lament the fact that I didn’t do it sooner – say when I was still in school and in a position to take creative writing classes. And now, everyday, there’s more rampant speculation about ebooks and the state of the industry, of writers younger and older than me getting book deals.

I’ve heard if you don’t publish by 30, you won’t make it. Like any piece of writing advice, you can take it or leave it. But as someone who’s barely clinging to what’s left of my twenties, statements like these strike fear in my heart.

Then I think about the people in my group. They write, regardless of the odds, regardless of the fact some whippersnapper like me is snapping at their heels. They simply write. And so must I.

In other news, today marks the one-year anniversary of The Bluestocking Blog. This time last year, I posted my Declaration of Intent. And it’s been a crazy fun ride (and a lot of work) ever since.

Thank you to all who have commented, followed, tweeted, shared, and otherwise welcomed me to the Writing Blogosphere. I am humbled. And I am looking forward to another year!

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8 thoughts on “Odd Woman Out (and Blogging Anniversary!)

  1. I also worried about not taking my writing seriously until I was older (I was 28 when I decided I was finally really going to do this, 34 now).

    I did a couple of things:

    I looked for examples of writers who “made it” later on, 30s, 40s, 50s and older. There are many. You hear about the younger ones because if an author is going to make a splash with his first novel, he's probably going to be younger. Slow and steady does not make media grist.

    I also thought about just giving up – not writing, or writing just for fun as I always had. But quitting something I want to do just because I've reached some arbitrary age seemed dumb. Who cares if I'm old? They don't ask for my age when I submit a story. I realized that I was the only one worrying about it.

    P.S. I didn't write on V Day. I was drinking good beer and eating great Thai food with my man. Those ladies don't know how to have a good time if you ask me.

  2. “I’ve heard if you don’t publish by 30, you won’t make it.” Whoever had the audacity to say that to you has no idea what they're talking about. I might have to do a Fun Fact Friday post on something with average publishable age or something. I like researching about author's lives, and let me tell you, I think more people are published after their thirties than before. Don't quote me on that. But this is definitely true: people get published for the first time at all ages- 16, 29 34, 47, 58, 64, 75, 91. And yes, even 100 (I've mentioned that in a post already).

    You have lots of time. We both have lots of time. Just gotta keep writing and improving and submitting. 🙂

    And a Happy Blogiversary to you!!!!!

  3. Happy Blogiversary!

    I think what you need to ask your self about your writing group is are you getting what you need from them? Are they being critical enough for you? If they are smiles and I love everything you do, then they aren't helping you grown. (sorry) Don't worry about who ever said about making it by the time you are 30. For goodness sakes, you could say that about anything. If you haven't gone snorkeling by the time you are thirty you never will. LOL, I went last week and I'm way past 30. 🙂 It's all about setting a goal and working towards it no matter what your age is.

    Have a great week… 🙂

  4. Congrats!

    If they're not treating you right, they're not good crit partners! I know because I have a GREAT crit partner. 😉

    (30 isn't a magic number. I hit and had a total crisis. But it wasn't really about the number. It was about not being staisfied with where I was in life. That could have happened at 25 or 55. For me, it was 30. That's when I started writing again more seriously).

  5. Thanks for all the thoughtful comments!

    KB – Thai food sounds great. That's a good point about submitting — the story is all that matters, not your age. So glad you decided to keep writing!

    Sophia – Loved your post about young writers who peak too soon. I like to think I'm a fine wine getting better every day with the passage of time!

    Laura – The adage is definitely out there, usually in the context of literary writers, people coming out of MFA programs, but since I'm getting close to the age in question, it gives me pause. Love your Fun Fact Friday posts, if you decide to do them.

    Sharon – Glad you are back! Yes, this particular writing group is focuses on positive critique only — so it can be difficult to parse out what is meant genuinely and what someone comments on just because they have to say something nice. Tricky stuff. Because of the limited utility of this, I joined another writing group and got some CPs as well…

    Angela – Thanks for stopping by! They do respect me, I just hate being the youngest one. Some get paternal, others I suspect don't think I have enough life experience yet, but I think the older ones are out of touch, so it goes both ways 🙂

    Anonymeet – Thanks for the kind words! I realize the fear is because I feel like I haven't accomplished anything yet at what feels like a milestone age. In the grand scheme of things, yes, there's plenty of time. Fingers crossed! And I am glad that writing seriously has helped you find balance in life.

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