Every writer fears writing. Whether you’re penning a Pulitzer or just trying to get a message from your heart onto paper, you can’t escape the vulnerability of verbal expression. Even now, as I’m writing this simple blog post, I’m battling that same fear I see my clients battle over and over again.
The fear of being seen.
So many people want to start writing later in life, but they let their age or well-established careers get in the way. They tell themselves things like:
“I’m too old.”
“No one wants to hear what I have to say.”
“I’m not a creative person.”
“My family, friends, and colleagues will think I’m crazy.”
As a Developmental Editor, Copyeditor, and Story Coach, I’ve worked with dozens of brand-new authors who started honing their craft in their 40s, 50s, 60s, and beyond. Many had risen to the top of their left-brain fields, like medicine and engineering, only to feel restless, unfulfilled, and seeking more.
I’ve witnessed firsthand what happens when these late-bloomers find the courage to start writing. I’ve seen how, once they finally take the leap, their confidence in themselves and their work skyrockets as they realize that—far from being a hindrance—their age and experience can be used to their advantage.
While fear is a real obstacle, it’s never too late to start writing (or pursuing any other creative pastime for that matter). Whatever narrative your inner critic is spinning about being too old or too late is false. And we’re going to debunk those tired old stories right now.
Myth #1: Being A Beginner Is Embarrassing
It’s one thing to start writing when you’re young and cold-hard logic has yet to take over your brain stem. It’s another to be a beginner when—by society’s standards—you have enough years under your belt to be an expert.
This fear is holding hands with your pride and trying to convince you that starting from scratch at this stage of your life is embarrassing. It tells you that a clumsy first draft is a sign of failure. It warns you that your writing will be judged and found wanting.
When you’ve spent so much time feeling capable and in control, it’s hard to stomach the idea of feeling like a novice. Taking on something new is intimidating when you’ve committed decades to growing in another direction. But there’s power (yes, power) in being a beginner. It’s not embarrassing—it’s brave.
How many people do you know who’ve settled into complacency and stagnation? Do they have an enviable zest for life? Probably not. Being a beginner is a sign that you’re still willing to take risks and challenge yourself. It’s a sign that you’re still alive and open to growth.
So use your newbie status as an excuse to hit the reset button. Let go of perfectionism and embrace trial and error in the pursuit of learning something new. Who knows, you might even have a little fun in the process.
Mantra: Being a beginner is an opportunity to engage with life more fully.
Myth #2: I’m Not A Creative Person
Let’s get one thing straight: creativity isn’t a talent that some people have, and some people don’t. It is, rather, an attitude—one of openness to experimentation and possibility. We all have creative potential; it just looks different for everyone.
In my experience, older adults and those with well-established careers in non-creative fields have a hard time embracing their inner artists. After all, society tells us that creativity is fool’s play, best left to the young and carefree. But this couldn’t be farther from the truth.
Creativity isn’t just a way of accessing your imagination. It’s also a problem-solver and a source of joy. It helps you think outside the box and push boundaries in both your personal and professional life.
You don’t have to switch careers or give up all the knowledge you’ve acquired. You can blend it, incorporate it into your writing pieces, and find a new way to express yourself through words. In fact, that’s often where the best stories come from—the intersection of two worlds that don’t immediately seem compatible.
Mantra: Creativity is a way of life that you can cultivate at any age.
Myth #3: Writing Takes Too Much Time
When you’re in the thick of life, carving out time for writing can feel like squeezing water from a rock. How can you start writing? How can you make time for something that’s totally new when it feels like there isn’t a second to spare?
Guess what—you don’t have to become a full-time writer to write regularly. Whether it’s five minutes or 500 words, creating small, attainable goals that fit into your life is the best way to get out of the gate. If your schedule doesn’t allow daily practice, shoot for once or twice a week. The frequency isn’t the point—it’s the consistency.
Writing is a habit that can be nurtured in tiny increments. So find pockets within your schedule and use them. This could be lunchtime, a train ride, or a few minutes after dinner before you start your evening social media scroll. The key is to show up and stick with it. Over time, those small moments will add up to something much more substantial.
Mantra: Small steps create big rewards.
There’s No Better Time Than Now
There are always a million and one reasons not to do something. But don’t let fear stand in the way of creating something extraordinary. Writing is a skill that can be developed with patience, practice, and a pinch of courage. So if you’re feeling called to write, don’t be afraid to take the leap—and remember, it’s never too late to try something new. Start writing today.
If you feel stuck or need some guidance in turning that book idea into a reality, I’m always here to help. Click here to learn more about my book coaching services and take the first step towards becoming a published author.