Been musing here and there on social media about being an older writer. Some of it is ‘all you kids get off my lawn’ stuff, some of it is nostalgia for a different, less frantic time, but mostly, I’m just getting old.
My needs from my writing have changed. When I started, all I wanted was somebody to read it. That bit’s still the same, but now, having had some small measure of success, I have books on the shelves I can look at in my dotage and remember, ‘I did that.’
I’ve never quite reached where I wanted to be of course, but multiple stories in things like Nature Futures and The Mammoth Books of… series, books with the likes of Dark Regions Press and DarkFuse et al , and passing ten years as a full time writer, would have been deemed a spectacular success for the younger me, so I shall try to think like him a bit more often as time goes on.
I’m also having a bit of a late career success with the Severed Press books, which is nice, and I can see me writing a few more creature features as my sixties roll on. That, and a few short stories will see me through the next few years.
I’m definitely slowing down though, and whether or not I come to a complete halt on the writing remains to be seen.
The ideas bank is running a bit empty. I had plans for a whole cycle of Sigils and Totems works, as I thought I’d hit gold with that idea, but so far the novels and novellas haven’t sparked with many folks. That dented my confidence quite a bit these past few months, but I think I”m slowly coming out of it. Time will tell.
The last time I felt like this was back in 2007, when I didn’t write at all for six months and almost quit entirely. But if I’d done that then, I wouldn’t have had any of those sales I mentioned up top there — almost all of my professional scale success has come after 2010. So I’ll never say never.
But… and it’s a big but… motivating myself at 60 is a different beast from motivating myself at 50. That’s just a fact of life.
Brian Keene mentioned something in his newletter this week that resonated, about finding contentment where we can.
I’ve found a measure of it by being here on the shore in Eastern Newfoundland, doing what I want to do, writing full time and getting old with the one I love. The ups and downs of a writing life makes me cranky though.
I wonder if I’d be be less cranky without it?
I suspect not.