Sunday, March 08, 2009

Never Too Late

I'm a Red Cross Volunteer at my local hospital. During our break the volunteers would get together in the hospital cafeteria and have a snack and something to drink. We'd talk about this and that and the other. We'd share stories about our lives, past and present.

One day an older woman, another volunteer, came to me and asked me when I started writing. I'd made mention in passing at one of our breaks that I was an author. I told her that since 2000 and she was surprised I had not been writing my whole life. I explained that I actually was a technical writer for fifteen years before I started writing fiction, but I really had only been writing novels for less than ten years.

I asked her why, and she told me she had a story in her but she said it was too late to write it. She looked so woe-be-gone that I felt instant sympathy for her.

Again, I asked her why, and she said she was too "old".

"Old" is such a relative term. To her it meant she was too used up; too late to start something new; especially something "long term" like writing.

She felt so overwhelmed with the daunting task of putting words to paper. All of the words locked inside of her. She didn't know where to begin and she turned to me to help her. She sighed that all of those words in side of her would be lost forever. I asked her why and she said she would never have the time to write her story.

I'll tell you what I told her. It's never too late. I asked her to start small. Only a few minutes each day. Write a few words, a sentence or two, and that's it. Nothing more. Nothing less. Just something to get her started.

She didn't know where to begin. I told her that she didn't have to start at the beginning of anything. Just sit down. Get quiet. And start writing whatever comes to mind first. Take it from there.

She seemed hesitant but said she'd try.

The next day she was like an eager schoolgirl wanting to show her best report card. She had actually written something and best of all she sent it to her family in an email and they enjoyed it! She couldn't wait to get back home and try again. What she had written had spurred more memories that she was eager to capture. She's more organized now, keeping her memories tucked away in electronic document files, but she still sends them to her family to read. It gives her so much joy.

Her interest in writing and the small steps she took gave her the incentive to start and to continue. And that is how she's writing her memoir to her children.

It wasn't too late for her, and it's not too late for you.

It's never too late to start writing.

9 comments:

Queen Jaw Jaw said...

What great advice...groupee JawJaw stopping by to say I voted for Jack, and I love your blog....as always.

You know, the thing about thinking you are too old to write is that you carry that onto other facets of your life...too old to learn, too old to love, etc...

It's never to late to start. PERIOD. Good for you having planted that seed in her mind! Now watch it grow into something beautiful.

Vicki M. Taylor said...

JJ, it's so great to see her every week, and see the bright light in her eyes as she tells me about what exciting things she wrote about.

That's so much better than the dull listlessness of her depressed face when she'd talk about how she was too old to start writing her story.

This is the best part of being a writer. Helping others!!

rosie said...

I am convinced that we all have purpose on three levels. Long term, short term and immediate. You are fullfilling purpose on all levels with your writing, your listening, and your advice. Thanks for all the empowering and encouragement you do.

Pam Archer said...

Good for you for inspiring her to write in small increments. Now she is all over it.

You are so right...it's never too late to learn or do anything.

I logged a vote for Jack...of course he deserved my vote. :0)

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Rosie, Thank you so much!!

Vicki M. Taylor said...

Pam, Jack appreciates your vote!!

Beverly Mahone said...

Vicki,

You were right where you were meant to be on that day. Because of your encouragement, a new writer has been unleashed. She may never get published but at least she now knows she's not too old to write.

That's how Divas roll!

Ashley said...

hey..that was very motivating..thanks!

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Vicki M. Taylor said...

Ashley, I'm glad you found it motivating!