» 9 Famous Authors Who Didn’t Get Published Until Their Fifties (Or Older)

I actually do hear a lot of people complain that they’re too old to begin a writing career. But the fact of the matter is, you’re never too old to do anything career wise unless you’re dead or have developed a form of amnestic disorder/dementia.

Considering I’ve read about and met people in their 50s and 60s going to medical school, sitting down to write every day isn’t a challenge by comparison.

So don’t get discouraged. You have a chance to write and get published. Now, you can even choose to go indie and publish on your own with a platform like Pronoun. There’s really no excuse for not sitting down in front of the keyboard.

Even if you have arthritis, you can use a speech-to-text program to aid you in your endeavors.

Below are nine examples of authors who weren’t published till they hit the big 5-0 or later. Write a lot, improve your craft, and don’t give up.

Source: » 9 Famous Authors Who Didn’t Get Published Until Their Fifties (Or Older)

I’ll be back with The Psych Writer soon, going back to tackling personality disorders and how to write them well.

What to Write When You Don’t Know What to Write

This week, I’m taking a break from The Psych Writer to discuss writing.

Writing is my bread and butter. I have some posts I’ve written about writer’s block, and facing the terror of the blank page. In fact, I’ve written about the blank page twice, at least. But writer’s block still seems to be one of the biggest complaints I’ve seen among young writers or writers who are just starting out.

Recently, I got this in the form of a question. “What am I supposed to write when I don’t know what to write?”

Since I am trained as a therapist, I tend to want to pick apart problems and either reframe them or otherwise deconstruct them in order to help.

So when you don’t know what to write, it could be for a variety of reasons.

  • You may be afraid of failing and not completing a project.
  • You may be afraid of succeeding and not knowing what to do next.
  • You may think your writing will never be good enough, so part of you feels it’s not even worth starting.

There are obviously many more reasons for keeping that page blank, but for this post, let’s just focus on these three. If you have one or two you’d like me to address, please shoot me a message on Facebook if you’d like, and I’ll address them in future posts.

  1. You’re afraid of failing and not completing a project.
    It happens. I have a few manuscripts I’ve abandoned about 3/4 of the way through because the idea wasn’t panning out, I couldn’t write the characters in a way that satisfied me, or a variety of other reasons. It happens to everyone. Think of your favorite writer, living or dead, and I could almost guarantee you they have abandoned and unfinished work.

    The best way to get around this is the “fuck it” philosophy. Say to yourself that you’re going to start a project and if it doesn’t pan out, fuck it. Start over, change direction, whatever. You can also just keep going even if you know it sucks, because the first draft of everything sucks. So go until you’re finished. Write until there’s no story left. You can revise it later.

  2. You may be afraid of succeeding and not knowing what to do next.
    This is one I’ve heard a few times now, so it’s not terribly uncommon. In this case, you’re fortune-telling. Can you really see the future and know you’ll be devoid of further ideas? Well, so what? One book that’s finished beats the hell out of one half-finished story that never got off the ground. Preventing yourself from succeeding because of what might be next cheats you out of the satisfaction of a finished project.
  3. You may think your writing will never be good enough, so part of you feels it’s not even worth starting.
    There’s one thing I’ve learned, and I’ve said it above–the first draft of everything is a steaming pile of crap. Some of it has potential, but every first draft needs to be reworked. You will learn to kill your darling manuscript with a hatchet at first, then come back with fine, surgical editing tools to improve it. Tell the part of you that tells you it’s not worth starting to shut up,  because that part of you cannot know what it feels like to finish a project. You have to get to the end to know what that’s like.

When you sit down to the keyboard, or sit with a pen and paper, block out the future. Block out expectations. Block out everything but you and that page, and tell it your passions, your fears, your world.

Get writing.


I am Anne Hogue-Boucher, and I write books. You can read them here.

The Writer’s World v. The Real World or: Suspension of Disbelief

I read a lot of fun and funny articles written by virologists, engineers, physicians, firearms instructors, and others in STEM careers who like to educate on real science versus what you see in the movies. I enjoy those articles because they’re useful and they teach valuable lessons to the masses about the wonderful world we all live in at the moment.

But does that mean writers are stupid? That we don’t get it?

Well, maybe.

I can’t say that I have a PhD in anything. I know psychology up and down and can work with writing mental disorders from both sides of the couch. I do that in The Psych Writer series quite often (and that’s something I’ll be writing about again soon, I promise). But when it comes to firearms, virology and immunology, physics, chemistry, veterinary studies, pharmacy, or any trade requiring an expert, I don’t know squat.

So I do research, and I learn. But sometimes what’s real and what’s proper just isn’t going to fit my story. I might need something to explode when my character shoots it and you’ll never know if she used regular shot or whatever. I might need someone to catch a bullet mid-air and be relatively unscathed from the experience. Those things aren’t real. They’re not going to happen. That’s probably a good thing.

Also there are not giant tentacle inter-dimensional monsters the last time I checked, nor is the country I live in divided into Territories rather than States. Also in my world women were recognized for their scientific achievements early on, and white people didn’t dominate the planet with colonialism.

The writer’s world is not often our same (or sane) world. For me, I purposefully divorced the Silver Hollow world from this real one so that you’d know you weren’t in Kansas anymore. Or wherever the hell you are while you read this. You get the point.

Sometimes writers just have to make it up as we go along, too. I’m currently writing a story that takes place in my world in 1902. Paper cups weren’t invented in our world until 1907. But guess what? My main character is using paper cups. That’s not a goof. I write things this way on purpose. I have to sit down and ask myself what the world would be like in a place where germ theory was accepted earlier because “sin” wasn’t a concept. I have to wonder about a world where money is king rather than the false construct of race. I need to think about how ways my world differs from my real one.

So if you read something that isn’t accurate, seems strange, or is otherwise wrong in this world, please, consider that it was likely done with a purpose. As a wonderful scientist friend of mine (and cracking good writer, by the way) said: “As a scientist, I am fine with this. I don’t want to read a technical bulletin. I do enough of that 9-5. I want to escape.”

As a writer, I’m happy to provide readers with an escape.


I like to write often about things that hopefully couldn’t ever happen in our world. If you’d like to point out how inaccurate my writing is (because it is, most likely), you can do it on my Facebook or Twitter page. I might just refer you back here, though.

Who is a writer? Jen Jones on the Full-Time Writer

When I recently read an article by Jen Jones called Writing Is My Job, her voice resonated with me. As a full-time writer and editor, I know those struggles. Of people belittling and demeaning your work because you don’t have a standard 9-to-5.

Well, for the holidays, I took a temp job in October for three months so I could make extra money. So currently I do this second job, come home, write, sleep, and start over all over again the next day. For me, it’s a second job that might last six months instead of three, but we’ll see. My writing comes first.

For those of you who are writers, I just wanted to let you know that it’s okay to consider your current 9-to-5 as your second job. Because that’s what it is. You may not make enough to quit the second job and devote full-time to writing, or you may not be able to stretch the budget to get used to being paid quarterly.

It doesn’t matter. Your reasons are private and what you make is no one’s business.

And for those of you who don’t write and look down on those who do say they’re writers, sit your judgmental asses on the side for a second and listen up: if someone tells you they’re a writer, don’t make your first question “are you published?” It may seem like an innocent enough question and seem like you’re just inquiring where to buy their work, but to a writer who is struggling to publish or finish a manuscript, it can be a painful question. Plus I know some people do it to be dinks and belittle the person’s profession or make them feel small. That’s not any of my readers, though, I’m sure.

Just because they aren’t published yet doesn’t make them any less of a writer. I’ve published 5200 articles–all of them ghost-written. I’ve published a short story in an anthology, and I’ve published a one-shot short story on Amazon. I have a full composite novel coming out just in time for Halloween. Yes, I’m a writer. Even before I published my first short story.

Be nice to us indie authors. We’re just here to tell stories and be entertaining.

So what do you ask, then? A better question is, “what are you working on?” Okay, while it’s a grammatically incorrect question, it gives the writer a chance to tell you about their newest project or something they have already published. It increases your likelihood that you won’t be killed off in their next chapter, too. So side benefit.

“What are you working on?” is the question that a writer asks another writer, unless we’re being dicks on purpose. Sometimes I’ll ask, “where are you at with publishing?” because I want to be helpful. It’s a different question than “are you published” because I don’t presuppose that you have to be published to be a writer. It also gives the other writer a chance to brag about their new deal with Random House, or tell me they’re braving the waters of self-publishing and are in need of an editor.

Whether you’re a full-time writer or you have a second job to support your writing career, if you work hard day in and day out writing on your manuscript and you know what it means when I say the phrase “elevator pitch” without using Google, then congratulations, you’re a writer.


My name is Anne, and I write stuff. You can follow me on Twitter and Facebook. I also answer questions on Quora.

Facepalm Time: Stupid Things Authors Believe, Part 1

I found this article from Authors Publish (and encourage all writers to subscribe to their newsletter. In this article, Stupid Things Authors Believe, Part 1, Kurt Bubna tackles the idea that if it’s not ‘original,’ it should be scrapped.

I’d also like to add my two cents on the stupid things authors believe. There are plenty of them. But for this week, I will focus on the point of Bubna’s article.

Everything you write is a retelling of something else. Everything. Somewhere, some time, someone had the idea and put it out there. But that’s okay!

Why is it okay? Because you’ve never done it before. So you bring a unique perspective to it. Just be sure to bring that voice of yours to the table rather than imitating someone else’s.

Having trouble finding your voice? Keep a journal. Don’t think about what you want to put in there, and don’t think about making it interesting or artistic. Just get in there and start writing. Your voice will come out, and it will be unique.

To get started, grab a notebook and a pen. Sit down and write me a letter. Seriously. Tell me some things you want me to know. Send them to me via Facebook if you want. I promise I’ll read them, and I’ll even answer some of them if I have the time.

Don’t worry about not being original. Don’t worry about being the next Lovecraft or the next Stephen King or the next whatever. Just find your voice. Find what makes your perspective interesting. The rest will flow.

Now stop believing stupid things and get writing.