Never Too Late: Creative Success After 30 (or 40, or 50, or 60)

In her beloved self-help guide The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron responds to potential protests that her reader may be too old to start on their creative project.

“But do you know how old I will be by the time I learn to really play the piano / act / paint / write a decent play?"
Yes . . . the same age you will be if you don't.

With this impeccable logic in mind, we at The Anchorage are celebrating those authors who published their books in the latter half of their lives. There are advantages to starting a writing career later in life. For one, there is much more material to draw on. For another, if you’ve held onto the dream of writing for decades, you can be fairly certain it’s really what you want to do, not a passing interest.

Here are some examples of mature authors who made their mark on the literary world.

Susanna Clarke. The author of the beloved and gigantic novel Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell published the international bestseller at the age of forty-four, after having worked on the novel for eleven years while she worked in publishing. The author suffers from chronic fatigue syndrome, which has affected the rhythm of her work. Her follow-up, Piranesi, came out to critical acclaim sixteen years later, in 2020, and she continues to work on a sequel to JS/MrN.

Toni Morrison. The first Black woman to win a Nobel Prize in Literature published her debut novel, The Bluest Eye, as she was approaching her fortieth birthday. Morrison worked in publishing at the time and joined a writing group at Howard University for intellectual dialogue. A single mother of two, she wrote her first novel at 4 AM every day before work. She would go on to leave an indelible mark on international literature.

Annie Proulx. While working as a journalist for years, Annie Proulx published short stories in magazines like Seventeen and Esquire and wrote how-to books on gardening. It wasn’t until her fifty-third year that she published her first collection of fiction: Heart Songs, a book of stories. She was sixty-two when her story “Brokeback Mountain” was published, and eight years later it was made into a blockbuster film.

It isn't too late to commit to your writing project. Let The Anchorage support your journey -- enroll today!