May 12, 2014
Rules are good things. I like rules. They keep order. They keep everyone on an even keel. They make life more fair … or so I always thought. As a nubie writer, I tried to follow ALL the rules, to the extent of waiting up to a year to hear from agents and editors and only submitting to one at a time. I kept that up until my first conference when a published author convinced me the rule was absurd. He was right. I started sending out multiple submissions, which speeded up the process immensely.
One of the rules I heard early on has stayed with me until this moment. It warned if you were an older writer (as in over 40), you shouldn’t let anyone know your real age. The arguments were 1). if agents and editors knew you were older, they wouldn’t want to take a chance on you. The closer you are to retirement years, the lower your interest in making a career of writing. And agents and editors want writers who are career driven. 2.) if readers know you are older, they won’t want to take a chance on your antiquated ideas. (no, it didn’t use those words, but that was the concept).
Throw in the facts that 1.) my fabulous critique partner, whom I’ve partnered with for ten years, is my son’s age 2.) I am the matron of my writing group 3.) I’m the matron of THIS BlogSpot and you’ll get a feeling for what I’ve always thought I was up against.
But, now, I’m a published author with five books out and several more coming down the pipeline. I have an agent who knows my age. I have an editor who knows my age. Honestly, I don’t think my readers give a rat’s ass what my age is as long as I tell a good story. So since tomorrow is a BIG birthday for me, it’s time for me to break the rule.
This time tomorrow, Ill be sixty. 6-0. Born in 1954, a time when there was no Disneyland, no Mustang, no astronaut, and Elvis wasn’t yet a household name.
I’ve seen all of those things become a reality–and sooooo much more like Disneyworld, the Corvette, space walks, and Coldplay.
I’ve learned some things along the way.
I’ve learned not to regret my decisions. The things I did, I did because I thought they were right at the time. I am the sum of all those parts. The sum adds up to 60, btw.
I’ve learned not to take myself so seriously. I’m not perfect, and my flaws that make me more interesting.
I’ve learned not to pass up opportunities. Go ziplining. Eat the sushi. Write the book. They’re all fabulous.
I’ve learned to ignore the rules.
Tomorrow I turn 60.
I’m not going to think of myself as old. Instead, I’m going to revel in the fact that I’ve have officially entered the world of the SEXagenarians.
Your turn! What is the best rule you ever broke?