As a fortysomething writer with a full time (non-writing) day job, a husband, two teenage children (who are well into the socialising stage), a dog, three cats, a house that is never tidy (no matter how many times we clean it) and hormones which change daily (sometimes hourly), life can feel a little chaotic.
My writing life in my forties is all about fitting my writing around teenagers who want to be driven to social events, worrying about my teenagers when they are at social events, frantically texting teenagers whilst they are at social events to make sure they are okay, visualising my teenagers at social events / reminding myself about what I got up to as a teenager / scaring myself witless, texting my teenagers some more, my day job, dog walks, house cleaning, taking up endless piles of things which have been left on the stairs, food shopping (my goodness – teenagers EAT and they keep eating until your cupboards are bare. No one told me this), my hormones which feel like they have taken control of my body and general life admin (the older you get the more dull stuff you have to sort out). Writing in the creases of the day is the only way to survive.
Despite all of the above the desire to write is more powerful than it has ever been. The voice inside of me which started out as a whisper when I was younger, ‘write books,’ is now a loud animal roar. WRITE THOSE DAMN BOOKS! It will compete with a demanding teenager (and win!).
Being able to write is a necessity for me as it does calm my anxious mind. I have found that worries are like breeding rabbits in my head. In my twenties and thirties I don’t remember having so many worries. Once you are in your forties worries breed at an alarming rate. I have come to appreciate the in flow writing state, that magical point you get to where you are in this writing cocoon and the outside world is shut off. It is within this in flow state that my breeding rabbits / worries stop overcrowding my mind.
I have also got to a stage with my writing where I have started talking nicely to myself / writing muse. I’m not sure whether this is an age thing or just the point you get to after many years of writing. Anyway I do get better results when I drop the inner screaming and shouting at myself.
You are never short of ideas for stories once you hit your forties, especially if like me you enjoy writing comedy. There’s your own life experiences to draw upon and inspiration from those around you. I also have much more of an appreciation for the funny and daft things in my daily life.
Here are a few of the obstacles I am currently tackling:
- Family feedback on your writing – whether you have requested it or not. Teenage children will give you their views on your romance book ideas, your social media, your self-promotions whenever they feel like it. They don’t sugar coat their feedback and they have a very different view of the world and their parents’ social media skills.
- Feeling like a hormone factory while writing. I have entered that part of a woman’s life where hormones go wild. Writing with a face which feels like an oven is becoming more familiar and I think soon I will have to write with a cold flannel tied around my forehead. This is part of life and something I just have to deal with. I am also determined to chart a different course through this hormonal minefield. Yes I get that some of my inner machinery wants to have one hell of a leaving party but I am not going to get upset, fight it or moan about it. Humour, writing and smiling will get me through this, The flannel tied to my head idea does seem appealing.
- Trying to stop and take a breath in what researchers apparently call the 40s – the rush hour of life. My life is fast moving and some days simply fly by. I have come to realise the importance of stopping and taking a look around.
- Reframing my 40s in my head. They are not the start of a negative slope as some might see them. So far these have been the years where I have found my voice. I have made good progress on my writing dreams and I have climbed many personal mountains.
Being a writer at any age brings its own share of obstacles. We just have to find a way around them.
I am going to keep writing, keep smiling and keep looking for the humour in my daily life.
Thanks for reading my post.
I am going to go do some writing and text my teenagers 🙂