Author Topic: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...  (Read 7064 times)  

Offline HAGrant

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #50 on: March 22, 2015, 06:02:12 PM »
John and Tobias, you're both an inspiration.

I'm 61. After my wonderful husband died a few years ago, I returned to college to work on another degree. I didn't think I could do it. I thought I wouldn't be able to remember anything I read. But I'm halfway through with a 4.0 GPA (knock on wood), on the dean's list every year, and a member of the honor society, ha ha. My best college story: I read the wrong chapters for an exam, took it anyway, and scored an A (I knew the material from life experience).

I don't care for ageism. The worst is to pull the age number on yourself. Just be a human being, period. Be happy, get up every day and do what you really want to do. Write books, go back to college, climb mountains, pursue your dreams.

Offline Robert Dahlen

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #51 on: March 22, 2015, 07:10:20 PM »
I decided to respond because every year for the last 30 years or so (37 years dreaming) I kept telling myself next year will be the year that I write (and publish) my first book.  Finally the thing that really hit me was when I turned the big five zero.  I realized that 'next year' was never going to arrive cause well... it would always be next year so my age played a big factor in me finally sitting down and doing what I wanted to do for all these decades instead of shoving it off for yet another year.
My story is somewhat similar. I tried to get a writing career started in my younger days, but it didn't catch on. I set the dream aside until I suddenly realized that I didn't need a publisher any more...but more importantly, I had to do it. I didn't want to die without knowing if I could make it as a writer. I wanted to leave this world without spending my last years wondering what might have been.

This was when I was 49. I published the first Monkey Queen book on my 51st birthday. I'm expecting to have the fifth out the day before my 52nd. And even if my sales and reviews continue to be nonexistent, I've done it. I can call myself a writer.
Fantasy novelist, all-around wisecracker and penguin aficionado. Need some fantasy adventure with heroines, humor and heart, and a touch of romance? Skyblade's Gambit and Book Fair Frenzy available exclusively at Amazon! Get all the Monkey Queen e-books at Amazon and other ebook retailers! Find previews, cover art, short stories and much more at the blog or the website!
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Offline Bluebonnet

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #52 on: March 22, 2015, 08:10:23 PM »
I am nearly 70.

A warning for all of you - PAY ATTENTION!

I have worked since I turned 16 and thought I was doing okay, but when I retired my Social Security was worth less than a thousand dollars a month. Are you scared yet? You might get four times that much when you retire, but what if it costs eight times that to live comfortably?

I write because I love it and would be totally bored if I didn't, but I also write because I need the money.
I'm rather fond of a place to live and something to eat daily. I am also fond of not having to swallow my pride and go to a food bank.

Bottom line, if you give up at 18, 26 or even 50, you'll be just like me - old and scared.

Amen. I started working at 17, just filed for SS at age 66, and I only get 1K.  That meant I had to keep my day job. Inflation will always get you. When I was 17, I would have been thrilled if someone told me I'd get $1K a month when I retired, because back in those days (1960s) it would have been an affluent person's income. Now, $1K a month is about down to poverty level. I hate to think of how much more everything will cost ten years from now. Yes, we older folks have to get out and hustle with our books.

Online ellenoc

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #53 on: March 22, 2015, 08:34:32 PM »
Inflation will always get you.

Actually, as someone who was taking an Economics course back in the 60's, I can tell you back then you'd probably have gotten something like $200 as your SS payment, and of course your earnings would have been similarly lower. One of the few things I remember from that class is the teacher lecturing us on not depending on SS to live on when we reached the age and giving us figures like that. I hope these days everyone pays attention to that form that comes in the mail every year showing what you'll get if you start collecting at 62, 66, or 70.

And IMO even though SS payments are inflation-adjusted yearly, the government plays with what counts toward the inflation figure in order to keep the adjustment low. It's better than no adjustment, but I don't think it keeps up. I once added up every dollar I and my various employers paid in on my behalf and calculated it earning no more than a savings account would pay over all those years. Then I calculated how much that principal sum would pay me if it were in a conservatively invested IRA. It came out very close to what my SS payment is.

I'm another one who needs supplemental retirement income and is getting it from my writing. When I retired I thought the combination of SS and 401K would be enough, but of course I naively didn't factor in the risk of the kind of economic crash we had.

Offline JKlovesbooks

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #54 on: March 23, 2015, 03:40:15 AM »

I started publishing books thirteen months ago and have been self-supporting from my writing since the third month on.

Starting up my writing career and my music career came just in time.

I'm 73 years old.

Now, you're too old to quit the day job and become a writer? Are you kidding me?

Thanks for this encouraging post John! Age is definitely all in the mind I think. I am 50 and finally decided to do what I have always wanted to do since a child (gave up in my 20's) and write books. I am doing it anyway because it's an unfulfilled ambition, whether or not it actually makes enough money to live off, but yes - a supplemental income for retirement is certainly a necessity for me too, or I will have to carry on working at least part time, so any income I can make in the coming years will be most welcome!

I actually think that the older I get the younger I feel! When I was younger I put too much weight on what other people thought or what was 'realistic' which stopped me from doing lots of things. Now I pay much less attention to other people's opinions and listen to my own gut instinct a whole lot more. I spent my 20's and 30's in advertising then quit at 39 and changed careers completely and have spent the last 10 years in sales. In 2008/2009 my best friend and I decided to take 2 years off and go travelling the world - we both gave up our jobs, I rented out my house and spent a year in Australia and New Zealand, 4 months in the US and the rest of the time visiting South Africa, Asia and travelling in Europe.

Now I would love nothing more than to write books and see where that takes me. I have only just started but so far am enjoying the ride! This forum has been invaluable so far for encouragement from other writers and advice on everything to do with writing, publishing and marketing based on people's personal experiences. I am so glad I found this place!  8)

Offline Sapphire

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #55 on: March 23, 2015, 07:16:59 AM »
I think we should have an over 60's writers group. John can be in the Chair. :D I'll take the zimmer frame.  :D
I can be a member of this group. I wrote my first full-length book in 2011 (one that lives only in my laptop) and started publishing late in 2012. I'm very active. Note I didn't say active senior. Age is a matter of mind. Chronologically, I turned 69 this month, but my motto is, "I intend to die young at a very advanced age." The proof in the pudding lies in the fact my grandchildren don't consider me old.


Offline Hurricane John

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #56 on: March 23, 2015, 07:26:57 AM »
Sapphire

I love your motto "I intend to die young at a very advanced age."  It's so unfortunate, that too many people 'die old at a very young age'

We're here for a good time, not a longtime, so make everyday count because everyday is indeed a blessing.

Cheers


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Offline Caddy

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #57 on: March 23, 2015, 09:39:07 AM »
Hi John!

I am 59 and started publishing August 2011. I had always wanted to write a novel. You know. Someday. Then I got breast cancer. Getting that phone call...there is nothing to compare it to. I am fine. It was stage 0 and the doctor says I'll eventually die of something else. :) But I'd always heard people who had cancer saying it was a blessing in a way. I always thought "Bullcrap. They're just trying to put a positive spin on it." But you know what? They are right. Getting that phone call hammered home to me that all we have is NOW. If I wanted to get a novel out, it had to be NOW. We all thing we understand NOW, but we don't unless NOW might be all we have.

Since then, our income imploded. Even so, we made the decision I would not go back into advertising sales(lots of money soul-sucking) but write and paint. It's why I'm here this time. And yet things got worse. My husband's place of business was taken over by someone who cut hours, wages, and no benefits. We have blown through most of our 401K.  I had made a lot of money, but it was gone because of previous health issues before cancer (fibromyalgia, etc...try getting asnwers for that one without spending a fortune).

Still, I believe. And guess what? This month has been fabulous beyond all expectations. I have a goal, and this month is already 3 times my monthly goal and is still going. Now, I know this won't last. Bookbub had a lot to do with it. But it gives me hope, especially since Dec, Jan, and Feb were vastly improved from previous months.

I must have one of the slowest success rates. But I can now see this is not only possible, it is going to happen. I'll be sixty in August, and I have so many stories to write I plan on living to be a hundred.

Hugs!
« Last Edit: March 23, 2015, 09:43:07 AM by Caddy »
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Offline AJStewart

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #58 on: March 23, 2015, 09:49:05 AM »
I'm not quite in this group yet, but I love the attitude. To paraphrase Lincoln, "folks are as old as they make up their minds to be."

I don't anticipate there being  SS when I get to retirement age. But I don't care (well I care, for people who need it) because I don't plan on retiring. I've already traveled most of the world, and done a lot of things that people "retire" in order to do. I plan to keep going. The problem with retirement is people often don't do those things because now they're "too old". John and everyone else is proof this is poppycock.

A financial adviser type person recently asked me when my wife and I planned to retire. I said never. It was like I'd started talking Swahili. He really didn't know where to go with the conversion. I told him I'm not anti-investment, I think that's a smart thing. But what I'm pro is finding something you love doing, and doing it until you're gone. I was a marketing director and general manager for 20 years. Now I'm happy.

Offline cecilia_writer

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #59 on: March 23, 2015, 10:02:53 AM »
I'm certainly not giving up, in fact I am writing faster and faster as I get older.
After writing for almost my whole life, the thing that finally made me take it seriously was that my brother died very suddenly on holiday at the age of 55. More than any other life event, that made me realise you only live once and if you have something you really want to do like writing, then you should just go ahead and do it, pursue it to the best of your ability and enjoy it.
(the extra money doesn't do any harm either!)

Offline Kathryn Meyer Griffith

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #60 on: March 23, 2015, 11:57:18 AM »
My story is a lot like all of yours, but different. I'm 64 and though I have been writing since 21 and publishing since I was 33 with legacy publishers I never made much money; could never live on it. I always had to work full-time on the side. Then I started self-publishing in 2012 and have steadily been making more every year. 7 books self-published and 15 still with a publisher that I begin getting back in June 2015 (can't wait!). I'll self-publish each of them as they come back to me between this June and June 2017. I thought, too, at first that I was too old - missed the money-making boat so to speak- and that I was just darn lucky to have caught the very tail end of it all. Then my sweet brother got cancer at 61 and is dying now at 63. Yes, nothing makes you look at your life more and do what you want to do as when someone you love is dying. Part of me wanted to just give up (writing, promoting, the whole game) but another part of me wants to live what life I have left to the fullest and I'm trying to. I'm writing book #23 but wonder if I will ever finish it. My husband retires in 4 months and we want to travel. Have fun. Now more than ever I want to enjoy the time I have left and be with the people I love. Do I write or do I have fun? But as others here have said, our retirement money (which we saved for 37 years) isn't going to be enough even though we live a simple life. Life now days is expensive. So we'll see...

Kathryn Meyer Griffith horror/murder mystery author since 1984 26 novels,2 novellas,10 short stories
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Offline John Ellsworth

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #61 on: March 23, 2015, 12:28:55 PM »
My story is a lot like all of yours, but different. I'm 64 and though I have been writing since 21 and publishing since I was 33 with legacy publishers I never made much money; could never live on it. I always had to work full-time on the side. Then I started self-publishing in 2012 and have steadily been making more every year. 7 books self-published and 15 still with a publisher that I begin getting back in June 2015 (can't wait!). I'll self-publish each of them as they come back to me between this June and June 2017. I thought, too, at first that I was too old - missed the money-making boat so to speak- and that I was just darn lucky to have caught the very tail end of it all. Then my sweet brother got cancer at 61 and is dying now at 63. Yes, nothing makes you look at your life more and do what you want to do as when someone you love is dying. Part of me wanted to just give up (writing, promoting, the whole game) but another part of me wants to live what life I have left to the fullest and I'm trying to. I'm writing book #23 but wonder if I will ever finish it. My husband retires in 4 months and we want to travel. Have fun. Now more than ever I want to enjoy the time I have left and be with the people I love. Do I write or do I have fun? But as others here have said, our retirement money (which we saved for 37 years) isn't going to be enough even though we live a simple life. Life now days is expensive. So we'll see...

Suggestion: do both. Write 2 hours a day, play 22 hours a day--even sleep some, if you must. Go for your dream(s).

Offline cbaku

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #62 on: March 23, 2015, 03:43:00 PM »
Secrets?
Yes, plenty.
Write a series, write lots of books, ignore the critics, don't lose sleep over the first 1* review, put your money into strong covers and intelligent editing, publish every 60-90 days, keep a mailing list. Main character should be an ordinary person who finds himself/herself in an extraordinary situation. That's my main character, a young lawyer who suddenly is hired to defend the worst of all cases--a murder case. I'm talking thrillers now. I would avoid making my MC an ex-seal or ex-cop or ex-CIA or ex-anything, because that's all been done to death and, worse, your readers don't relate to ex-anythings because they never had those experiences. Like I say, start with Joe Everyman and put him or her in the worst possible situation. This is really key to hooking your reader, who will be an ordinary person living an ordinary life and immediately hooked to see what he or she would do if extraordinary circumstances suddenly came to town. Write in the third person, unless you have an extraordinary first person voice. Stay out of present tense, many readers won't read anything in present tense--I don't know why, but there you are. Keep your reader turning pages. Most readers will read at one sitting between 900-1500 words, so keep your chapters that short. Look at how the big guys do this, Preston, Child and those folks. The reason for this is that most people read "between something" -- such as between getting to the doctor's office and getting to see the doctor, or between buying a ticket at the train station and waiting to board the train. These are your readers. Try to accommodate them.

Now forget everything I just said and find out what works for you. That's what I did.

I love everything about this thread, John. You can't hear me applauding from way out here in Humboldt County, but I just scared my cat out of a deep sleep. I turned 58 last week, and I couldn't agree more with your fantastic post. I thoroughly believe that those of us who 'emerge' as writers later in life often bring a deep, deep well of life experience to our work. Frank McCourt is one of my personal heroes, to be sure! I've shared this before, but I was accepted to Stanford to complete my undergraduate degree when I was 50; got my BA in English/Creative Writing at age 52, and an MFA in fiction writing at age 55. As for what the writing will do, well I find it best to work my butt off and remain unattached to outcome. My first novel is now up on Amazon, and I'm getting up every morning in a fury of creativity. Life is grand.

Continued best wishes to you!!
Carla Baku


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~Chasing Down the Moon

Offline Sapphire

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #63 on: March 23, 2015, 03:45:48 PM »
My story is a lot like all of yours, but different. I'm 64 and though I have been writing since 21 and publishing since I was 33 with legacy publishers I never made much money; could never live on it. I always had to work full-time on the side. Then I started self-publishing in 2012 and have steadily been making more every year. 7 books self-published and 15 still with a publisher that I begin getting back in June 2015 (can't wait!). I'll self-publish each of them as they come back to me between this June and June 2017. I thought, too, at first that I was too old - missed the money-making boat so to speak- and that I was just darn lucky to have caught the very tail end of it all. Then my sweet brother got cancer at 61 and is dying now at 63. Yes, nothing makes you look at your life more and do what you want to do as when someone you love is dying. Part of me wanted to just give up (writing, promoting, the whole game) but another part of me wants to live what life I have left to the fullest and I'm trying to. I'm writing book #23 but wonder if I will ever finish it. My husband retires in 4 months and we want to travel. Have fun. Now more than ever I want to enjoy the time I have left and be with the people I love. Do I write or do I have fun? But as others here have said, our retirement money (which we saved for 37 years) isn't going to be enough even though we live a simple life. Life now days is expensive. So we'll see...
This is one of the reasons it takes me longer than many to write a book. My husband and I travel a lot. I treasure every chance I have to be with my grandchildren. I love writing, but there's a whole lot more at this point in my life that sitting at a keyboard.


Offline Ryn Shell

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #64 on: March 23, 2015, 04:08:38 PM »
Hello, John.

Great post. I'm a young senior at sixty-eight. I had a goal to write historical fiction novels (I had the stories in my head from family research) at age thirteen. My other career was too time intensivethere was never the time in my life to write the novels. I did write non-fiction from a young age. I began writing my novels once that goal to be a novelist was fifty years old, when I was sixty-three. Something about an unfulfilled fifty-year-old goal nagged at me to get on with it. It was time to make the time. It is never easy to make time. Examples of others who do it and don't allow a later start for a new career to deter them have help me. I'm sure your post will encourage many to not allow age to slow their creative ambitions.

Thank you, John. :-)

Offline Kenson

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #65 on: March 23, 2015, 04:41:27 PM »
I gave up 25 years ago.  I was old before my time.  Got a string of rejection letters from Trad Pubs and thought what the heck.  Day job was still paying pretty well and I really didn't need the pain of all that rejection.
Then I retired and after a couple of years of thinking 'This is great - I don't need to work anymore', I started to think that actually the writing bit was quite fun - it was the rejection I didn't need.
So I self pubbed the 25 year old manuscript, wrote a 2nd book last year and the third one is coming out this summer.  No way am I giving up again.  I'm enjoying the writing, the books are selling - which means that somebody out there thinks they're worth reading.  Life is good.
I came across a saying the other day

'Live each day as though it's your last.  One day you'll get it right."
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Offline Tricia O'

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #66 on: March 23, 2015, 04:53:57 PM »
Excuse me if someone posted this already - but this is a cool infographic with the ages of various popular authors when they started writing.

http://www.lifehack.org/articles/communication/this-will-inspire-you-that-its-never-too-late-start-writing-your-bestseller.html

Thanks for sharing a part of your story with us, John!

tricia o'malley

Offline RN_Wright

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #67 on: March 23, 2015, 06:10:14 PM »
Not far behind you, John. Congratulations on the great life you're having. This gig is the greatest!  :)

Offline she-la-ti-da

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #68 on: March 24, 2015, 04:43:53 AM »
Your comment about never quitting reminds me of Sam "Sonny" Bryant. He's not a writer, though. He's a body builder. A 71 year old body builder! His simple philosophy is, "More people die retired, than die working."





I love that guy! He's an awesome example that you can still be fit no matter your age. I'm working on getting fit, though it seems to take longer and need more focus. But I'll get there.

Quote
"Whether you think you can, or think you can't, you're right."

Over the years, I've come to see that when I think I can't do something, it usually turns out that I'm right. I've had some down days, when I thought I couldn't sell books, that nobody would want to read what I've written, and the sales bore that out. But then I'd get some sales, or a few borrows, or someone would read a sample and tell me my writing is good, and I realize my self-doubt is holding me back. So, look out world, here I come!

Quote
"You're only as old as you feel."

Seriously. About twenty-five years ago, I tried to talk my mother into going back to school to get her GED. Her excuse was that she was too old. She was about the age as I am now, and even then I realized that however many years it would take to get the diploma, whether she did it or not, those years would still pass.

I've always wanted a degree in something (archeology or anthropology are my favorite choices), and I might yet get one. I've got some college credits that might help, so I put that on my bucket list. I want to travel, too, before I physically can't do it. I've got goals, yo, so I need to get to work and start making some "real" money and get on with it. :D

That info graphic was interesting. Looking at how late some wrote their first book had me wondering if they'd ever written anything before (or tried to write). If you looked at when my first story was published, it would show I was 53, but I'd been writing for decades before that. I just never submitted anything.
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Genres: speculative fiction under main pen name.




Offline HAGrant

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #69 on: March 24, 2015, 05:34:01 AM »

I've always wanted a degree in something (archeology or anthropology are my favorite choices), and I might yet get one. I've got some college credits that might help, so I put that on my bucket list.
 

I went back to college to earn an anthropology degree (archeology is an area in anthropology, BTW). I'm halfway through it now. I love taking classes and am so happy I went back. If you also work, want to travel, etc., you can take many classes online.  Go part-time, take a semester online, and finish your homework in a hotel on your travels. However, you have to attend the most interesting anthropology classes in person. 

There are many ways to cut the cost: grants, scholarships, used textbooks, start at a low-cost community college and transfer. If I can do it, anybody can. The hardest part is the same as writing a book -- you have to make the decision to do it. I went back after I walked into the finance office in a local college, told them about my dream, and asked them how to pay for it.

Offline EllieKeaton

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #70 on: March 24, 2015, 06:49:19 AM »
Excellent thread John, thanks for starting it and to everyone on here for sharing. I think it is so sad that people work all their lives, save for their retirement and end up worried about how they will pay their bills. I have seen what worry did/does to my parents and they were sensible.  Best of luck to everyone with achieving your dreams.

Online Sam Rivers

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #71 on: March 24, 2015, 07:20:05 AM »
I am not sure that age has a lot to do with it.  If you are healthy and enjoy it, keep doing it.

If you have health issues that prevent you from writing, you may have to stop.  My sister who is 85 would like to keep writing since she has published about 15 novels.  However, she is suffering from memory loss and can't write any longer.

I had a major stroke 3 years ago that left my right side totally paralyzed.  Eventually I got my right hand to work again due to PT at a Rehab clinic.  So I can still write although I have problems with walking.  Writing is a blessing since I have something I can still enjoy doing.
Everything is theoretically impossible, until it is done.

Robert A. Heinlein

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Re: Are You Giving Up Because You're Too Old? Let me tell you...
« Reply #72 on: March 24, 2015, 08:09:12 AM »
By the way, I use games first thing in the morning to try to keep my mind alert. My favorite is a free picture puzzle site.
       
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