How do we define a senior season individual? We usually immediately think of gray hair, wrinkled skin, stooped bodies, slow minds, forgetfulness, dentures, and canes.

Typical statements by seniors are:

My life is almost over

            I am too old to cook, clean, drive, exercise, etc.

            All my friends have died

            I feel so alone

 Or we do know those in their senior season who are thriving, surviving, and striving toward their goals and dreams.

Here are some interesting facts about famous authors who achieved their goals in their senior years. Laura Ingalls Wilder began writing in her mid-forties when she was working as a columnist and a freelance writer. She took all her years of growing up and published Little House in the Big Woods at the age of 64.

Penelope Fitzgerald graduated from Oxford and launched her literary career in 1975, at the age of 58. By the age of 61, she published her first book and two later won the Booker Prize for her book, Offshore.

 At the age of 70, John Howell started writing full time. He won honorable mention in a short story competition for Writer’s Digest in 2012. Since then he has four published books.

When he was 66 years old, Frank McCourt published his first book, Angela’s Ashes.

 Diana Athill is the oldest category winning author in the history of the Costa Book Awards. At the age of 91, she won the Biography Award for her memoir Somewhere Towards the End.

 At the age of 70, Mary Wesley’s first published novel was Jumping the Queue, published in 1983.

The conclusion I came to in researching and writing this article is that our age is only a chronological number and it is what we do with the days in our lives that truly matters. I encourage everyone to follow your dream, do not let age or any other factors slow you down.


  1. You are so right. I started painting when my oldest Grandson was 2 and I published my first book when I was almost 60, now I’m taking tap dance and clogging lessons. My husband a nd I have learned a few new dance steps together this year, and we love t o swim and ride out bikes. We are still working too. I drive an 18 wheeler. I’ve done more as as senior than I ever dreamed possible. Thanks four the inspiring blog. Cher’ley


  2. I was just at the Tucson Book Fair, and the majority of the authors were over 40. I think it takes a experience to learn how to write well and to have great content! Nice post!


  3. My first novel, book 1 of a fantasy trilogy, was published in 2011 — when I was 59. I wrote it at an off-and-on pace for about 20 years. Now I’m working on my fifth novel. I’d have to say your blog post is correct. I find I have more time to devote to my writing since I turned 62 and took early retirement.


  4. Very inspiring. We get mixed messages from people and the media about our age. We need to have our own opinion and make it positive about our attributes and capabilities at any age. And I believe that starts with our inner thought process. “We can do it” should be our first thought when it comes to writing.


  5. Great post, Karen. I didn’t know I was old till last year, when Medicare told me I was. I was in my late fifties when my relatively new internist said, “Lots of older people take this medicine.” Shock. A couple of visits later, I told him that no matter what my chart said, I was fifteen. He must have written that down, because he hasn’t mentioned it since. (Have you read …And Ladies of the Club by Helen Hooven Santmeyer? Over 1300 pages, published when she was 90. I remember an English professor interviewed on the national news called it the Great American Novel.)


  6. I totally agree, age should not be a barrier to following your dreams. In our younger years most of us are raising kids, paying bills and just trying to get through each day. It is not until we are older and the kids are grown, bills are under control that we have the time, energy, and money to pursue our dreams.


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