Coming of Age – the Right to Write

hiking-Jennnifer-SweeteDoes coming of age give us the right to write? I just stumbled upon a fellow blogger who also happens to be a fellow member of the Story Circle Network —it happened on Twitter, I think . . . it was an hour ago so I can’t be totally certain. This whole Social Network scene can be a bit overwhelming to the senses, particularly when I’m helping to assist several other Indie Authors with their social marketing on a daily basis. Fun? YES! ABSOLUTELY! A little crazy? I just have to make sure I am VERY careful to be aware of which which is which!

Sometimes, like right at this moment, I can hear my Kung Fu Master whispering in my ear: “Wax on – Wax off”—wait, no, that’s my ENT doc. My Kung Fu Master (who, btw, lives somewhere between said ears) whispers: “Log in – Log out”—and I am then in charge of remembering whose facebook or twitter or goodreads or pinterest or google+ or youtube or . . . well, you get the idea . . . Where am I? Who am I? Why did I come to this web page?

Oh yeah! I’m me right now and I came here to post my own blog!

For an aging gal, I fare fairly well on the computer. Considering the home computer was invented when I was in my late twenties and the internet, um, later, like somewhere in my thirties (I’m a little fuzzy on my thirties, and it’s truly a miracle I remember anything at all about my twenties at all), I should probably be an old digital pro. Alas, it is a race to try to keep up with all the new, improved, replaced, updated, upgraded, yada-yada-yada.

Instagram? Oh, yeah, my youngest son taught me all about Instagram back when I was 42—it was a boy! A beautiful, brand new, brown-eyed, bouncing baby boy! No? you say? That’s not “Instagram”? The heck it isn’t! It’s happened to me twice now so I ought to know!

What do the Kardashians have that we do not that makes their kind of Instagramming more popular than ours? I’ll tell you—Adobe Photoshop and the notion that photos of airbrushed naked body parts peppering the internet win out over hair-brushed little squeaky babies that we can pick up and cradle in our arms. But they are wrong, and they are learning that there is nothing like the feeling of holding a newborn babe and gazing into their real-life eyes. And, then they take all kinds of pictures of their babies and off they go into the ethers through their Instagram network. It’s a new world.

I wasn’t always able to keep up with all of this techno-mania. I still struggle occasionally. I’m a big girl. I have my big girl panties on. But I know when to call for help. Better than that, I know WHO to call for help – – –

baby-tech

And heaven knows how happy I am that my grandchildren will never have to see Instagram photos of my airbrushed derriere on the internet (at least I don’t think they will). I’m told I look a lot younger than I am. Nice people say this to me and it helps lift my spirits, if not some of the more fleshy parts that might be sagging a tad more than in years past.

Life hasn’t been all that easy so I feel fortunate to still be alive, let alone have most of my parts, sagging or not. I remember the days of youth when springing out of bed into a new day was an adventure, not a two-hour marathon consisting of fourteen different vitamins, a slow-cooked egg, and a piece of gluten-free toast soaked in olive oil, followed by some exercise—gymnastics (making the bed) and weight-lifting (toting laundry baskets). I also enjoy some morning arts and crafts . . . where face-painting is concerned (I don’t have the Kardashians’ makeup artist) my grandson is here to let me know if I’ve done okay or resemble the Joker from the Batman movie when I emerge from my dressing room.

You see, it’s very complex artistry to apply makeup to eyes that cannot see without glasses on them. One must have a psychic sense about them to guess where to place the appropriate utensils. And, since lipstick is always a last minute affair on the run to the car (aerobics) to drive off into the day, I have been grateful for my spotter. BTW, anyone running through ice and snow with a cane in one hand and a purse in the other really needs a spotter for more than lip-smudge. He can honestly say that his Gramma wears combat boots and, recently, I’ve switched to a light beige gloss that blends nicely with my chin and cheekbones when I miss-mess.

Oh, but I ache at this age. This old body has served me well but it needs a lot of TLC. So, though I should be sleeping in later to give it more rest, I actually have to get up earlier to try to pull it all together. That ten-second sprint to the kitchen is now a ten-minute hobble. The upside? Like an old jalopy—once I get it warmed up, it can still putter down the road just fine, well, . . . mostly.

old-bodies

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I guess this is what happens to those of us who’ve really lived. We’ve ridden the bull, so to speak, and we’ve been thrown off a few times but we just kept getting back on and going for another bounce because we have LOVED LIFE! Is it any wonder a few aches and pains eventually show up for the after-hours party? Maybe sixty to ninety is the hangover from my twenties to forties. (What happened to my fifties? That’s a book of its own, so no spoiler alerts!)

So I happened upon this gal’s blog today—yes, believe it or not, I still remember where I began—and I was reading her “About” page where I noticed she had posted a quote from our beloved Henry David Thoreau—a quote that sums it up quite succinctly. He said, “How vain is it to sit down to write when you have not stood up to live.”

And, though anyone can write at any age, I have, indeed, “stood up” (at times when I probably should have sat down) for many long decades, and feel infused by my life’s experiences to write, write, write!

Incidentally, old age does have its perks—after all, we’re still in the ring for another round or so  . . .

aging-bus-ride

And this is what happens when my aging friends send me these silly cartoons in emails! LOL!!!

© Jennifer Sweete, March 2017

For more laughs about “maturing into wise old souls” pay a visit to these fun blogging sites:

www.AgingAintForSissies.com

www.YourAutumnYears.com

We may age, but may our sense of humor stay forever young!

Look for my future Jennifer Sweete blog posts right here!

Need help editing your written work? I edit with you! Yes, with you!
How effective is your marketing strategy? Ask me about my Author Assist program to help you market your book(s).

Books I have enjoyed reading this season:

Plato and Aristotle. A fascinating study of two philosophers somewhat at odds . . . but maybe not really as much as it looks on the surface!

Diane Duane writes YA books and my grandson has started me reading her So You Want to Be a Wizard (first in a series). Finished that one and her second in the series called Deep Wizardry. Working on #3 now – High Wizardry. Interesting study on Suspense Writing for YA!

Until we meet again, keep reading, keep writing, keep dreaming!

Jennifer Sweete is the author of Dear Sandy: The letter that wrote itself into a Book (2015) and The Poet & The Widow (2016). She is a Certified Massage Therapist and Usui/Holy Fire Karuna Reiki® Master and teacher, a small business and writer’s consultant, self-mastery coach, musician, poet, and author. And they all fit snugly into the same hat! She’s currently serving her 2nd term as President of the Chaffee County Writers Exchange while assisting other authors through the processes of editing, self-publishing and marketing their books. She resides with her husband, grandson, and furry friend in sunny Colorado. For more info, contact her at jen@jennifersweete.com.

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4 thoughts on “Coming of Age – the Right to Write

  1. joan

    Dear Author Sweete,
    I have just won your book on Goodreads!! I am so excited to read it, it is coming to me at a perfect time. Also, it sounds like we are in the same age group and have a love for the same state perhaps it’s kismet? I am inspired to resurrect my blog and continue writing in my journal with naked gusto. Thanks for writing.
    Regards,
    j

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Sweete Post author

      Dear Joan,

      Congratulations on winning the Goodreads Giveaway! I’ve mailed your copy of The Poet & The Widow to you today. I’m looking forward to reading your review on Amazon and Goodreads, especially since you are a fellow “naked gusto” writer! Happy to hear you are inspired to resurrect your blog!!! Please send a link so we can cross-blog – so much fun! You can also subscribe to my ridiculous, off-the-wall e-newsletter that I am horrible about keeping up with (at least no one needs to worry about me filling their inbox with emails, LOL!) Love to add you to my email list! And I sent you a list of all of the social sites I’m bopping around on (special card inside your book) so please find me out here-there so we can connect on as many fronts as astronomically, electronically, and humanly possible! In these crazy times on Planet Heart, we all need to stick together with the glue of much laughter . . . 🙂

      Kismet & Hugs,

      Jen

      Reply
  2. yourautumnyears

    Yes, it is a wonderful thing that the Internet gives everyone this amazing chance to become a writer — at whatever age. You really don’t have to be an old fuddy-duddy to have the right to write. But it is a double-edged sword. For while this avalanche of material is amazing for the avid reader it can be detrimental to the industry, pulling down many writers ability to make a reasonable living. I’m sorry to have to be the one to say that out loud, but it’s true!

    There are many excellent new writers out there, which is wonderful. But often in desperation to see their name in print for the first time they allow themselves to be exploited by unscrupulous producers and publishers who convince them to surrender their material for very little or sometimes, for nothing at all.

    This sets a dangerous precedent leading to the inevitable compression of the fees that writers can make. Not just for those hardened scribes that consider themselves professional, but also for the newbies coming into the ultra-competitive marketplace for the first time

    Writer’s fees in Hollywood have taken a beating recently, with scale now being the payments offered as the norm for scripts to even those who have historically earned much more. The stick that is being waved by producers is the threat that they can get alternative material free gratis online. And that material tends to come, understandably, from excited and enthusiastic first-time writers.

    We now live in an age because of the Internet where writers are often advised to prepare their first three books before publishing for the first time. This is to facilitate giving book 1 away for free to create a market and a profile. This to my mind is outrageous. In what other industry are people expected to work for no payment? Yet writers are expected to do it in the hope that the general public likes our work. Can you imagine going into a supermarket and suggesting that they give you your first weeks shopping for free so you can decide whether you like their food and service before paying over any money? I don’t think so.

    And remember, some people only have one good book in them. Can you imagine Harper Lee, giving away To Kill a Mockingbird and waiting fifty-five years to make money from her second book?

    Please do not think I’m against the new and wonderful talent that is being found via social media. Although that said, there also is an awful lot of dross out there — dross that often suffocates good writers. But I bring up this point only in the hope of encouraging new writers not to sell themselves and their newly discovered industry short.

    We all like to see our work published and produced and the first time is naturally a huge buzz. But believe in yourself, if you’ve had the talent to write a book or script, then trust in that talent and demand what you are rightly due for your hard work. Do not undervalue yourself. You are worthy of proper payment for your work. That is only fair. And do not get persuaded by the promise of bigger and better things to come, because they rarely do. Without writers, there is no news, no movies, no plays, no TV, no poetry or songs. Do not undervalue us – yes, everyone can write, but only a few are lucky enough to write well.

    Now, as to the rest of Jennifer’s Blog –

    What a load of tosh! She is selling us a pup by trying to convince us that she is flagging, sagging and getting old. Have you seen her? Not a bit of it. A spring chicken if ever I’ve seen one. But I forgive her fishing for compliments by this obvious use of reverse psychology, only because she does produce exceedingly good work and as I said on my FB and Twitter posts — she reaches the part other blogs cannot reach. And more power to her keyboard.

    Reply
    1. Jennifer Sweete Post author

      YAY! Flattery will get you everywhere 😉 You do realize that was a picture of me wrapped up in braces and wielding a pine-branch cane like a wounded hockey player out for a simple hike in the woods just last summer. Eh? LOL!

      As for writing . . . To the young and old, I beg of you – Let us write to write. Let us write to free our thoughts to find fellow thinkers. Let us write to dream rather than dream to write. Let us write to recompense the past and create the future. And let us all be aware that compensation for our courageous act of running naked through the pages of our books rarely comes in cash. (I really wish it would as I have a grandson whom I’ve raised since birth, and whom I’d very much like to help put through college without having to bear the back-breaking 6-inch stiletto heels and cheek-puckering g-string at my age.)

      Yet, know that compensation definitely comes in knowing we are an inspiration for others to think and dream and dare to put ink to paper or computer, etc. And let us love it! Let us love it whether we write well or like hell. Let us practice, learn, put our hearts into it, bleed into it, drool into it, and joyfully burn those pink slips that say, “We love your book but it’s simply not timely for us.” Then let us say screw them all! And let us self-publish with no expectations, like an insane blogger (I refer to myself) who awakens in the night with an insatiable urge to flood the world with revelation or resolution until peace returns and the heart can rest once again for a time.

      For should you choose this literary path you may learn more about yourself than you have ever dreamed possible, or at least you will have tried. If, however, fortune and fame are your goals, beware that even if you attain them both, you may miss the best part of the entire journey should you neglect that part of you which writes from the heart of you where such strings cannot bind you but can truly set you free.

      So write. Just write. And when you feel your soul has filled the pages, for God’s sake and your own, consider hiring an editor worth his or her socks, or at the very least have someone who reads a lot give it a look-see before you hit the “publish” button. (Family and BFFs are far too biased, btw, so beg a stranger.) If it’s worth writing, then it’s worth editing. Unless, of course, you are a saggy, baggy, old blogger like me 😉 who doesn’t give a hoot or a half what the rest of the world thinks about me trotting my saddle bags across the literary plains in my combat boots (so much more comfortable than orthopedic shoes or stilettos!) on my way to dimensions unknown!

      If you are young and can wait out the big publishing companies, bargain and negotiate, have the finances to hire an agent and attorney, etc, I agree with YAY that you should go for the bigger bucks if you can get them—not just for yourself, but for the good of the whole. Just mind our words to put your integrity first and do not sell your soul to sell your books.

      I have no PhD or Masters in Creative Writing. I have but one unfair advantage—my mother was a perfectly maddening English major whose incessant nagging about spelling, grammar, punctuation, and sentence structure drove me to study the art of writing in self-defense. This wonderful woman will live in my conscience for eternity as I beg Saint Peter, “MAY I please enter through the pearly gates?” (Not “CAN I?” – and ALWAYS say “please and thank you” – manners matter!) This lovely lady of literacy once gave me a priceless little piece of advice when she said, “Don’t put anything in writing that you wouldn’t wish to see on the front page of the newspaper.” Dear guardian of the literary gates—please let it be my next book with good reviews, even if it is self-published!

      Wrapping up—”Diaper Dan” is now “Dapper Dan” and wants a PhD in Psychology and Anthropology. Whatever he studies these next few years in college, at least I will know that when he’s writing his essays, there will be that little voice of conscience—now my own (thanks mom)—ringing in his ears, whispering loudly, “SPELL CHECK, GRAMMAR CHECK, PUNCTUATION, PROOFREAD, FOR GOD’S SAKE!”

      Whether he gets his PhD or not, I secretly hope that he becomes a writer 🙂 He’s a million times better at it than I am. And may he find the greatest reward to be his love of it no matter how much money it pays. Blogging is good practice, wouldn’t you say, YAY?

      Reply

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