Blog Entries
This Week - Monday 16th October 2017
Category: Site News
Tags: Blog Monday Muse

I’m going to pretend (please play along) that the reason “This Week” is up so late is because I wanted to wait for the blog/muses to be published first. The real reason is obviously that I forgot. Apologies to you all.

Well and truly on the Bragging Stool this week is Alyson who was not only Highly Commended with ‘Left Behind’ in the Morgen Freeman monthly comp, but also won the Mags4Dorset short story competition. And, if that wasn’t enough, her crime story ‘Sweet Revenge’ made it onto Writing Magazine’s short list. Congratulations!

Adhocers this week are Sue (on page one!), Angela, Chris, Maggie and myself.  

Monday Muse

Nicola has provided some scary muses for us this week. Here they are:

  1. You’re driving on a country road. It is late at night. You are far from home. You realize, as you check your mirrors, there is a man hiding on the floor of your back seat.
  2. You are falling. The 737 is 100 meters above you. You hear the rush of the wind, and it’s so cold. You realize you are still holding your…
  3. Something in the closet was making a strange noise, so I opened the door and…
  4. Write a story or poem that includes a church, a pumpkin and a black cat.
  5. Write a story or poem that takes place on a mortuary late at night


Jill has written a very interesting blog about what age people are when they start writing. I often think that I wish I’d started earlier, but I also think that you bring a lot more to your writing when you have experienced life a little. I’m sure it’s different for different people. Certainly interesting to think about whether your age affects your output.

October Challenges and Opportunities

Jill and I have pieces up in this section, but it’s certainly not too late to pen something for critiquing.

Meetings, etc.

The next Poetry Project (1) is scheduled for Friday October 27th 3pm.

The next Formal meeting is scheduled for Sunday October 29th with Sue in the chair.


Hope you all have a great, and productive, writing week! 

Never Too Early Never Too Late
Category: Writing
Tags: writing publication success

Never Too Early Never Too Late

In just about everything, I fall into the latter category, starting everything late in life. I got married at 47, started writing at 50, and only felt any desire to have children when being a grandmother was more appropriate. Luckily with writing it is never too early, or too late.

Alexander Pope penned his first poem ‘Ode to Solitude’ when he was 12, although his real fame came when ‘Pastorals’ was published in 1709, when he was 21. He suffered childhood illnesses: asthma, a curved spine and headaches. Was this the reason he began writing?

Dorothy Straight holds the record for the ‘youngest published author ever’. At four years old she wrote a story for her grandmother, which pleased Pantheon Books so much they published it when she was six – an extraordinary achievement. The story was in response to her mother’s question: ‘How did the world begin?’

The Guinness Book of Records cites Christopher Beale as the youngest-ever male author. His five-chapter story about his favourite stuffed animals was published in 2006, when he was exactly six years and 118 days old.

The youngest author to reach the New York Times best-seller list is Christopher Paolini who had the first book of his ‘Inheritance Cycle’ published in 2002, when he was 19. His success continues.

And we must not forget Mary Shelley, who completed ‘Frankenstein’ at the age of 20.

I imagine most published authors – including successful self-published authors as well as those taking the traditional route – start writing in their 20s or 30s, with or without a university degree or a creative writing certificate. Kazuo Ishiguro once said that writers were at their peak in their 30s. Others disagree, saying older authors have a wider life experience to draw on.

It’s interesting to note how many find success somewhat older. Raymond Chandler was 51 when he was first published with ‘The Big Sleep’. Frank McCourt didn’t become a published author until the age of 66 with ‘Angela’s Ashes’, going on to become a best seller and a Pulitzer Prize winner.

The oldest author to have her first book published was Bertha Wood. At 100 years old, ‘Fresh Air and Fun; The Story of a Blackpool Holiday Camp’ was published just before her 105th birthday. She began writing this memoir at the age of 90.

On par with that record, the world’s ‘oldest-ever published author’ was Ida Pollock, who died at 105 in 2013, just before her 125th book was published. Makes me tired just thinking about it.

I suspect elderly authors are less sought-after by publishers due to their assumed slower output and lack of social media skills (by no means always the case) and the simple fact that time is running out to keep more books coming. But it’s good to see it’s far from hopeless. Self-publishing can also help.

I wonder what prompted you to write. Perhaps being an expat? Or was it something going back to your childhood? Or retirement? Early or late, something triggered it. And as you can see, there is no particular age for success.

My biggest dread as a late starter (tongue very much in cheek) is to become a best-selling author posthumously, which means I may need to live to well over 100!



This Week on WA 9th October
Category: Site News
Tags: news updates progress

It seems to have been a week of quiet contemplation, mutual support and feedback, and general-behind-the-scenes writerly stuff here on WA this week.


But first of all the great news that Crilly has come through and is now recovering from her surgery with great aplomb. We’ve all been thinking of you Crilly and wish you a hasty comeback to your writing too.


The minutes for the meeting late September mention a number of issues that need further exploration - so check them out and input if you can. Especially the point about low meeting attendance.


But there’s great stuff going on too. The ‘hands’ Monday Muse brought forth a super piece from Jill, now looking for (and getting some great) feedback and a market.


As for the poetry project: Bruce is posting some thought provoking poems for all to enjoy.


And just look at the Chapters thread; getting a workout for sure. It is good to see such activity. 


October’s challenges and opportunities thread has some super possibilities for all. But the thread is open to more submission openings if you know of any.


Deadline for submissions to the next edition of WA Magazine is now closed. Any stragglers?


On the bragging stool this week are the usual culprits of Ad Hoccers (as Angela has aptly named us.) Going great guns as always.


Maggie's blog on research is filled with intrigue, and the Monday Muse from Vanessa crammed with ideas to inspire and get the juices flowing. How about the proverbs then?


There have been a few tweaks to the planner. Please check your dates up to Christmas again and let yours truly know if you need to make any changes.  Still looking for a blogger for November 6th.


If I've forgotten anything, please shout.


It is Thanksgiving here in Canada today. So wishing a very happy Thanksgiving to all, from me over here.



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