In an effort to comfort myself, I convinced myself that some of the world’s greatest writers were well-seasoned in life before they published their first works.
I hate it when the truth interferes.
Mark Twain was 34. That’s like the prime of life, right? Shakespeare was roughly 30 – even better. Ernest Hemingway, 27, although I’m not much of a fan. Dostoevsky was 25…and obviously brilliant. Charles Dickens was 24. How does someone have so much wisdom at that age? Tolstoy, 24. Whatever. Poe was flipping 18! Freak of nature, of course, and I say that with great affection.
As a consolation, there’s Tolkien, who was 40 when a rough version of The Hobbit got leaked.
Maybe these writers’ (and I’m not necessarily saying these are the best of the best. I’m sure there are others quite deserving. These were taken from a search of authors at thebest100lists.com.)…maybe these writers’ best works didn’t come until their golden years.
Reality check: So what if a few of them didn’t make it to old age?
New theory: the best writers had major obstacles along their way, and when they were pinned against the wall, the genius poured out.
Phew! That works. Mostly, it was financial strife that prompted their masterpieces. Desperation. This is familiar.
I can relate. This is good. This is a start.
Never mind that I just threw myself right up there with the all-time best-ish. Typical writers’ syndrome: my writing will be timeless and profound, blah, blah, blah. Is this a method of convincing myself or an egotistical tactic? I think neither. It’s not working.
All right. Step one: detect adversity and pressures. Step two: write. Step three:____________.
I hate the uncertainty.