Writing and Age

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I’ve been writing for two decades. And by writing, I mean practicing and training and learning and pulling my hair out to try and get better than I was yesterday. I’ve been through the initial growing pains, which, by the way, sucked.

On average, I would assume that I’m ahead of someone else in the craft when my experience outstrips theirs by a healthy margin. I never assume that I outstrip another person on talent or dedication or inspiration or the number of friends willing to yell at me if I hurt their feelings, but I think it’s safe enough to assume I have a decent lead skill-wise when someone’s age matches the number of years I’ve been writing.

Skill gaps are much more prominent in the first quarter of life. Twenty-year-old writers are generally better than 16-year-old writers, who are going to be better than 12-year-old writers, but even a 14-year-old can be better than a 70-year-old at something if the 14-year-old has been honing their craft longer.

See, it’s not about age, it’s about time put in. Any edge I have in writing is absolutely just that I have had more time to put in and have done so. This correlates with age but has nothing to do with age. Anyone – literally anyone – can catch up to and surpass me by putting in the time and being inherently more talented or dedicated than I am. I hope to keep growing as a writer, but I understand that there are prodigies and people who are ridiculously talented at writing and that they’re either better than me or about to be, despite having put in less time.

For the most part, when you’re talking “best” writers (or artists), they are likely to be the ones who have put more time in and are further along their artistic journey. And this often, though not always, correlates with age. Age correlates with time, and time is what you put into improving your creative skills. (Disclaimer: I by no means consider myself The Best. I only consider myself to be Worth Reading But Only If My Work Interests You Because Taste Is Subjective.)

If you know someone awesome at writing who is very young, someone better than me and/or another full-grown adult writer, great! Youth doesn’t mean inferior. It just means they’ve had less time. A prodigy who also gets the practice afforded by time under their belt… well, that’s one hell of a creative force. That’s Mozart-level right there.

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