Is 42 Too Old to Chase My Dreams?
The first thing I ever posted to Medium was one of my weirdo poems. After three days I deleted it. In three days it got one view and zero reads or claps. That was in August. It was one of many false starts I’ve made over the years to kick off a career as a poet and fiction writer. I usually quit after a few days.
I’m impatient, afraid, and insecure.
I’ve been in a funk for the past year. I love being a copywriter. But, in the still of the one o’clock hour, when everyone is asleep, and my defenses are down, I yearn to tell weird, creepy stories. As much as I love persuasion and helping businesses make money, and I do love it, it’s not my dream.
Financially, this year has been my best ever. But, emotionally, I’m a mess. The stories are eating away at me. I see my children growing up. I love to hear about their dreams. I encourage their wildest ideas because everyone in my life tried to squash mine. I’m a hypocrite. Someday, they’ll learn I too had dreams. How can I keep daring them to take risks when I’m afraid to try myself?
Driving my youngest to dance tonight I made a decision. Maybe I was influenced by the Greatest Showman soundtrack we were listening too at her request. Maybe I’m just tired of fighting this strange storytelling monster inside of me. Probably, I’m finally more worried about running out of time than I am about my work being hated or ignored. I decided to make an honest effort towards making a living wage as a fiction writer and poet.
I’m not naive or stupid — or maybe I am. I know the odds are against me. But, the odds were against me when I started my freelancing business with a zero-dollar investment. That has worked out well for me. I’m still going to work as a freelancer. I won’t quit doing client work until I can equal my monthly requirements from my creative writing consistently for at least six months. But, all of my other efforts will be on my Weirdo Poetry brand.
I don’t expect to get a book deal. I don’t think I’m going to be rich and famous. But, I have an unwarranted confidence that my peculiar mix of talents and personality quirks can cobble together enough income streams to make a living at the same level I currently enjoy as a freelancer.
But, there are so many buts. But, I’m 42. Am I too old to chase my dream? But, the stuff I write is weird. Is there even a market for it? But, I may not be any good. Will anyone even read my stuff? Will anyone like it?
I don’t have the answers. The only way to get the answers is to put myself out there. Like most writers, my personality is a curious hybrid. I’m private and an exhibitionist. I’m reluctant to share my work, but I want everyone to read it.
Medium has been a great training ground for me the past three months. I’ve been experimenting with the platform. It’s helped me open up about my work, and it has given me a way to monetize my writing. For now, I will be writing more about my side business as a fiction writer and a poet. I will also be writing locked posts of original fiction and poetry as I try to get paid for my creative work. But, I will also still be writing about marketing and copywriting because those are still some of my biggest interests.
I don’t expect this post to get much traction. But, I need to write it. I need to make myself publicly accountable. There’s no backing out now.
It’s time to find out if this 42-year old copywriter has the chops to earn a living as a fiction writer and poet. I don’t have a timeline for how long it will take. I’m committed to doing the work and I’m excited to see what happens next.
I’d love it if you wanted to come along for the ride.