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Wednesday, August 1, 2012

IWSG August - Golden Patina


For more IWSG posts for August, click here.


Like many of you, I am in the midst of summer Olympic fever, staying up late at night to watch the divers, the swimmers, the gymnasts.  While I was thinking about a topic for this month’s post, my brain touched on how writers, like athletes, need to practice, practice, practice.  But of course, that theme has been done—to death.  We all know if we want to improve, we need to write.

That said, I am never NOT amazed by the dedication of these athletes—the focus of the sixteen-year-old competing in her first Olympics, the twenty-one-year-old (virtual antique) competing in his second.  Many of these contestants continue to compete on the world scene for a few more years, before they move on and develop entirely new careers.  After a point, I suppose, they have to.  Once they age, the synapses don’t fire fast enough, and before they know it, each former superstar is eclipsed by someone younger and faster.  No matter how hard they work, age will catch up.

That’s the good news from where I sit.  Because, while the writing muscle demands exercise, it doesn’t have to get old.  It probably isn’t a surprise to anyone reading this that I am sitting solidly astride middle age.   Yet, when I look back at a blog post from three years ago, or an essay I wrote five years ago, it’s clear I am a better writer now, by far.  All my “practicing,” over the past several years has yielded measurable improvement.  I don’t have to retire due to age-related injuries.  As long as I can situate myself in front of a screen, I can keep going, optimistic that in spite of my wealth of grey hair, I am still going to get better.

A friend of mine posted a FaceBook tribute to his mother on her birthday last week.  It said something like: “My Mom turns 82 today.  She is strong and spends her days writing fiction, walking and keeping active.”  I tell you, I love watching all the Olympic medal winners.  But if I can manage a compliment like that when I turn 82, it will feel fourteen-karat enough to me.

22 comments:

Arlee Bird said...

The physical prowess of great athletes is something totally beyond my capabilities. But you are so right about the practice. That is something that I'm thankful for when it comes to blogging as an outlet for creative writing.

Keep it up, Liza.


Lee
Tossing It Out

mshatch said...

Thank goodness I'm only going to get better at this, regardless of my age :)

sydneyaaliyah said...

We always say that about golf that it is a sport you can play for a life time. Writing is that way, too. You can enjoy it and improve and get better as the years go by. I wasted so much time before I discovered this gift, I am happy that I have a long time to enjoy it. Great post.

Johanna Garth said...

Couldn't agree more. I love having a passion that can continue with me well into old age.

Tyrean Martinson said...

Love this post! Let's run our own race, and be the best writers we can be . . .

Susan Gourley/Kelley said...

What a great insight. I long past Olympic hopes for myself but I hope writing keeps my brain young and active.

Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

That's very true! We never peak if we keep writing, we just get better and better.

Carol Kilgore said...

Write and write some more. It only gets better!

Cate Masters said...

I love to think that my best is still ahead of me. Great to hear your friend's 82-year-old mom's still writing!

Gwen Gardner said...

Nice analogy. It's all about practice, practice, practice. I'm middle-aged, too *chokes on words* and when I get later-aged, I want to be exactly like your friend's mom:)

Peter Cruikshank said...

Happy IWSG Day. I am turning 60 in January and just started to write (again) earlier this year. Someone asked me the other day, "Aren't you worried that you won't have long to write" (they were a bit younger than I). I stared at them for just a moment, and without changing my expression said, "I figure two books a year over the next 40 years will limit me to a collection of only about 80 or so books, but I do have to leave time for golf, travel, reading other authors (especially this one), grand kids, and then there is my spare time. But what can you do about it. Life is so short?" IWSG #170

Wine and Words said...

OMG! I need to join that group! No, wait....Insecure Anonymous would be more apt. Since I moved, I do not have cable or a television. I am as out of touch with the olympics as I am with the rest of the world. My brother has 13 olympic medals. It was once a very big deal for me to watch moment by moment. Many things were a big deal...and couldn't be survived without. Reality reduces such notions to rubbish.

Stephen Tremp said...

I just hope to make it to 82 in great health. Wifey and I are doing our best now by eating right and exercising and all. 82 here we come!

Jan Morrison said...

This is wonderful and as I'm sure you're aware - I am soooooo with you! I have a pal, Arlo, who is 92. When he was a young sprig of 85 I strong-armed him into publishing his first book - he self-published and sold thousands - by himself! I love that. He's procrastinating on his second - think there are some issues as he is quite aware there won't be a third...

Jennifer Shirk said...

So true! I hope I can say that when I'm 82 too.

The dedication these athletes have is truly inspiring!

Gene Pool Diva said...

Go for it. Mom's 83 and I have a hard time keeping up with her.

Helen Ginger said...

What is middle age anymore? People seem to be retiring later in life, so does that move middle age to a later date? Used to be 40 was middle age. Now it's 50 or 60, it seems like. Maybe even later before people "retire."

Lynda R Young said...

See, that's why I love writing. It just doesn't get old! ;)

~Sia McKye~ said...

Me too, Liza!

Sia McKye OVER COFFEE

Charmaine Clancy said...

Spot on! My dad's in his 60's and has just started writing fiction in the last two years after I bought him a journal and pen for that Christmas. He started out writing clunky passages that led nowhere, but his imagination was very active and he persisted and persisted. He has three first drafts finished and is polishing the first novel now. And I am amazed at his progress.
Writing improves with practice and experience. Plus you don't have to get up at 4am and jump in a freezing pool to do it.

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Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I agree, Liza, we get better with age. Like a fine wine. Your photographs are stunning. Happy IWSG.