You’re never too old to write a book

by | December 10, 2012

Age is only a barrier if you let it!


BY: Sunie Levin


Big deal, I hear you saying. Of course you’re never too old to write a book. Nowadays, everybody writes a book. It’s so easy with publishing-on-demand and publishing on the Internet, anybody can get a book out there. That’s the problem. Not only can anyone write a book and get it published, everyone does. Nowadays everyone’s an author. Everyone thinks they have a story to tell and they tell it. 

So what am I talking about? I’m talking about the fact that good writing has no age limit; that there is no expiration date on creative ability. I’m talking about writers that have written superb works, published by renowned firms, at an age when one would think nearly all their brain cells long ago would have vanished into the woolly fog of incipient dementia.


Ageless writers

Examples? How about “The Invisible Wall”, written by Harry Bernstein and published by Ballantine Books. Harry was 96 when the book came out. Ninety-six! Unbelievable! Not only did Ballantine publish it, but the reviews were fantastically favourable. Nobody could believe a near-centenarian could accomplish such a thing. Where have you been, they all asked.  

A fluke? Hardly. Brains, and writing skill don’t go dead until the person goes dead.

More examples? How about prolific writer Judith Viorst? She has written memorable children’s books, adult fiction and poetry. At age 81 she has written a jewel, “Unexpectedly Eighty and Other Adaptations”. Humourist Dorothy Wilhelm has written her first book “No Assembly Required” at age 74. At age 93, Maggy Simony has written “Bridge Talk or What’s Trump Anyway? An Affectionate Look Back at Sociable Bridge & Ladies Lunch”.

The thing about trite sayings is that they are also true. Our population is living longer. It is still uncommon for people to reach 100. Yet there are over one million centurions. Given that the common age for retirement is 65, that leaves a huge amount of years to be productively filled.


New, insightful writing

Given that the world is already filled with would-be Dostoevskys, so why encourage seniors to write? Because, massive as is the influx of writers and manuscripts, there is always room for new, great, insightful writing, and that sort of writing has no age limit. It is unfortunate that people who do have a superb story to tell plus the ability to tell it superbly feel that they simply are too old to start. Tell that to Harry Bernstein. Tell that to Judith Viorst. Tell Dorothy Wilhelm. Tell Maggy Simony. 

It is said that all of us have a story to tell. This is absolutely true. The limiting factor isn’t age, it’s the marketplace. Few of any age will see their work in print unless they publish it themselves. What a pity that those who do have the talent feel constrained by the calendar from getting their thoughts out there for the enrichment of posterity. Writing is a serious business. It is not a hobby, or a time-filler. But given the success of those who have ignored the calendar and have had their work see dawn, age is no barrier. Good writing is ageless. 


Sunie Levin is author of “Make New Friends Live Longer” and “Ready or Not Here I Come! How To Choose Your Best Retirement Community”. Visit her web site at

 (** PHOTO CREDIT: Hand pencil, code1name, stock.xchng)




  1. Ang L L

    Hi Sunie,
    Agree with you that writing is a serious business. And I would add, a solitary one too. The days of writing and rewriting to get it right can be long. But yes, everyone’s life is a treasure trove of memories and lessons – a rich legacy to leave behind.

  2. Sunie Levin

    Ang LL, yes, we have seen so many new changes in the past decades. We need to share with our family and friends what we think about the new gadgets and what we feel is important in our lives. Write it down, videotape or use a digital recorder. Do it for yourself as well as for others.



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