In The Autumn View we look at the range of views expressed in response to one of the interview questions. There will be a different question each month, although some questions will be revisited when more interviews have been completed. This month’s question is:
What advice would you give to younger writers who hope to continue being productive in later life?
Keep going, don’t stop. Stay open to what you really want to do. Keep asking the question, ‘What am I doing with my life? Is this what I really want to do? Am I doing what is true to my heart and to those around me?’ Those questions, for an artist of any kind, are the vital ones. Never stop asking them.

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The biggest obstacle to continuing one’s writing is not being able to handle criticism. Women, in particular are more easily put off as they get older. Learn not to take criticism to heart. And do things that will stimulate your creativity.

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Have a go; write what you really want to write; express your own feelings; learn from other people’s responses to your work, but don’t be deterred by negative criticism or the fear of it.

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Don’t even let it cross your mind that you can’t or won’t be productive in later life. Assume that you can and then you will be.

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‘To thine own self be true.' Seek the truth, and be yourself.

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Keep writing, keep trying. There are plenty of examples of writers who don’t get published until well into later life. If you haven’t been published or had success by forty, fifty, sixty, or even beyond that, it’s not the end of the road. I think the important thing is to encourage, not young writers, but first-time writers, whatever their age. The early stages of a writer’s career are just as likely to be in their sixties as in their twenties. There are lots of awards for writers under thirty. There should me more encouragement for people starting out, whatever their age. I’m fairly sure that there are more readers over sixty than in any other age group and a lot of them prefer books written by authors who are themselves mature.

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Find out what kind of writer you are and keep doing it. If you want to go on writing into old age, I think, if you are a writer, you will.

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Work at and maintain the important relationships with the people you love and who love you. World-weary cynicism that can accompany old age is counter-productive to creativity. The opposite of this is a kind of awe and innocence. Never stop being curious. Always retain your sense of wonder.