An Astute Assessment Of The Average Of Authors

I won't deny it, I'm a straight ridah.

So a few days ago I was sharing my vast and humbling knowledge of the world with someone. I can’t remember who it was, but they were suitably impressed by my charm and good looks, and the conversation soon turned to literature and writing. I remember this particular conversation because it prompted a situation that I seldom find myself in: they asked a question that I didn’t know the answer to.

"What is the average age of a published author?"

The room went silent. The DJ stopped the record and the lights flickered back on. I just stood there shocked, gaping stupidly at them, before excusing myself and scurrying home to rethink my life. In a cocoon of blankets, I huddled on the floor, the question slowly creeping over me, the words wrapping themselves around my limbs like a ball of twine, cutting into my skin.

Changing me.

Days passed. A caterpillar emerges from its cocoon as something beautiful. When I emerged I was no longer human. I was a shadow of myself, a body consumed by an answerless torment. I was half question, half man.


I sat at my computer, refusing to eat, staring blankly at the screen through blood streaked eyes. One night I painted the question in block capitals across the walls of my room, the dripping words cruel and taunting. Every now and then I’d be seized by little snippets of thought that could be the answer to my plaguing question, and I’d whisper these half-formed ideas to myself:

"Somewhere between ‘old’ and ‘fucking old.'"

But I couldn’t help feeling that this wasn’t an accurate enough answer. I turned to Google.

A study performed by the BBC suggests that 50 years of age marks an author's peak. Wow. Indicative of the maturity that a writer needs I suppose, but pretty depressing, really. Slightly less gloomy are the findings from this guy, (who needs a new fucking hobby, holy shit) which claim that 36 years old is the average age at which an author sells their first professional novel.

Either way, if I succumb to being a statistic, I’ve got at least another 15 years before I see a novel get published. Or 29 years if I choose to believe the BBC’s research. Which I don’t. Glass is half full, right?

What am I going to do with 15 years? What if, after 15 years, I still lack the maturity and insight and experience that a professional writer needs?

This is a ridiculous industry.

need a buckie.

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