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Goodreads asked L.E. Chamberlin:

What’s the best thing about being a writer?

L.E. Chamberlin I've had a bit of a late start, and there was part of me that wanted to throw myself a pity party for the lost time. I majored in English Literature in college, and the Canon is full of these amazing works that were written when their authors were babies. I mean, Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein when she was nineteen . That's pretty intimidating. And don't even get me started on Sylvia Plath.

Even now, when there are so many writers turning out so much incredible work, there are young authors who blaze onto the scene. Look at Christopher Paolini or even Curtis Sittenfeld. I read stuff written by college students that is so brilliant it makes my teeth hurt.

But then I give myself a break. The fact is, starting when you're middle-aged is not a tragedy. And we can't all be prodigies, but we can tell our truths and hone our craft as long as our brains still work. (We don't even need our bodies. A friend of my mother's with MS wrote a book with a laser pointer strapped to her head.)

J.K. Rowling was in her thirties when she started the Harry Potter series. Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird when she was in her forties. Laura Ingalls Wilder was in her sixties when she began writing the Little House books, and lest you think I'm being sexist by speaking only of women, the Marquis de Sade was in his late forties before his works were published, and his work inspired a sexual pathology in his name. (It doesn't get more influential than that.)

This is all a very long-winded explanation for a simple answer. Being a writer is an art and a science. It is a job you always carry with you, but it wakes you up at 3 a.m. for the best possible reasons. It takes, but it also gives. And other writers are the coolest peer group ever.

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