Forty is the perfect age to begin writing, to really do it, if you haven’t done it. Life experience is as valuable to a writer as the act of writing. No matter when you begin, you will never feel “ready.” An urgency to record what you have done here on Earth before life ends is a huge motivator. There are valuable writer’s tools you may have already been developing, or may be doing so now. Reading is as valuable to the writer as the act of writing. Finding writers you love, and carrying with you the books and stories you love the most, the ones you have read five or six times, carrying them around with you until people say “DON’T YOU EVER READ ANYONE ELSE???” and you say “Why would I?”
Start by looking at the mess in your room, in your kitchen, or in your life—and writing some words about it. See if the words are as messy as the mess. Those words are important. Mess is important. Alternatively, look at the orderliness in your room, your kitchen, or your life. Write about the satisfaction or the tyranny in that order. Who does it remind you of? Who do you remind yourself of? Write about the phone call or e-mail that doesn’t come, the one that you were waiting for your whole life. Write about the call that comes too often. Write about the call that is strangely just right on time, what the ring sound is like, and what the room temperature is when the phone rings. Write about what you love as much as what you dislike. Imagine people you both love or despise when they were children, write about an imaginary moment, one which may have made them who they are. Change all names, protect people always, but create. Write ANYTHING down, 10 minutes a day. Write your way to the fictional-truth. Tell a story, and meet the characters living inside yourself.