183: “It’s Never Too Late to Write a Book” with Barbara Hinske

Becoming an Author Starts Today

“I had been a business lawyer, so I had always drafted contracts, but I always yearned to do creative writing.” —Barbara Hinskey

At age 58½, Barbara Hinske thought of herself as a late bloomer as an author — considering it was a serious car accident that initially inspired her to write.

Confined to bed rest, and unable to use her computer or watch television, she found herself stripped of her previous life as an attorney. But it was her recovery that allowed her to conceive the idea for her “Rosemont” book series, which we discuss on this week’s episode of “Authors Who Lead.”

Embracing Full-Time Writing

When you work a full-time job, you have to find time to squeeze in hours to write. Barbara tells me in our interview that this was how she lived for many years as a lawyer, and she was always “hoarding every little block of time so that I could sit down and write,” she said.

Now that she is a full-time author, she is living a different life — one where she has the freedom to walk her dog, participate in her church community, cook, and have time to ease into sitting down to be creative.

“This transition has been just transformative for my personal life and my writing life,” she told me.

Although she is fully focused on writing as her only job, she said she finds herself “juggling multiple things at once, now more than I’ve ever done.” But even so, between writing, running her business, and marketing, she is busier and happier than ever.

It’s Never Too Late to Start Writing

Barbara thought she had missed her window to write and be creative until she was sidelined by the injuries from her car accident. As ideas came to her for her first book series, she began “relentlessly educating” herself on how the author business worked. At her age, she didn’t want to wait to find an agent and go through the whole traditional publishing process, so she decided to self publish.

Barbara isn’t the only successful writer who found inspiration later in life. James Michener, for example, wrote “Tales of the South Pacific” after age 40. In fact, he wrote 40 books after age 40. And Anna Sewell wrote “Black Beauty” after age 51. It truly is never too late to start writing.

The Hallmark Moment

Everyone told Barbara her novella “The Christmas Club” should be made into a movie. But where do you start to look for someone to make your story into a movie, especially if you are self published?

Again, Barbara’s persistence came into play. She asked everyone she knew and ran into if they knew anyone at the Hallmark Channel. Eventually, one person she asked had a neighbor who had connections at Hallmark. That introduction got her into screen talks three weeks later. 

When you have good intentions with your big asks, you aren’t robbing others of anything; you are just asking a simple question. If you never ask, you aren’t allowing the opportunity to present itself.

Advice for New Authors

Whether you’re writing your first book or your 20th book, we authors can get stuck in our heads about whether our books are any good. I asked Barbara what her advice would be on this dilemma, and her first response was, “You’re not the judge of that.” This means that your job is to just keep writing and let the readers judge your work. If you read widely, you’ll come across classic books that, although they are popular, are far from perfect.

Resistance can come in the form of blocks, perfectionism, or doubts, and it is a normal part of being an author. We need to find a way to push through this resistance, so we can recognize and trust our true creative gifts.

If you feel like it’s too late in life to start writing your book, keep in mind my greatest takeaways from my conversation with Barbara: 

  1. It’s never too late to start. Don’t let anyone convince you otherwise. You are perfectly fine where you are.

  2. Your life experience is writing experience. Just because you haven’t been writing for the last few years doesn’t mean you don’t have experience; it just means it’s time to put that practice to paper.
  1. You just have to start. You can’t worry about being good. Just remember that you will get better as you continue to write. You can’t experience being a writer until you are writing and show up for your creativity.

What was your biggest takeaway from this episode? Do you have a book in your heart but feel you’re too old to write it? Share in the comments below!

That’s all for this week. Today is the best day to start writing your book! Don’t delay—take action!

Episode Resources:

Learn more about Barbara’s books here.

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