Ageism in the writing world!

Just spotted a writing competition for any budding screenwriters out there, called One Word.

It’s a brilliant idea as by only allowing you one word, it really focuses you on writing visually, however…

Think I’m being nice sharing my find? Well, actually it turns out I’m not allowed to enter anyway, because I’m apparently too old! The cheek! I was just starting to feel clever and inspired as a couple of ideas slowly unfolded in my head, but on closer perusal of the rules…it’s for 19-26 year olds only. Ageism lives on!

Now, don’t get me wrong, I have nothing against this age group. No envy for those in the midst of their early 20’s, I seem to remember being broke for most of mine, although at the time that seemed fine. Far too busy studying, travelling and eventually ‘living the dream’ which was in fact doing my time in under-paid, over-worked, entry-level jobs (made a lot of tea, did a lot of photocopying) whilst living in a tiny one-bed flat in Clapham. Ah, happy days.

I don’t mean to single out these competition organisers in particular, they are just doing the same as so many others – and that’s why I’m annoyed. I remember spending sometime at writing workshops that were aimed for the under 25s, and panicking about the approach of my next birthday – Oh no! That’s it, if I’m not published, if my play isn’t put on, my film not picked up and made in the next 3 months, I’m done for! Dream over.

Now to be clear, I think it’s great to encourage the youth of today to pick up their pens and have a go at writing and being generally creative. It’s a great leveller giving everyone a chance to tell their story, have their voice heard, discover a new talent, a new ambition. In fact, my neighbour runs a charity (Body Action Campaign – no link I’m afraid, website coming soon) aimed at allowing socially disadvantaged children to spend time creating animations, puppet shows and films and she’s seen the experience make a real difference to their lives in respect of such things as confidence and skill building.

But do these skills and talents disappear on our 26th/27th birthday? Surely, we get better with age (like wine). Competitions for young people are great, but perhaps run another for those of us that are over 26…has anyone ever seen a competition specifically for the over 26? I haven’t, but I’d love to hear if you have.

Age shouldn’t be a barrier. And so, to those that have moved into, or beyond, their late 20s, let’s reserve the right to never stop trying to make that ambition a reality. Lots of people do – but there’s no room for that kind of talk on this blog! Pick up your pens and write (or whatever your dream is)! I’m only 32 for goodness sakes, I’m not done with life yet.

If any of you are eligible to enter the above competition – let me know how you do!

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3 Responses to Ageism in the writing world!

  1. Maxxiee says:

    I whole heartedly agree. It has only been in my early 30s (eek!) that I have begun writing, and most of that is unfinished bits and pieces and a blog! Then there is the other side, where I was filling in a quesitonnaire re TV watching habits of 20 – 25 year olds, and the reason I was filling it in? Because the student’s tutor said to limit the questionnaire to her target audience was ageist… Anyway, shame as ‘one word’ sounds fun!

  2. I’m actually infuriated by this. I’m 40. I’m young. I still feel 19-26 years old and I am fully capable of writing a story based on this age group. How dare they.

    Thanks for your blog post, it’s cheered me up, in a warped kind of way!

    CJ xx

  3. Thank you! I think we need a pressure group – competitions for the over 26s! The Royal Court used to have writing workshops for the over 25s, but they don’t run them anymore and only have provisions for 25 and under. I have more to write about now, more experiences to draw on.

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