A few things. First, good article that touches on several important themes.

Second: Not long ago, I asked a writer who had written a very good book, I thought, to blurb a book of mine coming out in late 2020. This author was gracious enough to read the manuscript and then proceeded to say I stole the book’s ideas from them. What? First of all, there are hundreds of books with similar themes as our books, and I asked for the blurb because the author’s book was a similar theme. The only thing similar was the theme. This author disagreed. And that’s okay. Still — is my story. No one else’s. I do not “steal” and if I did, would I have asked this author for a blurb? Absurd. In my twenty-some years of writing professionally, I have never had a response like this from a writer when asking for a blurb. Yes, I’ve had authors choose not to blurb for myriad reasons. But stealing? Wow. I kind of felt sad for this writer, as if they were not confident enough in their own story. I tell this because, yes, similar themes emerge in our writing, but our writing is our writing. In the end, I wish this author the best.

Look, plagiarism is a terrible thing. But you can’t plagiarize ideas or themes. If this were the case, every vampire-themed book (too many to count) would be a matter of plagiarism. Every book about teaching in a trouble school (hundreds of them) would be a matter of stealing. Every superhero movie (dozens and dozens) would be considered swiped from each other.

One more thought on the idea of “too old to write” — I started writing books seriously when I was in my mid-40s. I am now 62. I plan to keep writing, and keep publishing, until I can no longer think of anything else to write about … or I’m dead.

Award-winning writer. Author of memoir and fiction. Editor of Medium publication: THE WRITER SHED.

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