What makes a writer?
I once heard an agents say, "Anyone under the age of thirty-five should attempt to write fiction. " Now this was a reputable agent with a good many projects sold to big houses. But I still say the idea you have to be a certain age to right is utter nonsense.
Everyone is a writer in some sense. Don't think so? I'll wager a dozen T-Bone steaks to a head of lettuce that not there's not a single person in this world who hasn't already wrote a conflict scene or two in their head. We all do it. Get in to some type of argument and then later think oh I should have said this. And then they would have responded with blah, blah, blah. and then I could have really got them with. Come on admit it. You've did this.
The trick is to put that kind of stuff down on paper, mix in some inner emotional turmoil, or middle-eastern terrorists, or a dead body or whatever fits for your genre. All the while adding in the bits and pieces of everyday life that all of us see first hand. Which brings me to life experience. You can have it at ten in some extreme case and you can be a hundred and still not have much.
Now I personally still have about eight months until I hit that magic age of thirty-five and if I suddenly get my break the day after my birthday, well then that particular agent can look me up and say , "I told you so. But in the meanwhile I've lived a pretty varied and eclectic life that I continually go to for material. Here is the short list.
Paying Gigs- grocery sacker, wood sander, feed store worker, postal worker, football referee, Santa Clause, Easter Bunny, gigilo - Okay I'm kidding about that last one, but if the price was right you never know what I might do. All of these have had their moments but the time I spent at Rose's Feed and Garden gave me more material than ten authors could ever use in a lifetime. Now of course I twist around my experiences, enhance them and give the reader a more entertaining twist than the actual reality, but still I've seen some interesting stuff, like the time a well meaning mom of a small child groped me while I was in the Easter Bunny costume, but that is a whole other story.
Critters- Once upon a time I wanted to be a vet. I love animals, especially the tasty ones. But over the years I've raised a variety of animals for both fun and profit. Okay, only the pigs were what you could call real profitable but still it was interesting. Rabbits, at one time I had almost two hundred. Dogs- I've had good one, bad ones, and some that weren't worth shooting, Cats- Blame my wife for this. Pigs- I earned more my senior year of high school showing hogs than I did in the two years after graduation. Nothing goes together like FFA, stock shows, and smuggled Everclear consumed straight from empty shampoo bottles, again a story for another day. Lambs, Goats, Chickens, Turkeys, Hedgehogs, Tropical fish, and Guinea Pigs, which don't taste anything like actual pork.
Sports-Football, Hockey, Softball, Frisbee Golf, Miniature Golf, Real golf, Video game golf, Okay I'll stop now that I sound like Bubba Gump.
On top of these things. I read like a fiend, I talk way too much, which leads to meeting some interesting people, like to travel, enjoy a variety of music, but mostly Texas Country which is a whole lot different from the stuff Nashville cranks out for the uninitiated.
Guess what I'm trying to say is it ain't the years behind ya that puts experience in your tank, its the miles.
Of course you can even get by that if you have a heck of an imagination and a strong tendency to make up lies.