If you want to feel bad about yourself today, take a moment to read through this list of people who published great works of fiction before they turned 25.
Though it doesn’t always include the masterworks people eventually became famous for, this list is long enough and covers enough people you were forced to read about in school to make you feel a bit off about yourself. For example, both Mr. and Mrs. Shelley–of Frankenstein and Queen Mab lore–F. Scott Fitzgerald, Truman Capote, Brett Easton Ellis, Michael Chabon, Norman Mailer, Jane Austen, Gore Vidal, and more that I hadn’t heard of previously.
While it’s important, and in some ways helpful, to remember that youth does not have to be an impediment to success–that it can be the fire that burns the writer on to greatness–don’t beat yourself up too much if you’re older than 25 and still haven’t published or made it big yet. Remember, you’re the majority.
Plus, a lot of those folks didn’t live that long, anyway: Percy Bysshe Shelley got to be 29; Mary Shelley only hit 54; F. Scott Fitzgerald scraped by to 44; and Austen only cracked 42. Read a different way, they got published only at the middle of their lives.
Here’s to many more birthdays!