|Joseph Heller with his family, not long after the publication of Catch-22|
It makes sense that peaking in mid-career is the most common path—at this stage, the writer has acquired some chops, and has begun to discover which themes are closest to the heart. Energy and originality are still relatively easy to access.
Another familiar example of this trajectory is Gustave Flaubert, who wrote Madame Bovary in mid-career. But the author Dorothy Bryant argues in her play Dear Master based on the correspondence of Flaubert and George Sand that all his previous work led up to the exquisite novella “A Simple Heart,” which he wrote toward the end of his life.
Other recent posts about writing topics:
How to Get Published
Getting the Most from Your Writing Workshop
How Not to Become a Literary Dropout
Putting Together a Book Manuscript
Working with a Writing Mentor
How to Deliver Your Message
Does the Muse Have a Cell Phone?
Why Write Poetry?
Poetic Forms: Introduction; The Sonnet, The Sestina, The Ghazal, The Tanka
How to Be an American Writer