Posted by Tim Stobbs on January 12, 2015
Today’s post will look at finding something to do in my retirement years that is both creative and meaningful to me. In my case, this would obviously be continuing to write on a regular basis. To me writing satisfies some deep need to create something and I actually feel worse when I’m not writing on a regular basis. Cheesy as it sounds writing provides fulfillment to me.
Yet I have also struggled to write on a consistent basis for years, just check out the wild swings in my posting frequency on this blog as an example. Yet after finishing the National Novel Writing Month I learned a few things about myself and found a good reasonable output of writing for me right now is about 750 words a day (90% of the time, so that allows the odd day off). At that rate I can write approximately write at this blog about three days a week and also finish two major projects a year (one novel and one non-fiction book). This is a bit lower than my initial estimate, but I found 750 words works nicely for a scene in a novel so I used that as a good benchmark to work towards.
The other issue I have is finding time to edit the books I write since all first drafts always suck and need work. I’ve accepted this reality after a number of years. So I will also try to work out a editing schedule that allows me to also edit two books a year (not the same same ones I have just written…I find I do much better editing if I ignore things for a while and then get back to them). During my time off in December I didn’t figure out a good method to do this so that is my project in January to figure out. Try various methods of measuring progress and times to do it and find out what works for me.
To support my development on writing skills I really need to take some more professional classes on it and read a bit more about the mechanics of writing. So I plan to attend at least one training event per year and also read two books per year on writing. I know it sounds a bit like a low threshold, but I rather not just take some training to fill a quota and not get much out of it. Good courses at a reasonable cost that I can fit in my schedule haven’t historically be easy to find. The same is true of books on writing. I find a lot of them either too textbook like and dry as hell to read or too readable with very little useful content.
The long term goal of all this work is to get myself lined up to switch to a writing career when I leave work. While I would ideally like to have a novel published before I turn 40, I’m not going to worry about that right now. As I think it is more important to get some material completed at the moment. I’ll come back to this in 2016 to start developing some more detailed social media plans for book marketing and other ideas to support my writing career. I also plan to write some shorter pieces in 2016 and shop those around for publication.
So fellow writers…any other ideas of things I should include here either now or in the future?