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Friday, October 21, 2016

In the Globe and Mail

Posted by Tim Stobbs on May 3, 2016

Well there is a nice little article over at the Globe and Mail on me today and they managed to get a few items wrong.  Sigh.   Feel free to ask any questions you like here on the article and I will do my best to address them.

For now I offer the following points:

  1. Nope, I don’t have $600,000 saved.  They got that particular fact wrong.  Currently it is closer to ~$420,000 in investments plus a paid off house.
  2. No gold plated pension. In one of the comments on the article someone assumed I have a defined benefit pension plan.  No I don’t.  That ~$420,000 above includes my defined contribution plan amount.  I have a okay pension plan, but not a defined benefit one.
  3. How little do you spend? It varies like most other people but our average spending is around $28,000 to $32,000 a year.  Keep in mind I have no mortgage payment so feel feel to add yours in to get a clue on how I compare to you.

Hope that helps,


Not Dead….Really

Posted by Tim Stobbs on April 2, 2015

Sorry for the lack of posts lately, but real life has been sucking down my attention with a vengeance.  Work has been particularly busy and then my evenings and weekend have been consumed doing various kid related things and stuff that HAD to be done around the house.

The other particular things why I wasn’t writing is I have been going through a bit of deep hit of negativity around work lately.  So I did draft a few posts but most of them came out so negative and occasionally whinny about working that I couldn’t bring myself to hit the publish button.  It would have been like feeding you guys a steady diet of battery acid for posts.  Perhaps later I’ll clean them up and publish them, but for now they are going to spend some time in limbo.

That is perhaps the unstated risk of pursuing financial independence.  While having more money means you can put up with less bullshit at work, it also has the side effect it becomes easier to become disconnected from it as well.  So in my case, I got so disconnected that one day I realized I could have cheerfully piled up all the paper on my desk, toss on my laptop and cell phone and burned the entire mess.  Yes I was that apathetic about my job.

Actually it was so bad that one point I was seriously entertaining applying for a job with WAY less pay and worse hours just to have the novelty of doing something that I might enjoy.  I had gone so far to actually put together a resume and cover letter and in a moment of self reflection realized that I was just trying to run away from my current job situation…it wasn’t going to solve any long term issues.  Just trading one set of issues for another set so I didn’t put in the application.

Yet today is the start of a lovely five day weekend for me.  So I finally have some time to think about things and realize that I just need to put some energy into something that I can enjoy.  So I’m planning on expanding my wine making hobby to also include beer brewing.  I’ll likely write up a post on the process later on in the spring or summer.

So now that I’m back…any particular topics you want to hear about?  I’m taking requests.

Learning About Yourself

Posted by Tim Stobbs on November 24, 2014

So far this month I’ve written more than I ever thought possible in a single month.  I’m currently at ~39,000 words on my novel.  Which for those that are curious that would be about 156 pages or 78 blog posts.  I really do think I will hit the 50,000 word goal by Nov 30.

Yet while finishing the first draft of my novel is a good thing to achieve from all this time I’ve been putting in, I’ve also learned more about myself than I thought possible.

When I started this challenge this month, I had this idea in my head of what kind of writer that I am.  I needed quiet to write, I needed to not be too tired, and I needed to somewhat interested in what I was writing.  I also thought I was a writer that worked best with a bit of plot developed and then make up the rest as I go.  I also tended to to write from the start to the end.

Now I have learned all of that was excuses.  Excusing to prevent myself from writing, excuses on how I thought I worked.  Now I know I can write just about anywhere at anytime in any mood including 10:30pm, when exhausted, with music blasting away in my ears with a scene I couldn’t care less about.

I also learned that it is ok to make stuff up as you go. Tangents are fine.  You may not use it, but it may turn into an important scene in the book.  But the most important lesson that I’ve learned as a writer is this: writing is not editing and vice versa.

For years I would read what I had previously written and edit instead of writing. Thus never actually finishing the book and editing the first chapter like seven times over.  Now I’ve finally learned to just shut down that part of my brain and just focus on writing for a while.  So it doesn’t matter if I have plot paradox (fix it later), different character hair colour (fix it later), change the family tree (fix it later), really crappy pacing (fix it later)…end of the world on the wrong day of the week (fix it later).

So yes I’ll have a tonne of editing work to do at the end of this month, but that’s ok because that is editing…not writing.

The other things I’ve learned about myself are:

  • I do very well with bar charts and daily writing goals to get something done.  Yes the pace of 1667 words a day is a bit high to do all the time, but ~1000 words are more reasonable.
  • I do well with some kind of writing support.  Just someone to talk to about it and help keep myself sane during the process.
  • Writing 2000 words is hard, but 200 is easy.  So I tend to write in little blocks of 200 words or so.  Then I do another 200…until you end up at 2000.
  • Just how much damn time I was wasting at month because of movies and Netflix…it’s mind blowing when I gave those up for the month to do this.

So of course I realized that if a person can write 1000 words a day 8o% of the time you can write 292,000 words a year…or one novel, one non-fiction book, a blog three times a week and a collection of short stories.  ALL of them in one year even with a full time job (granted they might not been edited yet, but you get the idea).

Yet the best thing of all about this month was this…for the first time in my adult life I feel utter no guilt about my writing.  I used to have a constant feeling in my mind that I should be working on writing, but not do it.  This month I haven’t felt that at all and it is the best feeling in the world.

In the end, I now know I don’t have to save $500,000 to be a writer.  I can do that today and right now but just writing…shockingly obvious I know, but I can say I really didn’t fully understand that until this month.

So what have you done that taught you a lot about yourself?  Did it change your view of the world?  If so, how?