A writer never retires and that’s a good thing for me since I was old enough to die when I started. Re-started would be more accurate. After beginning to write early in my life I got sidetracked by circumstances. I went away to college at 16, was married at 18 (my brain hadn’t even stopped growing) and then raised three children. In other words, stuff happened. But the time is now and I’m learning to live in the present moment. That happens as you age and begin to feel your own mortality. So on this post; I’m talking about today, December 22, 2011.
I (re)started writing at age 49, and since I had neither husband nor trust fund, I counted beans for a living and wrote at night and on weekends. That’s what most writers do. I loved those days made rich by writing, reading and hanging around with other scribes when time allowed.
The wonderful thing is that one eventually retires from their day job, and that’s when I became a full-time writer. I had listened to a lot of talk about getting prepared for retirement so I didn’t go into some kind of a funk (aka depression). No need for me or any writer to worry about that particular problem. My job had served me well, but I’d long been counting the years, months and days until I could finally say:
Thank God it’s Monday!
It’s hard to believe that my favorite day is now Monday. (Will those of you who are still paying their dues forgive me? Your time will come, I promise.)
A few years ago, my new (dream) schedule started like this:
Rise at 7:00 a.m. and put on makeup. Reason for bothering with makeup? To signal my auto-pilot self that I had NOT retired, I’d just gone into business for myself. Then I took a walk through the neighborhood and worked at my computer until noon. (Coffee and breakfast fitted in somewhere, depending on the day. You’ve seen my picture so you know that I don’t skip meals. And coffee is essential, not only for my sanity but for the (mental) health of anyone near me.)
About five years into my dream life I gave up putting on makeup except for special occasions. That Pavlov’s dog thing had kicked in and I automatically walked to my computer each morning. I had learned that there just wasn’t enough time for small stuff. I had (finally) come to understand the importance of living in the present. I’d learned that not all good things are expedient. (That’s a King James’ Bible sort of word.) So now, with the limited energy of an old gal, my ‘primetime’ has become shorter. I write in the morning and then again after meals. These are the times when my energy level is highest. In between writing and short rest periods, I do such things as load my dish washer, pick up messy stuff around my house, and call a few friends. I usually read in the evenings.
I love my writer’s life! Back when I came home to write after working a 10-hour day, I loved that, too. When I had the energy to spend long hours at my computer as a younger full-time writer, I loved that even more. But writing today is best of all. Even my rest periods are spent writing; I mull over plot problems and character motivation. Then after I get my second (or third) wind, I hit the keyboard again.
Life is never perfect. Everyone gets their share of tragedy, illness, and cranky grocery clerks. But for this writer, LIFE ROCKS!
|Carolyn Hart, Jackie King, Judy Rosser at 2011 Bouchercon|
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