Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Gas in the tank

Would you ever consider retiring from writing? Under what circumstances? How does it make you feel to consider retiring?

by Dietrich

Retirement was the reward that came after decades spent working at my career. Meaning, from that point on, I had time to turn my attention to what I really wanted to do. And I’ve got no idea what you’d call giving up on that.

While I ran a business, I dabbled at writing fiction now and then over the years, abandoning a couple of attempts at a novel, now and then trying my hand at short stories and screenplays. I wrote in snatches of time, often at the end of a long day. I didn’t know it then, but I never put in the kind of time needed to really develop a style. What I had was desire, and when I retired, I was finally able to put in all the time I wanted, and I didn’t hold back.

“You have to put off being young until you can retire.”  

I’m not sure who said that, but it’s true. After leaving the career, I’ve always felt fully charged, getting to do something that I love, something that has never felt like work. Since day one, I’ve been getting up every morning, sitting at my desk and getting back into whatever make-believe world I’ve created, seeing where it will take me on that day — and nothing beats that.

Back when I started, I often wrote morning till evening. These days, I tend to write for a few hours at a stretch, occasionally going longer. I spend less time writing, but I do a lot less rewriting, so in the end I actually get more accomplished in less time. After the first year of writing all day and into the evening, I became aware of the need for balance, allowing time for the batteries to recharge, meaning there was also more time for family, friends, commitments and other interests.

Writing is a mental exercise. Physically, we show up, plop in our chairs, and move our fingers. How hard is that really? While we’re not exactly pro athletes, it’s good to stay in shape in order to keep sharp. Unlike the middle-age pitcher whose fastball isn’t so fast anymore, many writers actually seem to get better with age, as long as we take care of ourselves. 

If the time comes and I feel that the mental well is drying up and I’m turning out rubbish, then I hope I’ll have the good sense to pack it in, or that someone will come along and pull the plug … I mean on my Mac. But, for right now, it’s all good fun, and as long as the ideas keep flowing, then I’ll keep on writing.

Released June 7th, 2022


Brenda Chapman said...

Good post, Dietrich! I did the same writing schedule as you for years when I worked full time. It is wonderful to be retired from that rat race and work from home on what we love to do most :-)

Dietrich Kalteis said...

So true, Brenda.

Susan C Shea said...

Me too. My first novel got to page 100 before my consulting schedule got too heavy. For years, I said I didn't have time or energy. "So," my partner said, "quit the day job." Gulp.

Dietrich Kalteis said...

It's great to have that support, Susan — and the little push to quit the day job.

Linda L Richards said...

I love this so much. I love the acknowledgement of virtuosity through application of skill to talent. You are a journeyman now, Dietrich. You get to spend less time labouring because you’ve learned your craft, which gives you more time for noodling. We’re the richer for it because we have more books from you to look forward to. And we can anticipate ever more clarity from that brave and original voice. Bravo!

Dietrich Kalteis said...

Thank you, Linda.