I just retired – from my day job, not from writing.
I’m still getting used to the idea that I don’t have to get up at 4 AM. My body, my internal clock, has not yet made the adjustment.
For over thirty years I’ve been getting up very early in the morning, in order to write for an hour or so before leaving my home to go to the day job. Writing is my avocation. The day job was what I did to pay the bills so I could write. Necessary, but as the years progressed, my frustration grew.
I figured out that I was spending on average ten to eleven hours away from home, doing work for other people. That’s ten to eleven hours a day, away from my computer, away from the books I want to write.
I could write so much more if I didn’t have to do that, I thought.
Well, I’m about to find out.
I have a pension, social security, an IRA. And now I have time, which is the most precious commodity of all.
The challenge is how to use my time wisely. I am well aware of how many things can eat up that time. I suspect that it will take a while to adjust to being retired. After forty-plus years of arranging my day to suit the needs of others, I now have the power to arrange my days as I see fit.
When I told her the news of my impending retirement, a friend said, “You’ll be surprised how much time you won’t have.” Other retired friends have said, so often. “I’m so busy now I don’t know how I got anything done before I retired.”
I know how. Getting up early in the morning, running errands after work and both days on the weekends, never being able to sit down and relax in the evening until after eight because of cramming so much into every waking hour.
I don’t have to do that anymore. And here at the early stages, it feels strange. I’m sure I’ll get used to it, though.
I have plans – a morning writing schedule, something that has worked for me for a long time. I plan to finish the Jeri Howard book I’m working on, and that California Zephyr short story I started, and then delve into the six or seven novels that are bouncing around in my head.
Now I have the time to do that. And I must guard that time.
Which is why I have a sign on my desk that says – Write First!