Writing in Retirement by Bill Storie
I think that many people during their lifetime have a dream of writing a book. Many of them believe that they will be able to do so when they retire. Not a bad idea, but …..
This writing game is tricky. Oh sure we all have hundreds of things in our minds – either thoughts of life issues, or memories of things past – but the truth is that getting them down on paper is a different issue. It ain’t that easy folks.
There’s a saying that “we all have at least one book inside of us.” That may be true but unless we get it written down thought after thought, word after word, for seemingly endless pages (the typical novel needs to be over 70,000 words to be even remotely considered for publication), the notion of writing remains a notion.
The biggest problem is not in the writing of one article for example, but writing the next article, then the next and so forth. Sustainability is the issue.
Then we run into the problem of it having been written about before. Well, that has been a problem for centuries. Even Socrates was concerned about repetition. Others had gone before him. Obviously as the centuries have rolled forwards, and especially now in the digital age, the number of words written on any subject is in the trillions. So, how do you come up with something new?
The answer is really very simple.
YOU write about any subject in YOUR words expressing YOUR feelings. Common sense tells you that those words have NEVER been written before, so you are in new territory.
So, take ANY topic and write down your own thoughts about it. You may get ideas from others who have written on the same topic certainly but if you express your feelings in your own words then you have created a brand-new article.
The cool thing about writing in retirement is that we have all those prior years of memories to use as our base. There are countless things in our past, some serious, some humorous, some we’d like to forget, some we’d love to revisit. And the good thing is that if we write in clear words and thoughts, other people will have an interest in reading about them. Try stay away from words like “awesome” though – that annoys us oldsters !!
I usually start with a keyword or two, then build the article around them as I go. I rarely know what I’m going to write about in detail. But once I have a keyword to work with I usually trundle forwards finding the words to go around them. My theory is that the keyword triggers my mind to create images or recollections, and then the words dribble out. Sometimes a lot of words come out, sometimes few.
I get my keywords from everyday things. A newspaper, an online report, something someone says on TV, something someone says to me. A photograph. A billboard. There are triggers around all of us all the time. If you let your mind be open to them then you will find them. Of course, if you walk around in a daze, or with your eyes shut and your mind focused solely on yourself then the chances of coming up with a new keyword is somewhere between zero and zilch. Be awake. Be alert. Be receptive.
Sometimes I pay attention to how many words I’ve written. If I am struggling I will check the word count and force a few more, but generally-speaking I know when I’ve dribbled enough. Like right now for example. As of now I have written 607 words. That’s enough. People’s attention spans these days thanks to click and read and move on lifestyles are very limited.
In other words, if you’ve read thus far you are in an elite group. Over 3,000 people started to read this but now there are only 8 of you left. Get my point?
Lastly, we were looking at some of Olderhood material and found out that we have written and published over 900 articles. That’s a lot of dribbling. In fairness, of course I hasten to add that I am not the only dribbler. We have some wonderful writers in Olderhood.
So, between all of us we have written well over half a million words. Yup, over 500,000. In other words we have written the equivalent of 7 books. Yikes.
Which reminds me (plug, plug) that our new book, written by yours truly and the co-Founder of Olderhood Robin Trimingham will be out imminently.
It’s called The Third Journey,
published by iUniverse and Berrett-Koehler
……. and will be available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble and others.
I’ll tell you more about it next week (I’ve used up all my words for this week !!)
By Bill Storie