In the nearly two-and-a-half years since I retired, I have simplified my life immensely. My obligations are few. To family (mostly only my in-laws) and friends (who seem to leave me alone quite a lot, which is fine…I’m not the kind of personality sought out by many; just mostly tolerated), and my wife.
My writing is my center. Surrounding it are reading, playing guitar and exercising to maintain my health. I’ve written three books since I retired, edited another two older manuscripts, and recently completed the draft of my seventh work of fiction, a novel entitled The Unabridged Songwriter, which should be published in about a week or two. I self-publish, or indie publish as some want to say, because I’m not concerned with my writing making me a great deal of money or with garnering me a hefty dose of fame. I simply love to write, to tell stories I feel have value that might provide a reader with insight and entertainment. I believe I am a talented writer, but also suffer (like most writers, I suppose) doubts about my abilities and accomplishments. When I complete a manuscript, I encounter a moment of relief soon followed by another moment of worry that the novel is lackluster, substandard, and let’s face it…bad. The first step of the editing process is a re-read of the manuscript, during which I am at times wonderfully amazed at how good some of my writing is, as well as recognition that certain passages failed and need to be reworked.
As the manuscript is being scrutinized by my beautiful and honest in-house editor (my intelligent, well-read and critical wife), I customarily avoid working on the next project, preferring instead to slice away at the backlog of books to-be-read (which now numbers more than 130!). As I finish an author’s novel, I register it on Goodreads and send a short note to the author, thanking them for the reading experience. That small gesture has launched a few online friendships that I now value very highly. Most authors reply to my emails, and the best replies are those where the recipient thanks me for making their day. That’s an even trade, since their books often make my day.
I’m considering two new projects. The respective titles are: In Search of the Perfect Stranger and Summers on the Nebraska Shore. Very different books from one another and I’m not certain which I will start first. But I know now the writing process will benefit me more than any reader can understand, perhaps even imagine. Writing can be at best such a personal journey of self-discovery, and I treasure it.
Look for The Unabridged Songwriter soon. I’ll post a reminder a few days before it’s available. And thanks to all my readers…you make my day, too.