It’s particularly complicated when you’ve been a self-employed writer for thirty years.
I won’t even pretend to think consistently about retiring. There are now days when I look at the keyboard – take a deep breath and wonder what in hell I’m doing sitting here. And then there are days when the words run hot and flow effortlessly.
But those effortless days are becoming further and further apart. And that is a problem I’m dealing with right now.
I Usually Start My Day With Affirmations
I did some research on affirmations and whether they worked (or not) and the bottom line was that if they helped you focus on small, measurable goals, they worked. If you affirmed pie-in-the-sky, they didn’t.
When I moved away from hitting specific sales numbers, to my new retirement goal of “having fun with what I was doing,” it didn’t take long for a great many questions to pop up in my morning notes to myself.
The graphic above pretty much sums that up. After beginning to ask that question, I got to the “too many days in a row,” very quickly
Would I write about gardening every day? Do people really care about that or are they simply looking for free advice? (the stats say ‘free advice’ btw.) 😉
Would I make videos? C’mon, let’s get serious about this – that’s a lot of work for very little economic or creative reward.
So I Changed My Affirmation Last Week
My morning notes now include, “I am a creative storyteller enjoying myself every day.”
It’s really simple. At the end of every day, I ask myself, “Did I have fun today?”
- Did I have fun rebuilding a garden website?
- Did I have fun doing the taxes?
- Did I have fun making a video?
- Did I have fun building a stone wall?
- Did I enjoy myself venting on this website
- Did I have fun telling my grandkids a story and videotaping it?
- Did I have fun writing a short story in one of my other writing adventures?
I’m sure you get the idea. I now question every bit of the time I spend in my office or outside. Was that fun? And if the answer is “no,” then I need to take a look at it.
For the record, taxes and accounting aren’t high on my list – in fact somewhere near the bottom. 😉
Garden Writing Results
Surprisingly, I quickly found the gardening website wasn’t much higher. In this day of instant experts, old-fashioned advice that really works isn’t that well received. (If I have to see one more popular Facebook post about how Epsom Salts are the miracle cure for the garden…) Or, it’s not sexy enough to get the traffic and attention it needs to thrive.
I ran an economic analysis of the garden website. How much income did it generate and how many hours of my time would it pay for? Let’s say it wasn’t pretty.
Which begged the questions, “Why am I rebuilding and improving the garden site? Why make videos? Why…
Am I really having that much fun doing this?
Yes, there are people who support me by purchasing ebooks but on the whole, the website doesn’t generate those sales compared to advertising on the Amazon platform.
To be perfectly honest, rebuilding, improving and adding new information to the gardening website just isn’t a lot of fun any more.
What’s The Point To Doing This Exercise?
Every day I do this exercise brings me closer to understanding what turns my creative juices on. What interests me? What do I want to spend time doing in whatever time I have left?
I note nothing focuses your attention like living through a pandemic and understanding life is both short and sweet.
This means adding posts, improving and upgrading the garden website has been downgraded on my creative list.
It means building my stone wall and sharpening my stone carving chisels just became more important.
And it means the answer to the question isn’t carved in stone and it too will change over time.
It really means I’ll continue to ask myself the question every day.
And you, if today were the last day of your life, what would you do?