Sunday, December 28

Freedom and importance--do we need them both?

       
  So, what are your plans for 2015?

          Being on the “Yay!” side of retirement from the day job, my plans aren’t as regimented as they used to be. I get up when I want, go to bed when I want, and can change plans at the drop of a “wanna have lunch?” from Duane or a friend. Even though I have a writing schedule, it’s so loosely woven that sometimes it comes completely unthreaded by the middle of Monday morning. It is personal freedom at its most glorious.


          Sometimes all this freedom is a double-edged sword.


          Right now, I don’t have a deadline—wish I did—or even an upcoming doctor’s appointment to set my watch or the calendar on the phone by. I have hair and nail appointments, but as much as I like those luxuries of empty-nest life, they’re not life-changers. I volunteer at the school, have tasks at church that I do on a weekly or monthly basis, and go to meetings of organizations I belong to.


          Or sometimes I don’t. That’s the other side of the sword, the side that’s dull and has little notches in its edge and couldn’t cut warm butter if it ever made the effort. Anyone can do the things I do. They could when I was working, too—I know I’m not irreplaceable—but my job was mine to do; the place couldn’t be easily filled by anyone who could run a copy machine (and jam one up) and operate a stapler. My importance now is right up there with...well, the truth is, I don’t have any importance.


          It isn’t an easy realization to come to. It reminds me of my sister-in-law who mourned her children’s childhoods because her kids “no longer needed” her, and of my mother who was so often angry because even though I never meant to shut her out of my life, I probably did. In certain circumstances at least, they gained their sense of importance from what they were to other people.


          It makes me wonder if that’s what I was doing when I was such a baby over a bad review (I was—I’m not proud of it, but I was). Or when I let the lack of a deadline put me on the path to feeling “no longer needed.” Or when I feel oh-poor-me grumpy because anyone can staple or copy or change the sign in front of the church. 


          I started this by asking what your plans for 2015 are. I still want to know, so leave a comment; there might even be a prize in it for a lucky commenter. 


          I’ll tell you my plans while I’m at it, or at least some of them. I’m going to keep both sides of the blade good and sharp, and I’ll remember that I—and the things I do—are important. I hope you do the same.

28 comments:

  1. Oh, Liz,Congratulations to you on reaching that lovely time in life and for realizing the cons as well as the pros. It sounds as if you've also had some valuable insight! That's wonderful. I so remember those retirement feelings--first of luxurious freedom to do what and when I wanted *after early retirement from teaching* Then I realized what you have--with no deadlines, I basically had no schedule. I volunteered at my g/daughter's school, at church, etc.This is when I started writing, although I didn't have a particular schedule for it. But when I decided to teach again, part-time at least, then I had to organize my time. Now when that lovely time of 'retirement' comes again, I Will be prepared with schedules, at least for my writing. Now for me this years: I Will finish my medieval novella and my Regency.

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    1. Good for you, Barb. Do you enjoy teaching part time? I've thought of working away from home on a limited schedule (there's that word again), but always talk myself out of it! :-)

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  2. I am sooooo looking forward to the 'empty nest', which is eight or nine years away:) What have I got coming up this year? Two releases and a lot of writing....my next book is due out in March and I'm still trying to finish writing it. Book #4 demanded to be written first, and it's not due out until 2016. #3 is due in September, so after I finish the March book, then I need to get cracking on #3 before I can clean up #4.

    On the personal side, we're hoping to buy a house, so add packing, moving, and UNpacking in addition to the writing *clutches hair*

    Happy New Year Liz:)

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    1. Thanks, Molly--same to you. I hope you find the house you want. I love the empty nest, but it took me a while!

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  3. The past year has been crazy with three deaths and four births in the family. I haven't gotten anything accomplished. My mother is moving in with us next month. My husband was worried she'd be another distraction. I told him, she'll be my salvation - running interference and keeping me on task. My only plans for this coming year is to complete current projects, come up with new ideas and cuddle a bunch of new grand-babies in my off time.

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    1. I hope 2015 is less eventful, Sandy, and that having your mother there is a blessing. Enjoy!

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  4. Like you, I'm experiencing the double-edged sword of retirement. I love the freedom (don't think I could go back to work unless we were on the verge of starvation), but I'm having some trouble managing it. I've been retired two years, and during that time we uprooted our entire lives, moved half-way across the country, and undertook a major house remodel. That kept me plenty busy. Now that things have settled I know it's up to me to figure out how to be productive but not frantic. I know I'll get it one of these days.

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    1. What shocks me is how BUSY life is. I used to snort when retirees said they didn't know how they ever had time to work, but I'm amazed at how full--and fun--life is without a job taking center stage. You'll find that center, Alison!

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  5. I've got a new book releasing in February. There will be a whole lot of promotion going on in January and February, and then after that (and during) I'll be writing. I've got a manuscript out at a publisher right now and if it's accepted, I hope to convince them that it's the first book of a series.

    I work part-time so I still have a schedule of sorts, but I know that on my days off it's easy to stay in bed way longer than I need to. One of my resolutions is to increase my word count for the year, and I'll need a whole lot of self-discipline if I'm going to achieve that!

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    1. It's so exciting when a book is releasing! I know promo sucks, but enjoy the release anyway. Self-discipline. Yeah. Me, too. Maybe. :)

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  6. I've also been a bit of a baby over a bad review. I think we've all been there. No judgement! My plans for the year 2015 will be to 1) finish all rounds of edits for my contracts third book of the Carus Series, 2) finish and submit the last two books of the series, and 3) enjoy time with my son and husband--not that I don't already, but I think I have to do a better job of actually scheduling time where I ignore texts/calls/emails/work/writing, or even thoughts of the aforementioned. :-)
    Great post. Happy New Year!

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    1. Thanks for the support, J.C. Your plans look like good ones to me!

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  7. Still trying to handle 2014--haven't even thought about 2015, except in broad terms. I want to get the newest Women of Willow Bay book out--it's nearly there and #4 is in the works. Writing seems so hard right now, but I know it will all get better--it has to, right? Mostly, I'm looking for peace...that would be lovely.

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    1. I hope for that for you, too--it will have been hard-won, won't it? :-( Willow Bay is such a neat place. I can't wait to go back.

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  8. Ah. Beware the woman with a sharp knife. Ha ha.
    I wouldn't trade my retirement for the work place, but I do know that when you work outside of the home there is a required discipline, and you get so much done. I mean for starters you have to get out of bed. And get dressed.
    What I did even before being published was create my own office. I show up every day, even if it's just to blog or comment on blogs, or write half a page.
    For me, 2015 will start off with a bang. New release, Corsica Gate, in January. Copyedits for a new romantic suspense will arrive in mid January (if I know my editor) because I just submitted artwork suggestions etc. yesterday. I have another contemporary to rewrite/revise. I'm ready. I think.
    Maybe I'd better go sharpen my knife. ;)

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    1. Exciting things, Roben! I'm so glad for you, too. Like you, I go to the office every day, even though I'm only walking across the yard. I get dressed, too, although I don't wear shoes or makeup--working from home must have its privileges! I think "going to work" does help keep me productive.

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  9. Such exciting news I've been reading about here in the comments. The end of 2014 was slowed way down for me because my hubby had a blood-thinner induced nosebleed. We experienced, again, how fragile life is. He is laying low for two weeks. Today, I'm getting to my WIP that I wanted a certain word count by Christmas. I will make my self-imposed deadline plans and welcome two scheduled releases in the coming year. But each day I know my plans can change. God is the Master of the grand plans and schemes of life.
    Happy New Year, everyone.

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    1. Best wishes to your husband, LoRee. I think it's an important thing to not get to attached to the plans we make--God's time often differs from ours! Thanks for coming by.

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  10. Retirement sounds wonderful. Will be few more years for me. My first book with TWRP, South Seas Seduction, will be coming out sometime this spring. I'm looking forward to seeing "my baby" in print, but not the promotional stuff that comes with it.

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    1. Some of it's fun, Anita, including meeting new authors! Good luck with your release. Thanks for coming by!

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  11. I totally wasted my summer because I couldn't or wouldn't get disciplined. My hours have now dropped to six hours a day where I'm getting off at 3:15, so starting today--ta da!!--I'm going to Barnes and Noble to write right after work to get some writing in. Hopefully I'll maintain this schedule and dedication to my book :)

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    1. I hope it works, Margie! I love writing it bookstores--but I'd have to drive 38 miles to do it! :-)

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  12. I retired to take care of my mother, who had Alzheimer's and I was free and yet not free. She died a little over a year ago. Her death brought grief but also relief that her suffering and my burden, because yes, much as I loved her, it often was a burden. Now I'm live alone for the first time in my life and I love it. As far as schedule, I'm pretty self-disciplined. I get up and make my coffee and go to the computer where I write until noon. That part is almost non-negotiable though I might write more after lunch too if I feel like it. I have almost always written columns so I'm used to deadlines. I still write a column and 3 blogs as well as my books so all that demands that I don't slack off much. Incidentally, I'm here because I'm friends with Liz not because I write romances. My books are graphic and edgy and deal with difficult subjects (like incest). You gals would probably blanch if you got some of the reviews I've gotten! (But my columns have often been about politics and that's probably where I developed my thick skin.)

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    1. Believe me, Vic, our reviews get ugly, and a whole lot meaner than one would expect. We all understand it comes with the territory of writing in a largely disrespected genre and many of us develop thick skins. Just not me. :-)

      Column-writing is still my favorite "venue" and I will probably always miss it. I think that's why I'm always blogging all over the place!

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  13. Although I work/write from home, I don't have that freedom...oh, I still sleep in ;) but I can't just call up a friend to go out to have lunch. Probably because my friends live far away and it would be a drive to actually have a lunch with them. haha It does sound wonderful though. But I am constantly doing something and grabbing a lunch to eat at my desk. Each day I try to get in a little me time, though. :)

    Happy New Year!!!!

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    1. The "me" time is important, but I remember thinking it was more trouble than it was worth! It's good to have friends who are close, though most of mine are too far away to spend much time with, too.

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  14. I think you are good at starting conversations, Liz. Your transparency is always so refreshing. I don't really have anything to add as far as what I'm planning for 2015 because I'm not sure yet, and I've always been one to make resolutions. I'm not sure why I've had this change of heart. Maybe it's because 2014 and 2013 had so many wonderful surprises that I couldn't have envisioned ahead of time. That happened partly because I intentionally made choices completely differently than I had in the past, and it was marvelous. I'm wanting to find my creative groove--whatever that means. There are times when I feel kind of an intuition about what I should be doing and I want to find more of those places. Call it zen, or call it wishy-washy. I know the thought goes against everything I've been taught about goals (they must be concrete and have a deadline, right?) but I guess I'm trying something different this time, looking for more of a journey than a destination. I'm sorry for your bad review. I am fine with differences of opinion on books but there's no excuse for ever being unkind. My intent for 2015 is to be more kind.

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    1. I love that you're focusing on the journey instead of the destination--it's the fun part of most things! Thanks for coming by, Cathy. Your comments are always interesting.

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