Back in the good old days (?) when I was employed (ugh!), I used the end of the year as a time to relax and rejuvenate. In other words, I ‘shut down’ to give me a mental and physical break. In the consulting world, if client decisions weren’t made by the second Friday after Thanksgiving, they weren’t going to be made until sometime into the middle of January.

The slow-down gave me time to reflect and plot and plan for the next year. It was rare that I didn’t have what I called, ‘line of sight’ to most of my revenue quota by the time the end of the year holidays rolled around.

The end of year holidays was also a time to look back and be thankful for what I had accomplished and the family around me. So what’s different this year? I’m retired so technically, there’s no pressure from work. You may laugh because writers write, no matter what time of year.  The internal compulsion is always there, driving you to put something down on paper.

My mind keeps going back to the Lone Star Book Fair in downtown Dallas. It was slow, and several times, homeless people wandered into the tent and stopped by my booth. How or why life brought them to my table is not germane, but their appearance rammed home the point of how fortunate I am. Since then, what’s odd is that at least once a week I think about these people and the conversations I had with them.

Talking with these homeless people increased the pressure on me that comes from within because every day I can hear the clock ticking. I’m seventy-two and the actuarial tables suggest that based on my health and lifestyle, I should live until I’m eighty-three or so. You do the math, that’s only eleven more years and is very sobering.

I have so many more books I want to write and there’s so little time. The end could come any minute or I could live into my nineties. An extra ten years would be wonderful as long as I don’t come down with dementia or Alzheimer’s. I’m not trying to be morbid, but I can feel the pressure and it causes mental stress.

Over the past few days, I came up with another book idea out of my normal genre. After doing a little research and finding no novels with the same context, I think the plot would make a good book. More in a later blog if I decide to write it.

My point is that now, including this latest one, there are now nine – eight novels and one non-fiction – books on the ‘to write’ list!!!  Egads!!! All have working titles, all have plot outlines of one degree or the other and I want to write them all.

So that’s where the pressure is coming from and despite it, I am trying to take a break from writing, but it is hard. I can hear the clock go tick-tock, tick-tock. It is hard to ignore. When the New Year begins, it will be time for me to get back to work, maybe before!

Marc Liebman

December 2017