My mythical work day

It has been a year and a month since I officially “retired.” At the time, I thought that being retired would give me all the time in the world to write. WRONG!!!

Life, energy and honey do’s seem to get in the way. So, here’s a typical day in the life of a retired business executive turned author. And, it doesn’t take into consideration the six months we spent being the parents to our four grandchildren.

Somewhere between 0600 and 0630 I get up. Since I don’t have to participate in early morning conference calls, and there are no deliverables or proposals to write or edit, I get up when my bladder tells me to! Once I’m up, I’m up and going back to sleep isn’t an option.

After I wake up the dogs and let them out, now that its hot, its time for the 18 month old Standard Poodle’s walk. If I don’t take him, he lets me know… “Human, don’t you know I need my walk!” We go for roughly 3.5 miles which takes about an hour.

Next up is a work out and by the time I walk over to the gym – it’s a block away – saw away on the elliptical for 50 minutes and do some other exercises, I’m out of the house for about 90 minutes. Or, if I ride my bike for 20 miles, it’s roughly an hour.

Net net, when I come out of the shower, its 0930 and I haven’t written or edited a word. Some days I skip breakfast, others I munch while I check my e-mail and by the time I launch into “writing,” its somewhere around 1000 to 1030. This is assuming of course, there aren’t errands or honey dos to complete.

If I was still working for a living, I’d be horrified that a third of the day was gone and I hadn’t done anything “productive.” Oh, I forgot, I’m retired and I control the pace and the deliverables.

Once I get to my laptop, I start editing or writing. On a good day, I can go four or five hours, usually with a break for a leisurely lunch. After about four or five hours, I need a break. I can do major editing and re-writing longer, but when I’m doing the creative stuff, I burn out after about three or four hours.

If there’s a lot of research involved, I can go longer. Sometimes, as I’ve noted before, it takes me about three or four hours just to research the context and/or environment for a scene. Little details about the temperature and humidity at the time of year or what did the street and buildings look like in 1986 are important facts that provide context. Some times, I study maps with the intensity of a cartographer!

This doesn’t include doing any marketing an promotional work! A year ago, the plan was to work a half-day, every day. So far, it hasn’t worked out that way. Since last December, I’ve done a lot less than I wanted and am struggling to get back into a sustainable rhythm and pace that gives me lots of free time and time to write. Maybe that’s a pipe dream.

Marc Liebman

July 2016