Trying to Retire

By Carol Caverly

Carol CaverlyI’ve been in the writing business for a long time, since the late fifties, I think. It’s been a long wondrous, fascinating journey. But as the years have passed, and the business changing completely (some for the better, some for the worse) the fire in the belly has disappeared, or perhaps worn thin like a creaky joint. The book in progress has been in progress too long. The idea is still intriguing but the long days of hard work needed to complete it are not appealing. I decided the time had come to throw down the pen/pencil/keyboard and do all those other things I’ve always wanted to try.

It wasn’t easy. I mean, I couldn’t do it right now. I still had to get the third book in my mystery series onto Kindle and finish up with a big well-planned promotion before sending the aging darlings off into the ether to live or die among all the millions of other books out there. So, okay, that would be my final project.

Happy to not be sitting at my computer, I wandered into Barnes and Noble looking for one of those learn-French-the-easy-way books (one of the other things I want to do,) gathered a couple of possibles and looked for a place to sit down. As you probably know, B&N no longer has comfy chairs scattered all over the place, just a couple of wooden benches and hard chairs opposite the magazine racks. I sat in a well-worn arm chair and glanced at the racks. Directly in front of me were copies of The Writer, Writers Digest, and a Writer’ Digest Yearbook edition boldly titled Novel Writing. With a rush of nostalgia I put the French books aside and grabbed the magazines. Way back when I was a young bride on a ranch in Wyoming, a chance encounter with The Writer, which I borrowed from a friend and quickly devoured, was the beginning of my writing adventure. A life long reader, it never occurred to me that just anybody could be a writer. I thought they were a special breed. How enticing the articles were. I was snagged.

For twenty years I read every issue of The Writer and Writer’s Digest from cover to cover. The Writer was smaller then, printed on pulp paper, but very dignified. It stuck quite closely to “good” writing. Writer’s Digest was much noisier. It covered everything–fiction, poetry, articles, true confessions, westerns, greeting cards, me and Joe stories for outdoor magazines, picture books for children. I loved it all! I added books to the mixture and eventually found, built and joined the writing community that has been an important part of my life ever since.

But that was a long time ago. The discipline is gone. I don’t want to spend all that time alone staring at a computer screen. Priorities change. Now is the time for families and travel.

I selected French in 10 Minutes a Day from my pile, gasped at the price of the magazines but decided to buy them, too. For old times sake. I’m sure you know where this is going. Of course I read the magazines. Of course I found a market that sounds like a good shot for a short story in my files. Of course I found an article in the newsletter that encouraged me to respond to the call for bloggers for the RMFW blog. I’ve never written a blog post before.

So I’ve been hedging my bets a bit. Here are my new rules for retirement: I don’t have to write, but if I feel compelled…yes. No more novels (unless compelled.) Stick to shorter projects and maybe a blog here and there. And no matter what happens, I’ll never give up my writing friends.

I’m on page two of the French book.

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Carol Cavalry is the author of the Thea Barlow Wyoming mystery series, All the Old Lions, Frogskin and Muttonfat, and Dead In Hog Heaven. Though now living in Colorado Springs, Carol used her extensive background of Wyoming ranch living for the settings of her mysteries. Her books also appeared as selections of the Detective Book Club. Her latest short story was included in the anthology, Homicide Host Presents. Her books are available on Amazon with the first two also available as Kindle editions. A Kindle edition of the third will be available in November. You can learn more about Carol and her books at her website.

8 thoughts on “Trying to Retire

  1. Patricia Stoltey

    Hi Carol, and welcome to the world of blogging. Writing must be the hardest of all addictions to overcome. I contemplated dropping out a couple of times, but the resolve only lasted until the next little story idea hit.

    Reply
    1. Carol Caverly

      Hi Pat, At least I’m getting my toe wet. There must be a bit of Circe in you to have lured me into another learning curve, but maybe this will lead me into other things.

      Reply
  2. Julie Luek

    I like how you are moving writing to a different space, removing the obligation and engaging only when it truly beckons you. I actually think there are a lot of good life lessons here. Have fun with family and learning a new language (mine will be Spanish or sign language when the time comes!).

    Reply
    1. Carol Caverly

      Thanks, Julie, for the positive take on my dilemma. I find I’m much more comfortable with never say never.

      Reply
  3. Julie Kazimer

    Hi Carol, you are such an inspiration, for all your works, but for even trying to quit too, and then to have a go at French. Thank you for showing all of us there is a way out!

    Reply
    1. Carol Caverly

      Hi Julie, Love your comments! The go at French may be the end of me, but Woo-hoo, we’re going to Paris in November!

      Reply
  4. Yvonne Montgomery

    Carol, thanks for the wonderful post. I love that you’re still writing, and I’m excited you’re sharing this new phase with all of us. Tres bien!

    Reply
  5. Christine Goff

    Just back from vacation and saw this post. FYI, I tried to quit writing once, too. I just finished a 100K book, sold my backlist to a NYC e-publisher and agreed to write a sixth book in the Birdwatcher’s Mystery series. I’m on the first CD of Rosetta Stone Spanish I.

    Reply

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