What better time to revisit your past writings than in your retirement phase? I’ve always written. Even as an art student many years ago I preferred the written word to the visual image. I’ve carried on writing all my professional life. Mostly text books, training materials etc. associated with my specialist area. I’ve also tried consistently throughout this period to write outside my field. The metaphorical bottom drawer of my desk is full of various writing projects rejected by publishers and TV companies alike (I’ve written a lot of sitcoms in my time).
Anthony Horowitz, author and screenwriter in ‘This Much I Know’ in The Guardian, 15th September said “I tend to get stressed about everything, that is how I am. But if it all comes out on the page, well, at least it’s got a home.” Tim Adams writing in the same edition and about JD Salinger said he thought Salinger only wrote to make sense of things for himself. Sounds right to me.
Writing is important to me as a way of getting things out of my head and onto the page and as a way of ‘making sense of things’. As a diarist of some 35 years writing things down has been my saviour. I started during our first years abroad (in America) as a means of keeping sane when my wife’s brother sent me a diary as a Christmas present. Many years later I did the same thing with our New Zealand sojourn. In between I’ve diaried everything that’s happened in our lives.
I’m still writing now in the form of this blog ( a kind of diary). The blog is great you can write whatever you like and publish it whenever you wish. That doesn’t mean, of course, that anybody reads it but for now, at least, that’s OK.
The other benefit about having your own blog is that you can go back to that bottom drawer, pull out all those projects rejected by unthinking, inconsiderate, poorly informed others. When my blog is famous all those ‘others’ will be sorry, remember Decca (I think) and The Beatles, JK, Rowling and many others. The Arts are full of rejected writers, artists, musicians, playwrights etc who made zillions at a later date. Nuff said.
The first project from the bottom drawer is our adventures as a family in New Zealand in the mid 90s. This wasn’t rejected as a manuscript, simply abandoned by me when the task became too onerous. It’s recreated here and appears monthly in the form of 4 (or 5) go to New Zealand. Eventually I hope it will be a kind of free Ebook.
The next project is a series of ghost stories written a few years ago. I sent them to Radio 4 but they sent them back saying something like ghost stories in the first person didn’t work well on the radio. Seemed like a fob off to me but off to my bottom drawer they went. I said I started out as an art student and these stories come with illustrated photographic front covers. As close as I get these days to anything arty. I enjoyed the opportunity to put images with the stories. Maybe there will be some form of synergy here.
The other current project I’m putting in Ebook form is the experiences of some friends of ours who retired and went to teach in China. Every week or so our friend Gail sends us and others reports of their China experiences and thus far I’ve been publishing these reports as blogs. From now on I’m going to combine the reports as they come in into book form. So I’m not only a writer now I’m a publisher as well. Oh the power.