Monday, December 14, 2015

The next 20 years


The end of the year seems a good time to think about this stuff, particularly as we are settled in a new place and expecting to be here for many years - something we've had uncertainty about for the past several years now.

So, what am I going to do with myself for the next 20 years? I am 45 now, so I still have a good 20 years before "retirement" from whatever I'm doing (and I don't intend to just nail myself into a coffin after that, but I might feel less guilty about not working). Obviously being a good wife and mother are and will always be important, but I have plenty of hours in the day to do something that gives me a sense of accomplishment and maybe earns a bit of money.

I have a couple of barriers to full time work, firstly I only intend to work during school hours, and secondly I have quite serious RSI issues that mean I can only do desk work for around three hours a day. I have tried five hours a day part-time computer work and the pain was coming back in a major way. With plenty of breaks and stretches I can comfortably do about three hours a day at a desk, plus I suppose other work not at a desk - but all the kinds of work I like are at a desk. For a while, when I had to leave my full time job due to the RSI pain 15 years ago, I thought about other types of work away from a desk and I even started a landscaping course. I was quite fun but working outside in all weather isn't really me. You many have noticed I like my home comforts! I am smart and shy, being alone at a desk suits me.

Playing computer games (and iPhone) of course also counts towards time I can spend at a desk, I have to be very careful. This weekend when we played quite a lot I could feel the burning and stiffness start in my shoulders and right hand.

Work I have done successfully since then, apart from raising two children, is writing and editing. As I said, five hours a day part time was too much, and I think it would be very hard to find an employer who would hire someone for less hours than that, so that leaves my freelance editing business. I managed to get enough work to fill my limited hours, and it was quite interesting work I think I was good at, but it didn't pay very well and often at the end of the month I would wonder if it was worth doing. I think I would have to charge quite a bit more to make it worthwhile financially, and that is tricky because the clients I want - fiction authors - often don't have a lot of money to spend on editing. Only the boring government work pays well, and that requires more hours than I can give.

What I really want to do, what I've always wanted to do my whole life, is be an author. Over the past couple of years I did finally write the first draft of an entire novel, which I am very proud of. But it still needs a lot of work before offering it to a publisher and in 2015 I barely looked at it. A lot has gone on this year in my life and I've used that as an excuse. Can I justify being an "author" at home and not earning any money if I'm not actually writing? Obviously I need to get writing again! How long do I give myself to do this before I put it to one side and find other work? 2016 to make significant progress, get it polished and offered to publishers?

I think that is the answer for now. In 2016 I will write and polish and really try to make a go of being an author. A couple of hours a day at home or in a café or library.


  1. That sounds very exciting. I hope it goes great for you!

    1. Thanks. I really want to give it my best and never have to look back and ask "why didn't I?"

  2. I hope you have good luck with your author dreams. I know it can be a hard thing to do.

    1. I think it's hard because you have to motivate yourself, you don't have a boss looking over your shoulder telling you to get off social media and back to work!