What might the idea of “retirement” look like to writers — or artists of any sort, for that matter? As a writer, do you think of a day when you might quit writing? I mean really quit all together?
I think about this every time I meet old friends I haven’t seen for awhile. I ran onto some people we (my wife and I) used to know from a church where we were members for awhile. They asked what I “was doing” now? I knew of course that they were really asking, “Where are you working now?” When I told them I do freelance writing and editing, and that most of my writing nowadays is on the Internet, they reacted as though I was telling them I commuted daily to Mars where I spent hours tweaking Martians’ noses. There was a mixture of incredulity and total incomprehension about the meaning of “writing on the Internet,” and they didn’t get it at all.
If I had said, “Oh, I’m selling life insurance now,” they would have understood. (I actually tried that briefly and hated it immediately.) We all have some understanding of “selling” and of “life insurance.” But most non-writers really don’t think of writing as a “real” career unless they know you have a best-seller out. And many people have no idea of how one writes on the Internet.
So I finally just said, “Well, my wife and I both took early Social Security and now we supplement that with the odd writing or editing when we can.” They seemed to get it, then.
But that got me thinking about the whole issue of writers and retirement. Personally, as long as I can string words together and convince myself they make some sort of sense, and as long as my aging fingers will maneuver well enough to hit the keyboard, I’ll never retire from writing.
Come to think of it, there’s even some really great software out there that’ll let me dictate my writing and keyboard it for me.
Retirement? Nah, not likely.