Normally, at least for the last month or so, I write my stories a day in advance and use Medium’s scheduler to “auto publish” my pieces. It’s a pretty neat little aspect of Medium I’m sure most of you already know about.
Yeah, I’m just a tad slow on the uptake.
Anyway, for me “auto publish” serves two purposes. First, it allows me time to find any typos, misspellings and missing words (or too many words) and helps me finesse my posts.
Second, because I still have a J.O.B. it helps me get ahead of my writing target to publish at least one article a day. In a way it allows me to “fire and forget”. Usually, about thirty minutes prior to publish, I review the post one more time, correct something I may have missed and then let it fly.
The practice has been working well for me. May not work for you, but it does for me. However, this week was a little crazy at the hustle and come Friday I didn’t have a thing written for Saturday and Sunday.
I ran out of time.
I can’t even begin to tell you how I felt Saturday morning. It was as if a cloak of dread shrouded my brain. A desperate sense of impending failure growing as each minute and hour passed. There were chores to take care of, mundane but quite necessary, tasks around the house and the yard which needed to be completed.
I had obligations and duties to perform and I tried very hard to knock them out as quickly as possible. But as I performed each task, all I could think of was the very real possibility of me not hitting the mark, not staying on course with my goal. I knew what I wanted to write, what I wanted to say and yet because of the distractions I wasn’t getting a chance to write or say it.
I got to tell ya folks, fear of failing to stay on track with my writing goal was scaring the complete shit out of me.
Now it’s two in the afternoon and I’m finally getting to talk to you folks again. Queue the music. The story line which was running in my head all day today isn’t what I’m writing about.
But it is.
I know. Trying to figure out where I’m going sometimes is like attempting to break a pinata with a pool noodle. The fact I ran out of time this week isn’t the cause of my panic and depression. It’s bigger than that. Much bigger.
I’m running out of time in life.
I wrote awhile back I had reached the ripe (over ripe depending on your perspective) old age of sixty six and was starting to draw down on those social security loans I’ve made to the government all these years. I was conflicted about it then and I still am, but as each day goes by feelings of inadequacy seem to compound.
Much like interest on all the money I loaned the government I’ll never get paid.
What I didn’t share with you folks then was my two year plan, the goals I set for myself when I hit sixty eight. See, I plan on drawing down on SSI and working at the side hustle for two more years. It’s supposed to be two solid years of wealth building. Then I plan on giving my side hustle the middle finger and tell them to shove it.
Going there each day is without doubt the most miserable thing I’m forced to do five days a week.
Oh, I’ve thought about things long and hard. I know all the bills need to be paid down or paid off. I know I will have to carry my own health and life insurance and all that jazz. It isn’t like me and the wife haven’t discussed all the ins and out ad nausea.
I ain’t that flighty. Well, maybe just a little.
But the one thing I promised myself and my wife, was that I could at least shore up our retirement with revenue from my books.
And that just hasn’t happened, and from the looks of things may not happen.
Don’t get me wrong. Both my wife and I like having a little pocket change to grease the skids, but it’s not like either one of us are looking to get Rockefeller rich or Beyonce famous. And yes, we may dream about hitting the lotto some day, but in reality we both are more grounded than that.
We don’t even buy lotto tickets. We just like to dream about what we’d do with all that money.
Don’t tell me you don’t do that sometimes.
Anyway, I just happen to be a realist (I hate being a realist by the way) and I know the life of a starving artist just ain’t me and my wife’s jam. Although we’ve faced times when we were up against the possibility of living in a cardboard box beneath an overpass, we somehow managed by the grace of God to find a way to survive.
We don’t need anything grandiose and fancy. We just want to be comfortable during our countdown to that big soiree in the heavens.
I hear they’re serving boiled crawfish and boudin twenty four seven.
The problem is at my age my count down timer probably doesn’t have as much time to tick off as yours does.
I’ve only got two years in which to build a revenue stream that will at the very least, allow my wife (and yours truly) to live a life we’ve grown accustomed to all these years. Just because we grow older I don’t think the norm should be we old farts need to be content with eating cat food on a saltine simply because we can’t afford to buy groceries.
That’s so bullshit.
But I’m running out of time.
And it’s all my damned fault. I hate to admit this, especially to all my Medium friends, but I’ve done nothing but make safe choices all my life.
Instead of writing (novels or otherwise) and sticking with it (sometimes eating cat food on saltines) I took the easy way out.
Got a job as a project manager for a tech company.
Started making some pretty good money, and turned a blind eye to writing. I sold my passions for a five figure income and then later a six figure and how the fuck do I feel about it now?
You wanna know what I saw when I was twenty six and looked in the mirror?
You wanna know what I saw for the next forty years?
A beleaguered asshole trying to make money and live the all American bullshit dream.
You wanna know what I see when I take a gander at myself in my mirror these days?
A pissed off as hell one, but yes a writer. Because it’s just this year I finally stopped deluding myself and acknowledged I’d been taking the high road all my fucking life. When all I really wanted to do was write.
What a shameful sellout I am. Sixty six fucking years old and I’ve finally realized what I want to be when I grow up. You know they always say better late than never?
I’m kicking the shit out myself right now, and as each day grows long in the tooth and dies, a little of me goes with it.
I’ve got two years.
I keep telling myself I’ve only got two years to get things right and on track. Over these next two years, I know the feelings of desperation will continue to grow if I find myself no closer to achieving my goals.
I just hope I can handle it. Hell, I just hope I can handle the decisions I’ll be forced to make if I don’t hit my goal.
So look folks. I don’t care if your twenty six or sixty six or anywhere in between, life is a bullshit taskmaster or mistress, and it will beat you down to your knees every fucking chance it gets. The trick is never, never sell out and take the easy way out.
If you’re a writer, then write for God’s sake, and keep writing. It’s a good chance you’re going to have enough time to make all the mistakes you need to make to turn yourself into a good writer. A writer who actually makes money writing.
For me, I have to make a whole lot of mistakes to get better, and I don’t have a lot of time to make them. Yes, it’s a regret I have, and it will stick with me for the rest of my life. Which at my age is just a bit down the road.
Because I’m running out of time.
Let’s keep in touch: firstname.lastname@example.org