Monday, September 2, 2013

Labor Day and Writers



When I was a Spanish teacher many years ago, Labor Day meant my summer vacation was over and I’d be returning to work. I’d be getting up early the next day —Tuesday morning – to attend a school-wide meeting, and then I’d get my room in order. The kids would be coming in on Wednesday. New students and new classes. No matter how many years I taught, I had butterflies in my stomach that first day of school.

I’m long retired from teaching and subbing, but I’ve never retired from writing. We writers continue to write well past retirement age. When we finally stop, it’s usually for health-related reasons and not because we've hit a certain birthday.

We writers keep odd hours. Some of us write well into the night. I find I’m most productive in the late afternoon. We write on weekends when others are playing golf or tennis. We write on vacations if we have deadlines or need to get edits in to our publishers.

Do writers retire? I know someone who did but began a new book a few years later. I expect to keep on writing indefinitely, until my sentences no longer make sense.

As for Labor Day being a holiday from work, I expect I’ll be writing at least an hour or so today.

What about you?

Are you writing this Labor Day?
How many more years do you plan to write?
Would you continue to write if your last project turned into a best seller?
Leave a comment and share your thoughts.

13 comments:

Jacqueline Seewald said...

Hi, Marilyn,

Like you I was a teacher for many years and looked at the day after Labor Day as the start of my work year.

However, as I writer I work every single day starting early in the morning. But I can only work for so many hours before I need to deal with other life essentials.

Kathleen Kaska said...

This is a great reminder for me. I retired from teaching, too, four years ago. Just last week, I decided to stop setting my alarm (old habits are hard to break). I loved teaching and I loved the beginning of each school year, but I love making my own writing schedule even more. For me, everyday is a weekend and everyday is a Labor Day and everyday I write whenever and wherever I want. Thanks, Marilyn!

Marilyn Meredith a.k.a. F. M. Meredith said...

Yep, I'm laboring (labor of love) this labor day.

The other Marilyn

Claire said...

I'll be working on a set of questions for my Beta readers and then may tackle the next part of my short story in progress. All in all, I have a good writing day planned for this rainy Labor Day.

Patricia Gligor said...

Great post, Marilyn.
Since the beginning of the year, I've worked every morning seven days a week on "Desperate Deeds," the third novel in my Malone mystery series and I plan to send it to my publisher by the end of this month.
Last week, I finally took a much needed vacation, determined to "walk away" from my novel so that I could have a fresh perspective. And I did. I didn't touch a computer the whole time I was gone but I still found myself writing "in my head." Going over various aspects of my book. So, in answer to your question, no, I don't plan to ever stop writing. I don't think I could. :)

Palmaltas said...

I write every day although not always on my current WIP. And I hope to be writing for as long as I live. Too many stories and ideas float around in my head and are begging to come out. I may need another lifetime!

pibroch47 said...

I'm an unretired teacher, so the butterflies are returning just about when the monarchs are leaving. If I can bring myself to retire from teaching, a big "if", I will be able to write daily during the school year. So far, I often am too drained at the end of a day to even stay awake. I teach at a school for kids with learning differences, very rewarding but very exhausting. Once I get to focus on writing, I see no reason to stop. If one of my books brought me riches, that would simply allow me to travel for ideas.

Marilyn Levinson said...

Thanks, Everyone, for sharing your thoughts. Claire, questions, marketing, and writing blogs are all part of the writing we do. Like Pat, I often write in my head. Usually when I'm in the shower or going to sleep. A writer's work is never done!

Jana Richards said...

Yes, I'm writing today, on Labour Day. I worked on a newsletter, and later today I'm working on a proposal for a series for my editor.

Like you, I don't intend to stop until I can no longer write coherent sentences. I think if I wrote a best seller, that would make me want to write even more. I'd want to continue the streak and see if I could do even better!

jolysebarnett.com said...

I'm writing today and try to at least five days a week, if not more. When I can't write, I'm often plotting in notebooks, interviewing characters in my head, or asking "what ifs" about my story. I love writing and have no plan to ever retire.

marja said...

And when we're not writing, we're looking for inspiration, things to write about. Yes, I'm writing today. Excellent post, Marilyn!
Marja McGraw

Marilyn Levinson said...

Jana, Jolyse, and Marja,
Thanks for stopping by and leaving your comments. (I snuck away for a few hours to visit with friends.) I agree--we're always at work because writing is our way of life.
Marja, thanks for the compliment. i especially value it coming from you.

Mar Preston said...

I would probably continue to write even if my last mystery weren't a best seller.