The Reluctant Traveler Practices Retirement

I’m practicing retirement.

It’s a four-day weekend for me (dear reader, if you read last Sunday’s blog, you know of what I speak). The first day was Friendsgiving, between folks who’d rather not join the family—mine all live in California. SB cooked all the food, turkey, basmati rice, greens glazed with home-made bacon, arugula salad, sweet-potatoes drenched in mango guava preserves. SB did not make stuffing, pumpkin pie, or cranberry anything

And dessert, prepared by our baker-friends, was pear pie and chocolate pie.

After—and during—the sharing of several bottles of red wine, my friend—also a writer—and I talked promotion and publishing while the husbands took naps and the daughter alternated her attention between her phone and The Two Towers. For the last several years my friend has been seriously devoted to her craft. She has always shown an ability to stick, almost stubbornly, to work she believes in.

For writers who publish independently, there is a tsunami of information coming at us. I have listened and pondered this, trying to grasp where the best path lies. And when I would ever have time to follow it.

So, this four-day weekend, I practicing how I will managed my writing in a little over a year from now.

Day 2: I spent the day catching up on tasks for my upcoming publication at BVC.

Day 3: I re-designed and upgraded covers of stuff I’ve published over the years, cruising through long-neglected Smashwords stories and novels. I wrote a blog. (This one.)


Day 4 is tomorrow. Autumn and winter is a good time for indoor tasks. Spring and summer I must be outside. I probably must be outside now, and a trip to the river and is called for. Between—or during—rain showers.

My current day job is, to put it simply, demanding. I can’t say I love it, but in comparison with all the many jobs I’ve had in my long nursing career, it’s one of the best. And now retirement is a real thing. When I went to Clarion West in 1984, I was going to stop being a nurse and make my living as a writer.

Um, let’s say easier said than done. It seemed to me I would have to give up my San Francisco apartment, credit card purchasing, trips to Europe and Mexico. The big sale and the $100,000 dollar advance was not being paid out in my chosen genre of fantasy and science fiction and I was too naïve to get it. Omni magazine paid well, but Ellen rejected all my stories, kindly asking for more after each one. I wrote prolifically. My nursing degree afforded me the ability to write, attend workshops, work part time and still keep my San Francisco apartment.

Now, 30 and more years later, I am still working as a nurse in a field I respect, with travel to marvelous places thrown into the bargain. And for the past 15 of those 30-odd years I have been craving this point in my life.

But I have to practice. After working for more than 45 years, it’s a little scary to think of not leaving the house every day. And writing all day.

Independent writers must have to leave a varied life. My friend sends out a newsletter and uses a tool to reach a ton of readers, researches bundling opportunities, participates in reviews and book sales, writes a blog, and writes. A lot. She is making money for the first time in many years of trying.

Writing is her job.

When I retire, I won’t need a job, but I want to work. So I am practicing my job as writer this four-day weekend.

Now I should go on a walk, because I want to keep my good retirement health intact.



About Jill Zeller

Author of numerous novels and short stories, Jill Zeller is a Left Coast writer, 2nd generation Californian, retired registered nurse, and obsessed gardener. She lives in Oregon with her patient husband, 2 silly English mastiffs and 2 rescue cats—the silliest of all. Her works explore the boundaries of reality. Some may call it fantasy, but there are rarely swords and never elves. More to the point, she prefers to write as if myth, imagination and hallucination are as real as the chair she is sitting on as she writes this. Jill Zeller also writes under the pseudonym Hunter Morrison


The Reluctant Traveler Practices Retirement — 2 Comments

  1. Good luck.

    I love being a full time writer and organizing my day as I need to, not around a job outside the home. I love being able to close my office door and be grumpy until the deadline is met, or sitting in front of the fire on cold mornings and working my way through internet and promotional work.

    I love going out for a walk when I need to walk.

    But breaking the habit of going off to work for someone else is hard. Just remember that you are now the boss and you get to dictate to yourself the schedule that will be met.

  2. Leaving the day job behind 4 years ago was easy. Organizing my retirement time, not so much. I’m still very good at puttering. I also learned that I enjoy gardening and cooking/baking, and I’m hoping to enroll in a master gardener course in 2019 (they are offered every other year).

    I have written. But I’ve found that I like other things, too. The next birthday is #60, and I’m less inclined to put off or delay things I enjoy because , well, I’m not 30 anymore. Time is shorter, and it goes by so quickly.