May 9, 2021 · 8:52 am
When I attended retirement planning seminars over the course of my career, the psychologists who provided guidance on how to mentally prepare for the transition always seemed to ask the same question: What do you want to do in retirement?
To me, the answer has always been a no-brainer: writing.
My first glimmers of self-awareness about writing came in high school and university. Of all of the assignments in a students’ life, I enjoyed writing essays and compositions the most – and the longer the better – despite the groans from my fellow classmates.
When I stepped into the career world, by some strange stroke of luck, I often ended up in work teams where my colleagues were more than happy to let me raise my hand and volunteer to write lengthy reports, business cases, user manuals and web content while others would probably rather raise their hand and volunteer for root canals.
Writing tasks made me so happy because they presented learning opportunities in an area for which I held a keen interest in becoming better and better.
I enjoyed writing for my managers and executives, as it presented a unique learning opportunity to learn and adapt to their respective writing styles. With the knowledge that I wasn’t writing for me, I was writing for them, I never took personally any comments about what I produced. In fact, after working on a few memos, I truly relished getting to a point where I could receive a request, get a few key points about what is intended in the message, and go back to my desk to draft, edit and return a product that was exactly what they wanted and in their own voice. There was no greater compliment to me than when they said “André, this is like I wrote it myself!” Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Writing
Tagged as art, artist, awareness, Calling, career, confidence, corporate, creative, creativity, know for sure, passion, retirement, stories, storytelling, voice, writer, writer's voice, Writing
October 27, 2019 · 8:45 am
As much as I try to make my home a comfortable, quiet place to devote myself to the craft of writing, there are times when things fall out of the span of my control.
Whether it is a symphony of leaf blowers, a neighbour’s dog barking for hours, another neighbour’s ailing muffler, a charming visitor to the neighbourhood who needs to turn the car alarm on and off seven times, or the apparent decision to suddenly reroute all air traffic directly above my house, auditory distractions are a fact of life.
Then add to the mix an extroverted attention-seeking cat, a ringing home phone, an empty coffee cup, a ringing doorbell, a load of laundry ready for drying, and the ding to indicate that my gluten-free banana bread is ready to come out of the oven.
When I reach into my desk drawer for a USB stick, I find a pair of old glasses that needs to be donated, I spot the case for the iPhone I carried in 2009 (that won’t fit anything today) and before I know it, I am in spring cleaning mode.
As I head back to my desk, I notice the wall I have been meaning to spackle in preparation for painting.
Moments later, I remember that the litter box needs “refreshing”.
When I finally return to my blog post, I write a few words and then take a moment to stare off into the distance between paragraphs. My mind drifts and I ask myself, “when was the last time I dusted that shelf?”
When I look in the other direction, I see Ivy the Wonder Cat’s favourite blanket and think to myself that it is probably due for a thorough washing.
At this rate, it’s a wonder that I succeed in publishing a weekly blog post. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Writing
Tagged as blog, blogger, blogging, coffee shop, creative process, creativity, distractions, focus, hotel, ideas, inspiration, quiet, silence, solitude, voice, writer, Writing, writing process
December 16, 2018 · 8:53 am
This fall, I celebrated my fifth year as a blogger with great joy (… and surprise) at having achieved this milestone.
From the beginning, I always thought of the blog as my rehearsal space to sharpen my creative writing skills, as I began the transition from full-time career #1 to full-time creative writer. The fact that many of you have joined me in that journey and encouraged me along the way has been incredibly heartwarming and a source of boundless gratitude. Thank you everyone!
I admit that some weeks it was incredibly difficult to find the time or inspiration (or both) to produce some fresh content, as well as to stay on top of my social media presence to get the word out there. But with only a few weeks off here and there, I managed to keep at it and to not give up. For that, I am incredibly proud!
When time has been in short supply, I had to focus my efforts on moving the blog forward, and not looking back. Then weeks turned into months, and months turned into years, and BOOM! Five years went by and I suddenly had a repertoire of almost 300 blog posts. How did that happen?
And that is where the fun began. When time finally permitted, I went back and read some posts from my first year. Continue reading →
Filed under 50+, Writing
Tagged as art, authentic, authenticity, author, blog, blogger, blogging, confidence, consistency, consistent, creative process, creativity, Fiction, goals, heart, joy, passion, practice, pressure, pride, proud, retirement, time, Transition, voice, writer, Writing
October 23, 2016 · 8:39 am
Last week, I was home with a cold. It wasn’t anything major, just a head cold that knocked me off my feet, gave me a pounding headache, kept me under the covers, and had me breathing through half of one nostril.
Even when my first priority is to get better, I can’t help but think that with the extra free time on my hands, it would be a great time to write. But I can’t. When I am feeling under the weather, words just don’t come.
Maybe it’s related to the fact that my oxygen supply is not at full capacity, or that my ears are affected and that I could potentially throw up at any given moment… it’s a little distracting.
But over the last 3 years of writing the blog, I have noticed that if I want to keep to a posting schedule of at least one or two works per week, I need to keep a few drafts in my back pocket for times like this.
The worst was when I was out with shingles for several weeks. I remember trying desperately to commit words to paper, but everything I wrote was disjointed, disconnected and frankly wasn’t up to my usual style or standards. Continue reading →
Filed under Humour, Inspiring, Writing
Tagged as author, blogger, blogging, cold, congestion, content, cough, funny, heal, healing, humor, humour, illness, kryptonite, migraine, posting schedule, quality content, shingles, sleep, superhero, superman, symptoms, tired, viral, voice, watery eyes, writer, writer's block, writer's voice, writers problems, Writing