After more years than I bothered to count, my teaching career ended in April 2016, when I officially retired.
For years I had dreamed of the day when I would sleep in every day – and finally it was here. What I hadn’t anticipated was the big question that hung over me after waking up late on the first day of retirement – ‘what do I do now?’ Not the – ‘what am I going to do today question?’ – but the – ‘what significant, meaningful thing am I going to do for the rest of my life?’ question.
Since learning had been a big part of my life working life, I figured the future would have to involve some kind of learning.
Over the years, the common thread in my life was writing.
In school I wrote stories and even the script for a puppet show. My stories were often read out to the class and I even had a story read on the radio as the winner of a story-writing competition. I loved writing!
Then there was College…
There’s nothing like the hallowed halls of learning to reign in a wild imagination. My creative writing gave way to serious reports and assignments.
As long as you could transcribe the thoughts of the philosophers and experts, you could succeed at College. We, as mere undergraduates, were not important enough for anyone to want to know what we thought.
College was no place for creative thoughts or writing – unless ‘creative excuses’ for needing an extension for an assignment counts.
And so it was for the next thirty plus years. There was no room for creativity, although the comments section of a student’s Report Card demanded a bit of creativity. How many positive ways can you say ‘Johnny is the class clown!’? Everything else was serious, factual stuff.
Relearning an old skill
So when retirement became a reality, the next phase of my life fell into place. After all the years of formal report-type writing, I was going to re-learn how to write creatively.
The website I had dabbled in a few years earlier was resurrected and my Blog was born.
Soon after retirement I was introduced to Weekend Notes – an online review site that offers incentives for writers. I wrote reviews of stores that offered something special, and restaurants and cafes that really stood out in my neighbourhood. Feedback (comments) and Editors Awards offered encouragement, but mostly I learned by being critical of my own work. I could look back on a published article and know what I could have done better.
I learn best by doing
Writing for Weekend Notes and blogging on my website, worked together to improve both. As new technology skills developed, I found I could apply them to my Weekend Notes articles. The comments from the Editors in the Weekend Notes articles, fuelled my Blogs. The more I relaxed and found my ‘pace’, the better my writing became.
Now, when I look back on earlier blogs and articles, I realise how far I have come. And when I look back on today’s writing in a few months/years time, I’ll see a bigger improvement.
As I continue to blog and write for Weekend Notes, I will continue to learn.