I started writing out of necessity. I was mentally messed up and really needed an escape. It all started with a few notes on the back of an envelope, then grew into writing sessions on my computer that lasted for hours. Writing was helping me deal with my stress, so I just kept going and found it easy to retell my experiences as short stories. The notes and stories helped me to reflect, they weren’t originally meant as blog posts, but after about 7 days I had a collection of material that I thought might be interesting to share.
Getting from a few notes to several hours of writing each day took about one week. In that time my mood went from the lowest in my life, to my usual positive upbeat self. I’d never been able to write this much material before and still have ideas for more. It turned out writing about myself was easy if I could do it anonymously. I could skip between story ideas and easily come back to finish them off because they were real experiences.
Years ago I had tried to write content for a blog, but had become too self conscious. The content was ok, but it had nothing that was special, nothing unique to me. I was always too afraid of how the content would affect my career or maybe even my personal life. Writing anonymously meant I could share my experiences and not hide my defects, which made the stories worth telling.
The early notes focused on my fears of running out of money. I don’t know why I wrote them down, but they seemed to start helping me become less afraid. My DIY form of therapy seemed to have started on its own and was working. As my mood became lighter the notes turned into stories about my life. They were a way to reflect on my own experiences and ideas, like I used to do with trusted colleagues in my working life. Some story ideas started as one line placeholders, or bullet points to expand on later. The writing was pretty rough, but recounted real events and my honest reflections. I wanted to tell my story and let the reader decide how they felt about it.
My goal was to write whenever I felt like sharing a story or idea, with no plan to reach a word count. The writing naturally turned into sessions that would last for several hours, stopping only for lunch or urgent errands. I usually wrote content for several stories in one session, starting with one story, then switching to a completely different one when I felt like it.
In the beginning the writing sessions started when I felt like writing. I would just grab my small laptop and start typing. These sessions seemed to happen a lot throughout the day, and I began looking forward to them. They eventually turned into a weekday morning routine where I would sit outside and write in the sun. I would get my son to school, walking my dog, then use my spare time to review or write about whatever was on my mind. This would last until I was covered in shade, which usually also signaled time for lunch.
Writing had become my favorite hobby. When my mood was down writing made me feel better, but when I started feeling better I needed another reason to write. The idea of a blog made some sense when I started thinking my stories might help other people. I would be great if that were the only reason, but I also needed to start working on something again to keep myself busy.
Joe retired in his mid-thirties to spend more time with his young family. He started this blog to share his story, help others plan their path to retirement, and enjoy retired life.
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