I know this is easier said than done. I’m now 4 years into Movin’ On from full-time employment. I didn’t make many plans, but I did set some firm guide rails of what my future would look like. One of the biggest, call it a master guide rail, was that I wanted flexibility in spending my time. I wanted to have my ‘time well wasted’ scheduled as needed. I could handle some ebb and flow to the demands on my time, but I needed to see an exit strategy from being overwhelmed. I knew that could be a danger for me.
Recently I’ve started to write a stage play. I never saw that one coming. I was getting feedback on the Blogs from the Writer In Residence (WIR) at our local library. In passing, she mentioned she wrote stage plays. Oh, I thought, that sounds interesting. Having been doing social work for most of my life, I believed that I might have a good ear for dialogue. A script for a stage play seemed like a good place to test that out. But I knew it could be a time-swallowing dark hole that I wanted to avoid.
So I decided to investigate before really jumping in. I started reading a beginner’s book that the WIR recommended. I worked my way through the book and immensely enjoyed the learning. It did take me a while, but I paced myself to keep the fun factor high. I knew I wanted to try to write a stage play. So my guide rails were getting created.
First, I would “try.” My exit strategy allowed me to stop if I wasn’t enjoying it. I decided to give myself 3 years to finish, then 2 more years to try and get it produced for the Edmonton Fringe Festival. This is the second-largest Fringe Festival in the world, after Edinburgh.
I thought twice about a 5-year time frame. I decided that was good for me. I didn’t really know what I was doing. I had a big learning curve, and I needed it to stay fun.
I soon learned that there was a unique way to format scripts. My word processing program worked, but it drained the joy. I eventually found an app that did all that tedious formatting automatically.
I schedule playwriting time regularly but confess I write irregularly. My rules. My changes! Yet, I am still making progress and learning a great deal.
So please give this a bit of a think. Think of something you could be good at and care about. It might be something you may not have the time for. Challenge yourself to do something but ‘only do as much as you can handle.’ It can be as simple as writing more letters in support of causes you care about. The guide rails you set up, in the beginning, should leave you confident you can maintain your interest, engagement and have fun.
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