What would you do, if you had 48 extra days per year to apply to... whatever you wished? Days that were free of prior commitments, to spend any way you wanted? It's equivalent to about a month and a half every year. Added up over a period of five years, it's like getting back an extra 2/3 of a year!
If you wrote an average of 500 words per day, having an additional 48 days of writing time offers the possibility of creating 240,000 more words every year. If you write 1000 words a day, you'd craft almost 500,000 more words each year than you have time for at present. If you write a chapter every week, you could write almost seven extra chapters each year. Imagine how that time might translate into extra submissions, extra money -- or just, finally, the opportunity to invest time in that novel you hope to write "when you have the time."
What would you do with 48 days? What would you do to get that 48 days?
At this point, you're probably wondering where this is going. Am I going to present a magic formula that will enable you to add the equivalent of 48 days of writing time to your year? Um, no, not exactly. What I'm going to tell you about, in this somewhat roundabout way that is avoiding getting to the point, is how I'm going to go about adding roughly 48 days of writing time to my year.
Time is the one resource that we cannot manufacture. Although we speak blithely of "making" time for this or that, we actually can't make time. We can only make choices about how we spend our time. And when there are too many choices and not enough time, eventually we reach the point of saying, "Something has to go."
I reached that point last spring. Granted, last spring was a time (as I mentioned in the previous issue) when I found myself slammed unexpectedly with a host of projects that all had to be done soon and that all required considerably more time than I anticipated. A host of other projects hence fell into the status of "backlog," and are only now slowly moving toward the finish lines. Meanwhile, still other projects -- projects that fall into the "I would really, really like to pursue this dream" category have moved ever deeper into the unplumbed depths of the "one day when I have time, hahahaha" category. So I decided that if I was ever going to go after the "dream" projects, something was going to have to give.
That something is this newsletter.
I love this newsletter. I love all of you. Part of me would like to go on publishing this newsletter forever. But that part is growing smaller, and the spark of enthusiasm for doing the same thing next year, and the year after, is growing dim.
By the end of 2015, I will have been producing this newsletter for 15 years. Fifteen years ago, launching a newsletter like this -- and maintaining a site like Writing-World.com -- was my dream. Today, I feel that this particular dream has been fulfilled, and amply so. It has been a wonderful experience, deeply rewarding, and successful beyond my wildest expectations. When I started Writing-World.com, it was with the cautious intent of seeing if it would "break even" in a year -- and now it receives nearly two million visitors annually.
And now it is time to move on to other dreams. I have been dreaming of writing a travel memoir for years -- it's time to get that started. I've written the first draft of a novel; it's time to "knuckle down" and get the second draft underway. I have another writing book I'd like to create. But one of the greatest eye-openers came when I was poking through my "current projects" folder and came across the notes that I'd begun on a story or series of stories that I'd gotten very excited about last fall, that I really really wanted to work on... and actually forgot about in the crush of spring projects.
For fifteen years, the goal of Writing-World.com and this newsletter has been to help writers achieve their dreams. My hope is that I have been successful at that goal. Now I need to start following my own advice. Imagine what I might be able to do, with 48 extra "working days" per year -- roughly the amount of time that is invested into this newsletter.
Don't worry -- Writing-World.com itself is not going anywhere. The website, which currently offers nearly 1000 articles and columns on writing -- will remain. I probably won't be adding to it much in the future -- discontinuing the newsletter means, effectively, discontinuing Writing-World.com as a market. But it will still be there, and I hope will continue to provide help and inspiration to writers from around the world for years to come.
The newsletter will continue through the December issue, and then cease. I will be transferring the mailing list to another service, at which time you will be asked to reconfirm your subscription if you'd like to remain on the list. I may still use the list from time to time to announce new books and services relating to writing (for example, I do plan to keep producing the annual Writer's Year planner - and BTW, the 2016 version is now available!), or to just keep you up to date on my doings. If you would prefer not receive such communications in the future, please just ignore the confirmation request.
And I'll still be here. I'm not "going" anywhere. I will still be available to answer questions, offer advice, and simply chat with my old friends. My e-mail will remain the same (editors"at"writing-world.com) and I will always be delighted to hear from you.
There's no easy way to say goodbye. I seriously considered trying to "hang in there" for another five years -- but then I realized that it wouldn't be any easier to say goodbye after 20 years than it is after 15. And there's that little matter of buying myself that 240 days...
So here is to happy endings and new beginnings. May they bring us all closer to our dreams!