August 31st I retired from my day job as a full-time information technology professional. Amazing coworkers, an ever-evolving workplace that had more changes in my last three years than I had experienced in the previous forty-five years combined, and me, the baby-boomer, thriving with a Millennial skillset working as a Salesforce admin and data integrity analyst filled my last few years.
So … I transitioned to a rocking chair with a warm plaid blanket and shuffleboard at the senior center. Hold it; I did no such thing. Instead, I took off Friday, September 1 through Labor Day Monday, September 4, and then started a new job on Tuesday, September 5 as a full-time writer.
No, writing isn’t my “retirement job.” It is my job.
Writing isn’t something I always wanted to do. To the contrary, I have been writing the 1970s. I had been selling my work and publishing regularly since my first professional writing sale in September 1981.
Since the first fall of the Reagan Revolution, I dreamed of someday transitioning to writing full-time. Through the 1980s 1990s, and 2000s I wrote and sold dozens of magazine and trade journal articles to Christian publications with names like Deacon Magazine, Church Leadership Magazine, Discipleship Training Magazine, Baptist Program, Baptist Standard, and Sunday School Leader Magazine. Weekly newsletter and newspaper columns, as well as secular publications like Bewildering Stories, Beyond Imagination, Poetry & Prose Magazine, The Dead Mule School of Southern Literature, and scholarly journals with limited circulations, also house my thoughts and essays.
By 1997 I was writing online on my Geocities website and had moved on to LiveJournal May 1999. In June 2003 I started blogging using WordPress. https://Jimmiekepler.com, https://prayersforthechronicallyill.org, and https://keplersreviews.wordpress.com are my primary places I blog. Over the years I have also written for several blogs and websites. Just Google my name, and you will find more than you ever wanted to know.
I started writing and publishing books in the last ten years. I am the author of the books Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill, The Rebuilder, Miss Sarah’s Secret: A Story of Betrayal and Redemption in Texas, Miracle at the Gibson Farm: A Christmas Story, Charlie’s Bells: A Short Story Anthology, The Cup, The Paintings, and Gone Electric: A Poetry Collection. Google the title and my name and you will find out more about them as well as where you can buy the books.
So now I write. Monday through Thursday morning I get up and go to my favorite coffee house before sunrise. While there I usually write about three hours. Next, I walk for forty-five minutes to an hour before returning home. I have lunch around eleven thirty. I’ll do household chores like dishes and laundry.
Next, I will either read or study. I sometimes attend webinars in the afternoon as well. I do the business of writing tasks and some marketing in the midafternoon. By three-thirty, I am back to walking to complete getting my 10,000 steps for the day.
Tuesdays this fall I attended a grief workshop. My father passed away last summer. The grief counseling workshop has helped me. Some Wednesday evenings I attend church. On other Wednesday’s I visit my writer’s group at night.
Several Wednesday’s a month I have lunch with my best guy friend. Friday morning I start with attending Men’s Bible Study at my church at six thirty in the morning and then write.
On Saturday mornings I attend a Men’s Bible Fellowship coffee where we solve all the world’s problems. On Sunday’s I go the church and Bible Fellowship Class with my wife. Sunday afternoons are blocked off for lunch with her and anything she wants to do.
How is the writing going? I am glad you asked. Since the first of September, I finished writing “Thy Will Be Done: 60 Prayers for the Chronically Ill.” I came out in print and Kindle versions November 1. I am working on a large print version of the book as well as a sequel “In Jesus Name: 60 More Prayers for the Chronically Ill.” February 1, 2018, will be its release date. I also am writing another fiction book under a pen name. It will be out in early 2018.
You won’t find a rocking chair with a warm plaid blanket and shuffleboard at the senior center in my future. I have too many stories to tell. Besides, I am finally living my dream as a full-time writer.