When seniors set out to fulfill their dream of writing a book, the majority choose creating a memoir. But that’s only one of the many possibilities when you write in your retirement. For example after years of honing your expertise in a business or profession, you are highly qualified to produce a how-to related to some aspect of your career field.
Many seniors are highly skilled at their favorite hobby. These can range from stamp collecting to expertise in special periods of history, from sports to music and much more. An excellent example is Daniel Leeson, an IBM retiree living on the West Coast. He is an outstanding clarinet player with many years of experience and a devotee of the great classical composer Mozart.
One the 81% of mature Americans that the Gallup pollsters report dream of publishing a book, Leeson had the choice of writing about his technical experiences or about music, his beloved pastime. He chose to write about Mozart and his musical output, and has completed three highly recognized, five star books on the subject.
Memoir Is Number One
There are a number of reasons why the memoir is often the first choice of many retirees. It can serve as a guide to the author’s offspring, demonstrating those characteristics and standards that the author believes should be essential in the lives of his/her heirs.
Perhaps the author wishes to establish a lasting memorial of his/her achievements to pass on to future generations. Instead of writing solely about themselves, other memoirists focus on the family, its history and the role its members played in the society of their generation.
The memoir can concentrate on a specific incident in the author’s life, explaining in detail its effect on him/her and on the family, friends and/or professional contacts who are either parties to the event or simply bystanders. Conversely, the author may find it preferable to trace many years of happenings that shaped his/her life.
Calling on Your Expertise
The knowledge you have accumulated during your career can provide insight that will prove helpful to those who succeed you following your retirement. Regardless of the type of work you did, you can pass on tips and guidance gathered during those many years. Whether you served as a lofty brain surgeon, a plumber, a retailer, a landscaper or a skilled artisan, there will always be people who can benefit from your experience.
Providing information in a how-to book is relatively easy. The content that you provide is far more important and certainly more relevant to the reader than the skill with which you present it. You certainly possess the vocabulary of the vocation and you undoubtedly can place words on a page in a way that makes sense. With some care for grammar and spelling, you should be able to produce a meaningful book.
When you consider writing a how-to, think about the set of directions you receive when you purchase an item that must be assembled. You are told to spread out the parts and begin assembling them one by one, gradually constructing the finished product. Follow that pattern when assembling your book.
Plan out what you want to relate. Break the subject down into its individual components. Write each on paper or on your computer. Meld the segments into a logical pattern that makes it possible for your reader to follow easily.
Step-by-step, lead the reader through each of these components as they build upon one another until your entire thesis has been presented and understood. That same approach can be used effectively when you write about your favorite pastime.
Perhaps you’d prefer to explore a subject in a broader way. For example, instead of writing about how to perform a successful biopsy of the brain, you choose to write on the development of neurosurgery over the past century.
If you are a retired plumber, you might not want to write on how best to replace a leaky toilet or some similar task. Instead you choose to write on the history of the water closet from its beginnings in ancient Greece to the modern day conservation models.
There is no end to the variety of topics you can choose or to the approach you select in writing about them. But stop dreaming. Set a regular schedule for your writing and sit down at your computer. You will be amazed at how quickly you complete the task and finally fulfill that dream of becoming a published author.