I am that early retiree who travels the country
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A couple weeks ago, I asked on Twitter about what it's like to write a book. How much time does it take? Does it completely take over your life? Does it actually pay off? I wanted some folks to drop some knowledge on me.
Not many people know that I was offered a book deal a couple of years ago. I declined it at the time because I held a full-time job and had no interest in committing to something like that. I didn't really know how much time it would take to write a book, but I assumed it was a lot.
But now, I'm no longer working a full-time job. I'm retired. I'm completely through with mandatory work. And so, in theory, I could re-approach the possibility of writing a book.
After all, everybody seems to be doing it.
Question! I was offered a book deal a couple years ago but didn't take it because of the time commitment with a job. To those who have written books, does this process totally control your life when you're writing?
— Steve @ Think Save Retire (@ThinkSaveRetire) May 4, 2018
And so, I asked on Twitter how time-consuming it is. Replies to that tweet, along with a few emails and Direct Messages later, and my suspicions were confirmed. It takes a hell of a lot of time. Some publishers are more demanding than others - but in general, it'll consume your life for a while - especially the editing process.
"Don't do it for the money because most authors don't make much," someone told me. It's gotta be a labor-of-love. A passion project, so to speak.
No, there isn't a book coming
After several conversations and lots of consideration, I've come to two conclusions:
1: I have a remarkable level of respect for authors because it takes a whole fuck ton of time to write and publish a book. And,
2: There's no way I have the patience or passion to write a book. It's not happening.
But, what precipitated this question to begin with?
Let's take a step back to when my wife and I were making our way to Santa Fe, New Mexico in early May. If you don't already know, we're full-time Airstream travelers.
Driving through miles and miles of nothingness, we were listening to a podcast episode of Do You Even Blog with Grant from Millennial Money. And by the way, I love Pete's podcasting style. If you aren't a listener, become one. Now.
But anyway, the big takeaway from Grant on building a blog revolved heavily around identity". Meaning, WHO ARE YOU? What makes you different and why would anyone spend their precious time reading your blog? After all, there's a ton of blogs out there.
That prompted me to consider my own blog. Yes, this one right here.
I realized that my blog doesn't have much of an identity. I am just some 36-year-old early retiree who does side consulting work and types a whole bunch of shit into his blog.
My identity just wasn't clear. Aside from retiring at 35, there isn't anything really "unique" about this blog. After all, there are lots and lots of early retirees. And lots and lots of bloggers. And lots and lots of early retirees who blog.
So, what makes this one any different? What's unique about our situation, and how can I wrap that up into an identity for myself? What's my shtick?
I quickly reconsidered the book opportunity. Do I reach back out to that publisher to reopen the deal? Or, do I self-publish instead? Would the time spent to write a complete book contribute in some meaningful way to my identity?
Ultimately, I believe the answer is no. But, that doesn't solve my identity crisis. What makes our story different or unique?
Then, it hit me...we do travel full-time in our Airstream.
I think that's it. I'm that dude who blogs while traveling the country. After retiring from full-time work at 35. I'm not just an early retiree. There are lots of early retirees. I'm not an author. There are a lot of authors. I'm also not a public speaker. Again, lots of public speakers.
I'm a traveler. A full-time traveler. At 36 with my 33-year-old wife. We own no traditional home.
This Airstream is it.
That's kinda unique, isn't it? I think so. I think this blog might start carving a niche into the world of full-time travel while financially independent. About finding your passion without a traditional home base. About how your lifestyle drastically changes once you hit the road.
Yeah, I think that's some serious identity there.
So, I gotta ask - whether you're a blogger or not: What's your shtick?