Sunday, June 19, 2022

Becoming a Full-Time Writer

I became a full-time writer June 1st, 2022.

A little backstory. At the end of April, I stepped down (voluntarily! and on good terms!) from being the pastor of Faith Renewal Church of Wichita, KS. I’d been there twelve years and my wife, Julie, and I had developed many wonderful, endearing friendships. Faith Renewal is a small but delightful and spiritually healthy congregation, and we’ll miss them. We’ll stay in touch, I’m sure. Most of us are connected via social media, and the miracles of modern communication allow us to keep within ‘fingers-touch’ of one another.

While I’ve enjoyed pastoral ministry and have found it fulfilling since first becoming a pastor in 1989 (and still believe God has called me to it), I also felt it was time for a new chapter in my life. Probably for a dozen years or so, ever since the indie author revolution occurred, I’ve been wanting to give more attention to writing. Both fiction and non-fiction.

So I retired from pastoral ministry the Sunday after Easter, a fitting time for beginning a new era of our lives. Julie had already retired from her job earlier in the year. Our plan, which we’d committed to this past November (2021), was to sell our belongings, sell our house, say goodbye to Wichita, and move to Puerto Rico!

And that’s what we’ve done, although I’m getting ahead of myself. We’re calling it early retirement. Or maybe semi-retirement (since we’ll still have to work a bit). Possibly an interlude between careers and actual retirement. It’s kind of hard to describe exactly what we’re doing so I just joke and tell people we’re taking a ten-year vacation!

During the month of May, my wife and I – footloose and fancy free (read jobless!) – finished selling our belongings and then sold our Wichita home. We’d been there almost 26 years. Lots of good memories. We’ll miss our great neighbors, for sure. But again: social media, texting, phone calls, video calls, blogs. Staying connected is easy, with some intentionality.

It took us six or seven months, but we finally downsized completely the day before we vacated the house. Literally. Sold all our furniture and sold or gave away almost all our other belongings. (Now I do have some things in a 5x5 storage unit, but mostly memorabilia and books…couldn’t part with my books. So shoot me.) The process was stressful, for me at least, but we kept our eyes on the prize: Caribbean island life.

We then took about two weeks to visit some family and say goodbye and finalize plans. Being homeless and jobless, it was nice to have our relatives host us and fix us meals or take us out to dinner! (grin) That’s when I declared myself to be a full-time writer. The house was sold. We’d taken the month of May off. Even though we were still traveling, Julie was already teaching English online for some income. It was time for me to get to work!

But what to write? Well, I knew I needed to finish my Mister the Magical Cat series, but wasn’t quite ready to jump back into that world. So I dabbled here and there with some other projects. Nothing of consequence, but at least it got my writing juices flowing again.

My goal – when I started writing daily – would be six sessions of 500 words each: 3,000 words a day. That’s doable for me. Done it before. I can pound out about 500 words in 45 minutes, take a stretch break, and do another session the next hour. Sounds like a plan.

So mid-June we returned to Wichita for a few days, packed what we were taking with us into four big suitcases and four carry-ons (including our 19 year old cat, Charlie), and left for the airport at 4:30 on a Saturday morning. That is, yesterday morning, June 18th, 2022. Wow.

Charlie did wonderfully well, by the way. After grumping a bit about being stuck in his cat carrier, he settled down, content to watch the action going on around him.

After close to seventeen hours of travel, we finally arrived at our rental house in the mountains near Orocovis, Puerto Rico. Charlie was happy to finally be free to explore without a cat harness. He chattered on about something the whole time he roamed his temporary home. What a trooper!

That’s the story so far. I didn’t do any writing yesterday because of the travel. Nor any today. We worshiped with our brothers and sisters in Christ at Primera Iglesia Bautista de Orocovis this morning and spent the rest of the day unpacking and getting used to our new surroundings. Resting up.

Tomorrow, I plan to begin writing. After all, I became a full-time writer almost three weeks ago. I guess I better prove it.


Follow along each day as I post my progress in writing A Cauldron of Cats, Book 2 in my Mister the Magical Cat Series (available for pre-order now, affiliate link). You can also "Tip a Buck & Get a Book" and I'll send you Book 1 now, Cat Potion No. 9

Lyndon Perry is a speculative fiction writer living in Puerto Rico. He's a former pastor and current husband, father, coffee drinker, and cat-wrangler to Charlie, a 19 year old orange and white tabby who serves as the inspiration to Mister the Magical Cat. You can find him a variety of places online. Check out his various Linktree Locations and say hello!

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