As I sit here at my computer on this beautiful spring morning, my thoughts are buzzing with how to make the most out of my new life as a widow. I’ve been a wife, mother, grandmother and caregiver in that order over most of my past years. Now I’ve entered a new stage of life for which I’m totally unprepared. I realize in order to weather the storm, I must be like the tree in my front yard…strong enough to bend.
Over the past eight months, I’ve been limping through the days and hours in a semi-fog. My family, including my church family, has been very supportive and caring. They helped nurture me through the immediate days of grief following the funeral and provided outlets to include me in activities which kept me from spending too many hours alone in a house that suddenly seemed too big.
When 2014 began, I decided it was time to focus on something I loved to do…write.
In the past, my writing had been a hobby. I wrote when I could find a few extra hours while working a day job and later my job as caregiver. Due to the time constraints of being a caregiver, I chose to stop submitting to the publisher who launched my “hobby” and instead turn to self-publishing. This allowed me to take as much time as needed to both write and go through the editing process with no deadlines. This was a perfect solution for my life at that stage.
Now I have the time needed to focus on turning my hobby into a business. This business can provide an extra level of income to balance my budget. I know there are other women who are in the same stage of widowhood who are looking for some way to make their life meaningful and perhaps provide income without being a greeter at a discount store or working the cash register at a fast food restaurant. Maybe you can learn from my journey by capitalizing on something you love to do and are good at. For me it is writing.
In order to treat my hobby as a business, I needed to write a mission statement and create a business plan. My plan didn’t need to be several pages long. Something like that would get buried in a drawer and i wouldn’t even look at it! I needed to look at the amount of income I wanted to bring in during the first year and the steps to take in order to make it happen. I created a one year and a five year plan. My mission statement and both of my plans are handwritten in the front of a small red journal 4-1/2″ by 6-1/2″. On the first page of the journal are my goals for 2014. This journal is small enough to carry in my purse and to sit on my desk without being intrusive. I read my mission statement and my business plans every day.
I meet with two brainstorming friends once a week for lunch and accountability. We each established yearly goals and each week we set objectives which are in line with reaching our yearly goals and record them in our journals. When we meet, we share what we’ve done during the week and set new objectives for the next week. This not only provides a platform for keeping us on track, but it provides a look back at where we are having successes and failures. In the first 2/12 months of this year, I finished the draft of the second book in my Havens Creek series. Over the next weeks, I’ll focus on the editing process and finally publish the book in May. I will have met 1/2 of my yearly goal at that point!
Thinking of the hours spent writing as a business is making me more productive and giving me something to look forward to each day. I’m not spending as much time thinking about “the way things were,” but looking forward with excitement to “the way things are.”
When my body and soul embrace this new phase of life with a feeling of happiness and joy, I know the Holy Spirit has spoken to me and I’m following God’s direction. Each day is started with devotions and prayers and as this journey of widowhood evolves, the scriptures remind me that “…with God all things are possible.”