I was going to post this in the General Writing area, but this isn't so much an issue as a personal statement. Back in my twenties, I realized that not only did I want to write, but I wanted to write a historical novel. By that time, I had read many good ones (by Michener, Uris, Wouk, Vidal) and some terrible ones (Jakes). I knew I wanted to write a good one, well researched, and so I began doing the research. But life intruded - there was a family to start and provide for, a career to be advanced. Eventually, I grew impatient - there were modern day characters aching to be written about, and so I decided to write the most modern segment of my historical while the character ideas were fresh in my mind. When I finally came up for air a few years later, I had over 400,000 words. I eventually pared that down to about 140,000 and managed to get some interest from an agent who, though she didn't ultimately take it on, gave me some very good advice in how to improve it. New ideas emerged, and as I didn't have the time to finish all my research for the historical, I decided that these, too, needed air. And so I wrote three more novels. And a play. I got interest in one of the novels - an editor asked for a full ms before backing off - but that was it. Still, I was writing, and I decided that the historical would likely have to wait until I retired. A few years ago, I changed jobs. I got off the corporate hamster wheel, shed my career ambitions and went to work for the government - regular hours, more time for a sane family life, a kind of semi-retirement compared to the pace I'd been keeping, and - voila! - more time to write. Recently, I dug out one of the novels and decided I'd missed the boat on the plot. After getting a couple of helpful pointers from a writing friend, I started reworking it. A few weeks ago, I was sent to Philadelphia for two weeks of training for my job, and walked past Independence Hall several times. Saw some of the other fine old buildings, too. Suddenly, I was having trouble concentrating on the novel I was reworking. When I came home, I started looking through my computer files to see what was left of the historical. Since I had written whatever I had written many, many computers ago, there was precious little. But there was enough to jog my memory on some of the characters, the conflicts, the story lines I had begun to devise. I went down to the basement where I keep my old writing files, and found the two notebooks, the collection of maps and the various other tidbits of history I'd gathered over the years. I tried to tell myself that, no, it's not time, yet, there's still way too much research to do, I'd be better off focusing on other writing projects. But who really knows how much time I've got? A fellow I met at training, four years younger than me, was diagnosed several months ago with some form of cancer, and he had to leave the training session early to get back for a chemo treatment (he also told me that his wife, who makes $300,000 a year, was pushing him to get back into the private sector so he could make more money in case she ever gets laid off, even though it's just the two of them. Shiver). And so I've decided that now is the time. My ideas have had thirty years to age, to ferment. And my life experience has given me the ability to see similarities in events then and now that had not occurred to me before. Moreover, the writing I've done has allowed me to work out a lot of errors and to move to (I hope) a more mature style. My goal is to retire in three years. With luck, I'll be well along by then. It's time.