Writing Before Retiring
November 3, 2007
Intended Readers / Audience: Anybody
Today is November 3, 2007; 10:00 pm.
I am in Anilao, Batangas.
I have decided to start a writing project whose goal is to share my experiences and my insights in at least three fields, which correspond to the three master degrees that I obtained after graduating from medical school in 1974, namely hospital administration (master in hospital administration obtained in 1991); medical education (master in health profession education obtained in 1993); and general surgery (master of science in general surgery obtained in 1997).
I am now 58 years old going 59 in January 31, 2008. I have only 6 years to go starting 2008 before the Philippine government’s mandatory retirement age of 65. I am currently a part-time permanent employee of two government hospitals, namely: Philippine General Hospital and Ospital ng Maynila Medical Center. In 6 years time, whether I like it or not, I have to get off from these two hospitals. I am using age 65 as a reference standard for the retirement age.
A few months back, I told myself as well as some of my acquaintances that if I have to write and share experiences on these three fields, it should be before my official retirement age, while I am still somehow active in practice. My thinking is that for one to be credible in giving “currently useful” advices, particularly in the fields where the information and knowledge are never considered absolute, permanent, and static and where new information and knowledge are being added at a fast pace, he / she must still be actively practicing and up to date. If I start writing after my retirement age, I will feel insecure in what I will advice because during this time, even if I want to, I may not be able to catch up with the fast pace of knowledge evolution. Just as people tend to be attracted to “current” publications, I feel writing now, 6 years before I retire, while I am still somehow active in practice and can still monitor changes in the information mill, will make me get more attention from my intended readers and audience. I like to assume and hope that the perception of my targeted readers will be that at this time, I, as the author, have accumulated enough experiences and insight to share and that whatever I share will be “current”. Just as books need to be edited at planned intervals to maintain “currency” and attractiveness, my writings 6 years before my retirement will have a greater chance of being currently relevant and, therefore, more readership.
If my goal is to share experiences and my insights, my writing project can come in two forms. One form is writing a book. Another form is writing a journal or log. I have written books and manuals before. I find the task taxing and take a long time to complete. I have experience with web log (blog) and journals or logs published in websites and shared through emails. Since my writing will be in three fields, not just one; since I will be juggling from one field to another in a short time interval (say daily, biweekly, weekly, once every 2 weeks, or every month being the longest interval); since in writing a book, one has to focus on one field for at least a year or so, which I cannot do at present, as I am still practicing the three fields every day and simultaneously ; I have decided to start with the writing of journals or logs. I intend to disseminate my logs through emails (as this is most active and easiest way of sharing) to my present students, former students, colleagues, and anybody interested in my experiences and insights in the fields of hospital administration, medical education, and general surgery. Six years, I believe, is a good lead time, long enough for me to write everything (at least 65 advices per field) that I have to write, before I retire at age 65.
Although I have decided to write logs starting November 4, 2007, I will keep open the option to write books. I may do this before my age 65 if I have time. I will most likely be compiling or consolidating the logs into a book after my retirement.
In terms of priority for my logs, I will start with hospital administration, then general surgery, and then medical education.
Thus, the first log that I will make will be on hospital administration.
Writing Before Retiring
Key Point / Advice (November 3, 2007):
If you have to write to share your experience and insights as part of your planned legacy (contribution to the knowledge or learning resources in your field), do it before you retire (say 6 years before you retire). Chances are whatever you write will be currently useful, therefore, more attractive and have greater readership, the ultimate impact you want for your time and efforts.