I haven’t exactly declared that Hazel Becker Editing & Publishing Services is open for business again. However, I have agreed to do a project for a neighbor and she has agreed to pay me for doing it.
I’m not sure what this means! I love being retired, and I really don’t want to change that. I’ve had no problem filling up my time with volunteer work-like things (like maintaining Kehila Chadasha’s website, which by itself could be a half-time job if I would let it!) and reading. I still work out, one way or another, every weekday and try to do active things on the weekend.
But when a neighbor whom I did not know put a notice on the Chevy Chase Listserv looking for someone to help her scan some family photos and arrange them into a book along with text she will provide, I answered and gave her a low-ball price. We’ve met twice, and I have just delivered a contract for her to sign.
I will learn some new publishing skills. I haven’t produced my own files to send to a publisher in more than 10 years, and the whole printing/publishing scene is different now. I hope I won’t have to invest all my earnings from this project in new software that I may not use very much – though I certainly would enjoy learning to use the software. But my first and primary learning task will be to find out what resources are available for having color photo books printed and what kind of files are needed. I’ve done investigations like this for my entire professional career, and I always enjoy the process.
I might even enjoy that part of the project, and learning new software, more than actually doing the work. I’m not a natural designer (ask my sisters!). But I’ve been producing publication layouts and touching up photographs for a long time. I’ll muddle through and hope I can muster up enough visual creativity to please the client.
I’m not spending a lot of time pondering the bigger meaning of agreeing to go “back to work,” even on this limited basis. For the moment, I’ll just take it as a good sign for my mental and emotional health.
This first project will give me the opportunity to see if I can work again without letting it add any stress to my retirement. That’s the goal. Wish me luck!