Notes from my sabbatical [2]

Tuesday 4th June 2019, England. Day 123

As I have now been back in England for just over four months, I thought it was time to gather my thoughts and let you know what is happening with my self-funded sabbatical. It has not turned out as I thought it would. 

May 2019

Let’s back track a bit to the beginning of May.

I’ve had three months of unstructured time.
I’ve been recharging my batteries.
Combined with travelling all over the UK to view universities with my son, for retreats and workshops.

I feel the need to bring more structure into my days and weeks. The primary motivator is to schedule time to work on my book draft and submission to a book publishing contest. If I stay at home to work, I end up chatting over numerous cups of tea, enticed outside by the wonderful weather, I stroll in the garden and take photos of the flowers and insects. Nothing wrong with that, but they are not moving me forward.

I need a plan.

Back to now

I made a plan, using May to take advantage of the facilities and services offered by local councils – a huge benefit to living in England. Our local libraries are a quiet place to work. There is a bus into the centre of town just 100 meters from the house. And for some exercise, the swimming pool is just 5 minutes walk from the library.

I catch the bus at 7:50. By 8:14 I am at the train station in town. A 15 minute walk brings me to a coffee shop near the library. I have an hour before the library opens to have a good strong cappuccino and write my morning pages. I discover that the coffee shop is tuned to a radio station that plays uplifting oldies at that time of the day: “Don’t go breaking my heart”, “What a night”, “More than a feeling” and many more favs. I find myself singing quietly to myself, dancing in my chair as I write and sip my coffee. Good vibes.

Then onto ‘work’ in the library until its time to catch the bus home. But I’ve underestimated how exhausting it would be, getting back into structured time, even self-imposed work. It’s not only the walking, but also the concentration and using my brain cells as well as sitting for long periods of time.

I have gotten so much done because I have not been distracted by homely pursuits and it feels good to be productive, to be making progress towards my end point.

You may have guessed from this that I have extended my sabbatical until I have submitted the book proposal in September. Which is terrifying with a capital “T” – as that will be 8 months without formal work. But it is not all about “the book”. To bring in some much needed income, I am doing some work for my old project back in South Africa and will soon be starting one day a week for my nephew and niece’s energy company. I will share more about that when I have started.

Building a platform

A big part of the work for the book proposal is building a ‘platform’, meaning I have to try and engage potential readers in my book, so that when I submit, I have a small following.
Oh. My. Word. Really??
Yup.
So, to add the the actual writing and editing of the book (because I need to send 3 chapters in with the proposal, I also have to think about social media posts, newsletters and regular mailings! It’s not the tech side of this that worries me, as I have done this before, but the time and effort that I need to put in to make this happen.
So, with a deep breath, I have started. 
At least I have started. 
Everything is set up, now all I need to do is share, share and share some more. 
And sign people up for my newsletter. 

If you have any suggestions as to how I grow my audience, I am open to hearing them! Please leave me a comment below. 
If you want to sign up to the newsletter, you can do so here and read more here

Balancing doing and being

It’s not all work, proposal and book writing though. I am having some fun. As well as watching Spring pass into early summer, you will have seen that I have been making the most of England in the summer – visiting my old stomping grounds, walking in the woods, enjoying local art, visiting formal gardens and so on. 
Oh and having cream teas – I’d forgotten how delightful these were – scones with clotted cream and fresh strawberry jam – yum!

All I need to say for the time being, is that I am balancing the doing and the being – I think. My sabbatical has transitioned from full on recovering and resting to some measure of being realistic and bringing in some money. 

At some point, I need to start looking for my own place to live (I have some ideas!), but for that I also need to earn enough to cover my outgoings.

All in good time, Debs, all in good time!

This post is part of my Transitions series.

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