We are three weeks in to a month long lockdown here in England, with rumours it might go on for longer, and that we may be given five days to socialise over Christmas which would need to be offset by twenty-five days of lockdown in January. I sympathise with anyone who has strong feelings about it. For me personally, I’m pretty easy going about it. We have planned to go to my mum’s for Christmas Day and then stay at my husband’s mum’s for a few days. However, even if restrictions are lifted over Christmas, I will say to my mum that if she prefers us not to come, and to spend Christmas with a less risky friend, rather than my husband and I who both work in care homes, that is fine. In that case we would offer to work an early shift at work to allow people with kids to have some of the day off. I don’t really mind about being locked down for January either.
That said, I have felt very restless, particularly at the beginning of this lockdown, and am now treating it as an opportunity, or a lesson, in practicing patience and being here now. In fact ever since we’ve come back from our travels I’ve been thinking about going somewhere else. As my husband said, maybe what we need to do is just accept where we are and learn to enjoy that, before anything else will become possible.
Living on the boat in Autumn is good for that; the bright fresh walks in the countryside, the cosy feeling of the wood burner, the store of logs and kindling and spare gas bottle just delivered by the fuel boat yesterday. We’ve maintained most of our healthy living programme from September. I made someone laugh at work the other day when I said that the worst thing I’d done since August was eat two packets of crisps (potato chips.) Cooking from scratch is another great way to appreciate the moment and feel grounded.
My book: I submitted my book to five agents, which I found using Jericho Writer’s agent match search facility. I had some interest from one, a rejection from another, and am still waiting to hear from the others. According to this great article by Zadie Smith, in an ideal world you’d put aside your book for a year, if not, three months, before editing. My plan is to resist any urge to do anything until 23rd January or afterwards. That will be three months since I last looked at my book. Then I will edit again and get the word count down- it’s too long and that may be off putting, and after leaving it I will hopefully see where it can be cut and see things which need doing much more easily.
Upwork: I’ve begun a foray into writing for money. Upwork is very easy to get set up on, and scrolling through the constantly updating jobs is at least as fun as scrolling through Google news or Instagram. The variety is fun- one person wants articles about ferrets, from people with some knowledge of them. Unfortunately my experience is very limited, I once saw a man walking a ferret on a train, John used to talk about wanting one on his boat, and we both once saw a man in Ramsgate walking two ferrets on a lead.
My first job was ghostwriting/editing a young American man’s very exciting travel story. It was fun and I was able to do it well. I’m currently pitching for a few more. A lot of the jobs are very low paid/are suitable only for professional copywriters who can write a 500-600 article start to finish in half an hour, but there is a huge variety. It takes time to build a profile, get reviews and be able to pitch for the better paid jobs. And by pitch- I just send them a nice friendly message, although forums abound on putting snazzy proposals together. Clients range from companies churning out content, to individuals writing their memoirs. I recommend it!
The Salt Path by Raynor Winn, about homelessness and walking the South West Coast path. Here’s a link to a great article about her and the book.
Russell Brand Booky Wook 2 and Revolution from a charity shop, amusing and interesting.
Netflix: The Queen’s Gambit, Baby (Italian with subtitles, in my learning Italian phase) Plus loads of old films my husband has found on YouTube, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, Dead on Arrival, Charade
About the author
In 2018 in our forties and fifties my husband and I sold up, gave away most of our possessions, and went travelling for a year, mainly in India, and also to Thailand, Tokyo, Nepal, Cambodia and Vietnam. My personal/spiritual/travel memoir of the year is completed and out with agents. I live on a narrowboat in rural Northamptonshire UK with my husband and two cats.
Thank you very much for reading
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