Yesterday, I did something revolutionary: I made myself a cup of tea and sat outside in the sun. Then I read a book while enjoying that tea. That’s all it took for me to feel successful. Sun. Tea. Book. A book I’m enjoying (although yes — it is a book that is useful for the work I do, too).
The Solo-Tasking Life
That was unusual for me. I’m always, always multitasking. Even in the bathroom, I’m reading a manuscript, or a book on someone’s judgment of someone else’s book, or something on writer’s and how they write, or a book that one of a client read that influenced them and which would help me to help them. I’m never just on the bog. I even “Netflix and Chill” while writing proposals, or editing, or answering emails.
It has become new to me to just do ONE THING, but I’m learning. Even better that I’m learning to do this as a parent of older kids. When they are little, you can tell them stories while doing laundry, helping them with their homework, AND making dinner pretty much at the same time. And that was as it had to be. They were cared for and comfortable, plus they feel your love. I think this new skill/desire, of doing one thing at a time, has come at the right time. Now that my youngest kids are on the tail end of the teenage years, and my oldest are entering young adulthood, they need you differently; this mindset and do-shit shift is right and radical for this time in my life.
Glimpsing the Lady in White
So yesterday morning, a Sunday, I was lying in bed figuring out what work I was going to do, and I decided to give that thing called “self-care” a try. As I sat, just reading a book in the sun on an unseasonably warm day, I remembered another time, when my kids were young, how seeing someone else RELAXING startled me.
That other Sunday, I was hurtling down a country road, heading to the grocery store that was still another 15 highway-at-100-km/hr-minutes away. This was the closest store, but definitely not a corner store. I was upset at myself as I had managed to forget something that my kids needed, and I had work to do.
On top of that, I had left my younger ones (daughters around 4 and 5) with their older brothers, who were 13 and 14: I knew that time was of the essence. Older kids don’t think much about their younger siblings. I knew I had to get what I had to get and be back quickly, before the girls’ moved or got bored with what I had left them doing. Even with legally allowable babysitters, in a way, it felt like I’d left the young ones on their own.
So, I’m rushing, and I see a woman sitting on her porch with her feet up reading a book. This was a good 15 years ago, yet I still remember her. Her porch was shaded and she didn’t look up; she was absorbed in a book. She was wearing a short, white, cotton dress with green things on it — I remember that despite zooming past her in the car. I was shocked into tears.
I had moved to the country to enjoy life, yet I had less time of my own than when I lived in a city. What I wanted was to go for picnics or walks on our twenty-acre property. Instead, I was always rushing away from it to get something we needed or to go to work to get the money we needed to pay for the beautiful 20-acre property. Seeing that woman reminded me of what I never seemed to achieve in my life: TIME OFF.
Self Care Means Taking Time OFF and Time OUT
I am actively working towards a less time-intensive professional life now. How about you? How is your entrepreneurial quality of life?
I started my journey as a self-employed book coach after I was let go from a traditional publishing house. Directly after that, I worked with a literary agency, but I soon decided being a literary agent was a young person’s game. So many stories of the agents that made it big involved how they found ways of living off nothing while they built up their lists.
But I was, and am, a grown-ass woman. I have kids. I could not manage that life, and it wasn’t about “not wanting the job enough.”
I did love looking through the “slush” pile of manuscripts and pulling out the best ones. I loved having discussions with the team about how to convert something that was pretty good into something wonderful enough to sell. However, I realized that to build a client list, I’d have to work full-time as an agent and find other full-time work that paid me.
Couldn’t do it.
Finding Another Dream
Even me—used to working a minimum of 60 hours—realized I could not be a single mom to four kids and be a literary agent too. Luckily, that dream wasn’t as hard to surrender as other dreams I have let go of as I came to terms with life as a single mom. In this case, my shift was joyous. I started working with people who paid me to help them create fabulous books that they planned to self-publish. It was a trade that allowed me stay in the creative world of building books and authors, but also enabled me to keep Cheerios on the table and gas in the tank.
And now, with many years of experience helping authors create books that make both them and me proud, I’m finally able to slow down. That’s what experience does. So, I have reduced the number of clients I work with, I have established a waiting list, and I’m gaining the balance I have lacked for so many years. Reading on my deck, enjoying the heat of one of those November gift’s from God, felt like a celebration and a holiday and like empowerment and self-love all rolled up in one.
All My Troubles Were so Far Away
Yesterday was a great day. That entrepreneurial dream life, which I can FEEL is mine, is just around the corner. It is one where I can do the bulk of the out-ward facing work from 9 am to 2 pm rather than 9 am to 2 am. Yes, I am still working long days, but it is doing work I love.
I just bought the book Discover Your Dharma: A Vedic Guide to Finding Your Purpose, and I remain so grateful that I can do the work I love and create a life of service that is moving towards “ease and grace.”
Ready to write your book? Then you need a coach who will get you there with “ease and grace.” Book a free, no-obligation consultation and get closer to reaching your publishing goals. CLICK HERE and let’s meet next week!