The main thing I want to do on this sabbatical break is get fit. I've tried to deal with my sedentary ills by variously using a stand-up desk, a stepper at my stand-up desk and a rebounder on screen breaks but, in short (and excuse my French), I'm f*^ked if I spend the next 10 years sitting and typing for eight hours a day. As the physio said about my tech neck: "You need to look at lifestyle change." Which is a real bummer when you love what you do.
So today was a bit of a fitness test. We walked six miles on a round trip to the Bearded Lake, near Aberdovey, but it was a hard six miles of ranging Welsh hills. The views kept me going but today was a 22,500-step day according to my Fitbit surveillance. I'm always amazed that our hills and mountains are full of superfit oldies by the way. I hope to become one of them some day. In the meantime, here was the end prize…
Accompanied by a slightly pained expression…
In other sab-news, I applied for author Jojo Moyes writer's retreat, using her Suffolk cottage for a week to kick-start a writing project. I'm 99% sure I won't get an offer as she'll be swamped but here was my application, subject line "A pitch from a procrastinator":
I'm sure you'll be inundated with entries so to get straight to the point, I'm a journalist-turned-blogger with 50+ travel diaries that I would like to see if I can turn into 'something'.
I started doing this in January and produced a single chapter before RSI got the better of me – it's impossible to edit all day and write all night when you have physical limitations and sore arms. Last week, however, I was let go from a long contract and I'm now free to write for myself.
I can do this at home, of course, but the big advantage for me personally in getting away is that I'm answerable to someone (you)! All my creative writing has been done when I am producing a piece of work for a reason – a course, a teacher, a deadline. Otherwise life, DIY, our two bunnies, and other procrastination opportunities get in the way.
I'd also love to talk to you about how to go from a 1000-word feature journalist or 600-word blogger to 80,000 words. I'm not sure I have the mentality. And how do you switch off the editing instinct to rewrite before you've barely started?
So those are my weaknesses and my hopes.
Thank you for offering your cottage.
So that happened today. We'll see. Those travel diaries aren't going to transform themselves.
In other news – oh the irony of sabbatical leave – I received another work offer involving online sub-editing training. This is based on a course I ran a few years ago. Thanks SEO from 2012. Now what to do? I'm supposed to be on a break.