I have to write a book this year. I have to. I’m absolutely certain it’s the right time. But my procrastination has reached epic new heights. I need your help to overcome it.

I’m good at accomplishing things when I have clear, set goals with tangible deadlines. I started this year with plans to visit ten South African towns across all the country’s provinces. I was moving along right on schedule with that, until the wheels came off with the global pandemic. Then I committed to blog every day of the South African lockdown and stuck to that for 100 days (except Saturdays and Sundays after Day 50).

Two weeks ago, after completing the 100 days of lockdown blogging, I decided my next goal would be to finally write the memoir I’ve been intending to write ever since I started this blog in 2010. And guess what? I’ve made almost zero progress, on the book or anything else, during those two weeks. Instead I have done a lot of fretting.

Tree in Delta Park
Here’s a pretty picture of a tree in Delta Park, which I stumbled upon while archiving old photos (one of my favorite procrastination activities).

So now it’s time to pull out the big guns and make myself accountable — to all of you.

Blogging is the one thing I am consistently able to do without a deadline. I think one of the big reasons for this is because I feel accountable to my readers. So I’ve thought up a way to combine book-writing with blogging, which will allow me to do both consistently and also earn some money to support myself while I’m at it.

My Book Proposal to You

The book will be a memoir, telling the story of how and why I left America for South Africa and everything that happened once I got here. It’s a good story, if I do say so myself — filled with exotic travel and romance, emotional drama and growth, unspeakable tragedy and pain, and incredible turns of good luck. Most of it I haven’t told before, at least not on this blog.

For a taste of how the story starts, read my recently published 1000th blog post.

I’ve already written a pretty good chunk of the story. I just keep stopping when I get to the really hard parts. But now I have a plan to get myself over the hump. This weekend, I’m going to start putting bits and pieces of the story on Patreon, accessible to those of you who choose to support me through a small financial contribution each month.

I started raising money on Patreon at the beginning of this year to fund my #10SouthAfricanTowns project, and many of you have continued to support me despite the forced suspension of #10SouthAfricanTowns. Thank you so, so much for that.

Now I’m going to pivot (I hate that word but can’t think of a better one) and start offering some very different — but perhaps even better — content for my Patreon patrons.

Here’s a quick rundown of the details:

  • Patrons who pledge $3 (R50) per month will receive a monthly newsletter and a voice note every Sunday, in which I talk about what’s happening with my memoir and tell a brief snippet of the story.
  • Patrons who pledge $6 (R100) per month will receive the newsletter and weekly voice note, plus a special written post every Friday (note this is a huge increase from before, when I only wrote these special posts once a month) containing a short snippet from the memoir story. Also you’ll be invited to participate in two virtual meet-ups with me and the other patrons — one in 2020 and one in 2021 — in which I’ll answer questions about my blog and memoir.
  • Patrons who pledge $12 (R200) per month receive all of the above, plus a copy of the book once it’s published.

Find all of this information and more, plus instructions on how to sign up, on my Patreon page.

In recent months I’ve received a few requests from people who want to support my work but don’t want to subscribe on Patreon, for one reason or another. If that is the case for you, please contact me and we can work something out.

All that said, I know times are tough right now. For those of you who just want to keep reading my normal (free) blog, rest assured I’ll continue blogging as normal — once or twice a week — as I always have, about non-memoir topics.

With these commitments in place — and especially if I can increase my earnings on Patreon and let go of the stress of trying to find other work while I write — I’m confident I’ll have a draft of the book done by the end of 2020. Then I need to figure out publishers and things but I’ll worry about that later.

This is going to happen, people. You’re going to help me get there.

Sign up now at patreon.com/2summers and you’ll receive your first voice note this Sunday. (Note to those of you who are already patrons: I know I’ve been slacking on getting those voice notes out on time every week, but I promise to be consistent now that I have a whole new supply of content to share.)

In this week’s voice note, I’m going to share the story of the night when I officially decided to abandon my life in the U.S. and move to South Africa. It’s a dramatic story and I’m scared to tell it. But it’s time to banish that fear.

Heather in Jozi
A picture of me that has nothing to do with the story. (Photo: Fiver Löcker)

That’s all for now. See you on Patreon, or right back here next week.

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