Heather in Jozi

How You Can Help Me Write My Book

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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22 Comments

  • Reply Catrina July 17, 2020 at 6:54 pm

    Brilliant idea, Heather!
    I signed up 😊👍🏻
    Your book will be a great success! 🌸

    • Reply 2summers July 17, 2020 at 7:11 pm

      Yay, I got it! Thanks so much Catrina. Enjoy your Sunday voice note.

  • Reply Keith July 17, 2020 at 8:23 pm

    How can I help ya kid?????, when I’m a Brit leaving England’s disasterland and heading back to the Botswana bush? PLEASE REPLY IN AFRIKAANS…

    • Reply 2summers July 17, 2020 at 8:29 pm

      Lekker slaap! (That’s all I know.)

  • Reply eremophila July 17, 2020 at 11:20 pm

    Smart move, Goodonyermate!👍

  • Reply Keith Spicer July 18, 2020 at 12:35 am

    If you and I can get together we can learn a lot from each other. I will be on the Jo’burg flight next week if I can escape from this collapsing economy. Contact me please. Bly goed skatjie ‘n lekkar slaap!

  • Reply Albert July 18, 2020 at 5:42 am

    I look forward to Sundays voice note! As an incentive, tell the readers who don’t want to join Patreon, that your blog will going forward only provide a weekly pineapple beer recipe, so they better join Patreon. 😁

    • Reply 2summers July 18, 2020 at 6:09 am

      Hahaha! That would just be cruel 😂

  • Reply David Bristow July 18, 2020 at 7:48 am

    I got 174 rejections on my first paperback (Running Wild), One Hundred and Seventy Four. But approach 175 was to Jacana Media, and what a wonderful bunch they’ve turned out to be for me: I have just finished writing book number 4, in four years. I think your idea of funding and posting on social media is outstanding. Penguin seems to like women’s non-fiction and since they are big here and worldwide, they might be worth an approach. Bon voyage.

    • Reply 2summers July 18, 2020 at 7:54 am

      Thanks David! Congratulations on book number four.

  • Reply Charmain Lines July 18, 2020 at 9:38 am

    Well done on committing to this thing that is clearly so important to you. Your community is with you, we’ll do whatever you need from us to birth this book. I’m really looking forward to it, and being part of the journey of its writing.

    • Reply 2summers July 18, 2020 at 11:17 am

      Thank you so much for your support, Charmain!

  • Reply Stan Morrison July 18, 2020 at 12:45 pm

    Heather, I avidly read everything written by an Irish author Jean Grainger. She went the self-publishing route in 2013 and has since published 20 best sellers on Amazon. One of her previous careers was as a tour guide and her first series of books is about a fictional Irish tour leader and the happenings with the personalities in his tour groups.
    In her newsletters and on her web page she gives hints and suggestions to would-be writers. When asked how she gets to write more than two successful books per year while being a wife and mother, she says
    “I write at least 2000 words per day come hell or high water. I just type whatever comes into my mind and do not worry about sense, grammar or structure. Then on a day when I am in the mood I cut and paste and polish these ideas into a story. You cannot edit anything that has not been written and you cannot sit down and be creative on demand.”
    This is a good way to get past the “blank paper syndrome” when you just can’t get started.

    http://www.bookseriesinorder.com/jean-grainger

    • Reply 2summers July 18, 2020 at 1:03 pm

      Hi Stan, thanks so much. This is great advice. I will check out her site.

  • Reply Lani July 20, 2020 at 7:17 am

    Wow. Good for you, Heather, I’m glad you’re taking the leap! While I can’t financially support you at this time, I’d be happy to help in other ways – as a reader and fellow blogger. 🙂

    I’m going to write to you privately as I’ve just thought of something… Excited for you, xoxo

  • Reply Tumtum July 20, 2020 at 3:58 pm

    I will happily deactivate my audible subscription to support your endeavor 🙂 You have provided us with superb (ad-free) content over the years.

    Aside: Your blog banner is nice and funky which would translate very well into shopper bags, if you want to explore that avenue, especially for people who don’t want to support but are not down for patreon commitment.

    • Reply 2summers July 20, 2020 at 4:32 pm

      That’s a very interesting idea! I will talk to my friend who designed the banner — I think she’d be excited to work together on something like this. Thank you 🙂

  • Reply maarten July 21, 2020 at 4:49 pm

    Wow Heather, that sounds like a wonderful idea and plan. Many people I meet during these horrible times are talking about writing as a way to “digest” all their thought, emotions, grieves etc. Writing is a beautiful way to express but also to share your thoughts with other people. I love writing and the daily stories in my diary is my reflection on my life and the things happening. When I worked for the NGO in Tsakane – Langaville township I also planned to start writing a book about my experiences at the NGO and my live as a white Dutch person in the township. Title was already there: “3rd dirt-road to the right” and also the cover picture was ready. Unfortunately the script is still in my mind, the story line is next to that and the individual stories of the people at the NGO are on my tape recorder.
    One day it will happen……
    Writing is a wonderful way to express yourself and I wish you all the luck and adventure during the writing process. Keep us updated.

    • Reply 2summers July 21, 2020 at 4:51 pm

      Thanks Maarten, I will. It’s definitely a tough challenge.

  • Reply Julie Bellingham July 24, 2020 at 6:48 am

    I just came across your blog when googling Carlton Hotel JoBurg. I need to read more of your journey. You seem to be stuck during the lockdown, and I am locked out here in Seattle. I spent 5 years in Joburg and with the Carlton Family in the 1970’s. We hosted the Bi-Centennial Picnic in ’76.
    I had hoped to spend September and October in South Africa this year, but travel in is as hard as the travel out seems to be. If you do another blog posting about the Carlton in its hay day, I do have some fond memories of Liz and Richard at a tennis tournament where Arthur Ashe hosted. And the day that John Lennon and Yoko Ono stayed in the Presidential Suite.

    • Reply 2summers July 24, 2020 at 6:54 am

      Thanks Julie, that sounds very interesting! Yep, there will certainly be no travel in or out of SA this year. Tough times. Thanks for the comment 🙂

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