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Stepping Away for Sabbatical

posted Aug 14, 2020, 7:33 PM by Colleen Getty   [ updated Oct 29, 2020, 6:18 AM ]
Summahtime---it's a good time to contemplate the direction I’m going in. 

This past spring offered an unexpected twist for us all. In the interest of holding onto any of my remaining sanity I must trim the sails by trimming some responsibilities. My four young children are non-negotiable keepers!:) 

Life in the summer months has been easier for me, but I cannot forget how very overwhelmed I was in March, April—and May. Responsibilities piled up fast while four sets of wide eyes looked to me for explanations, normalcy, occassional laughs, school instruction, motherly love, story time, screen time, entertainment, patience, three square meals, many snacks and some almost impossible undivided attention.

Everything real became virtual and the effort needed to fulfill commitments doubled while the time allowed to focus
and complete tasks fractured. I still have yet to replenish the well I drew so heavily from those three months.

As I look toward the uncertain fall season and the winter that follows, I have decided right now is a good time to take a sabbatical—let one of the fields I usually tend lie fallow. 

"A sabbatical is an extended break from your job that gives you time to enhance your academic qualifications, reflect on your accomplishments and decide how to prioritize your life and career or to take an extended rest period due to professional burnout."

Interested in reading about the value of a sabbatical? Here’s what Forbes has to say about sabbaticals: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ellevate/2017/12/22/the-untold-value-of-a-professional-sabbatical/#3d0512587141

Stepping away from The Room to Write to lessen my load will not only help preserve my sanity, but will also allow me to use any available time to move forward with my own professional writing projects and allow me to develop more fully as an author. 

I hope to continue revising my YA novel, Lucy Bound in Lyrics, and finish the first draft manuscript for my MG novel-in-progress, Eleanor with the Weeping Eye. Maybe I’ll even revisit some drafts of poetry or neglected picture book manuscripts. It will all depend on schooling, health and an unpredictable virus.

Community is so very important to the creative process and to growing a career as an artist, which is why furthering The Room to Write's mission has been such a passion for its Board of Directors and for me. But, we cannot deny that so much of what is valuable about TRtW requires in-person events, networking and community building which is not currently possible and cannot be replicated authentically through virtual efforts alone.

The good news: We are not dissolving—only pausing—to catch our breath, conserve energy, and lay low while the world finds a way to get back up on its feet again. For those gardeners and farmers out there—we are letting the field lie fallow knowing it is an investment in future production. 

I hope the soil around The Room to Write grows richer as it rests. 

I’m choosing to view this sabbatical year as a good thing that’s been thrust upon me by the universe forcing me to slow down and look within for a while. This swerve in the course can be a gift, an opportunity to make time to write and prepare for the future if I choose to accept it as such. I choose to accept.

Having recently re-read Anne Morrow Lindbergh’s Gift from the Sea reminded me that sometimes it’s best to be quiet and introspective. The path forward in life is never one straight, uninterupted line.

We must learn to shift with the ebb and flow.