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Back to the Day Job

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I go back to work on Monday. For the last, wonderful, six months I have been on sabbatical (aka a ‘career break’ in this world of name-changing for the sake of it!). It’s been great. My firm allows them when you have been with them for long enough and you can take up to a year. When I decided to take mine, I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with it but, in the end I used it to write – in those six months I have finished Balance of Betrayal, edited it and got it to the point where I can prepare it for publication. Of course, I had grand aims of it already being published (by Christmas was the original aim) and the first draft of Age of Oppression also being complete. What I hadn’t understood was how the rest of life spreads out across the day. I have also been using the sabbatical to get fitter, to spend more time with my Mum, to make improvements in the house, and to catch up with friends. It all takes time and, on an average day, I spend about two hours writing.

The idea of stopping work for a while and doing your own things is very appealing to most of us, I’d guess. It has its downsides though. No income is the main one and I’ll be returning to work with very little left in the way of savings. It also cuts you off from a significant part of the social circle which one forms through work, and I’ve missed the contact that represents.
The plusses of six months off far outweigh the minuses in my opinion though. As well as having the time to ‘do stuff’ it has allowed me to refocus after I’d pretty much burned out. I’ll be going back with renewed energy and motivation – a significant change from the summer when I’d end most days thinking “this is a silly way to earn a living”.

Don’t get me wrong, by the way. I enjoy my job, work with some amazing people and I’m well looked after by my employer. I’m something of an ‘all-or-nothing’ kind of person, however, and, when you give your all, it can leave you drained and struggling to keep going.

The six month break has allowed me to really concentrate on me instead of being too busy for that. It allowed me to understand what life would be like if I were to make my living as a writer. I’ve realised that, in the world of magic and miracles (where I win the lottery, sell millions of books a month and have Hollywood beating down my door for the movie rights) this would be my idea of bliss. From that comes a sense of perspective about work. I’ll continue to do it to the best of my ability but it’s a job and a means to an end. I do it to enable me to do what is really important to me.

And that’s the key thing that has come out of all of this. A sense of knowing who I am; what I’m really here on this planet to do.

I am a writer.

Cate Caruth is the author of the Bremmand Chronicles. To buy her books or learn more about them, go to www.bremmandchronicles.co.uk

You can follow Cate on Twitter at www.twitter.com/catec23

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