The coronavirus pandemic has made us all do things differently. Had it not been for social distancing I would never have taken my writing classes online and found a whole new audience.
This month, Rhoda Bangerter, life coach at www.amulticulturallife.com, celebrates the arrival of her first book. Holding the Fort Abroad, beyond surviving – living and parenting abroad with a partner who works away from home is a remarkable achievement and will have been written, edited, designed, published and launched during the pandemic. Writing a book alone is a milestone, but Rhoda has done this with her husband working overseas, while homeschooling her boys (aged nine and 13) and without any childcare help. Oh, and while she is living in abroad herself too!
Carving out time to write
“It’s about finding shortcuts wherever you can,” she tells me. “It wasn’t elegant but we ate off paper plates last summer just to save me the dishes.”
When you write a book you need a support team around you. Yet Rhoda had no access to real live people, no family, no friends in her own home at a time when she had a 50,000 words to write.
“My assistant, Hannah, had to start helping me out virtually as much as she could,” Rhoda explains. “I delegated to my husband, even though he was away, as much as possible too.” There were plenty things he could do at a distance, particularly helping to co-parent the boys.
While she admits that screens were often her best babysitter and she had to learn to ask for help, it was only when she allowed herself to count in the scheme of things that things got easier. “When the boys were in bed I knew that I had a choice of doing three things: to go to bed, to do chores, or to write. So I did each of them in rotation. That really worked for me,” she says.
“The pandemic made things more difficult than ever,” she tells me. “I soon realised that many more families than just mine were split because of the travel restrictions so I started a Facebook group (www.facebook.com/amulticulturallife) and encouraged others to share their tips for solo-parenting. One woman told me that she would grab half an hour’s peace by putting her toddler in the playpen with the laptop so her absent husband could read a story over the internet.” Starting the Facebook group has put Rhoda in the fortunate position of spreading the news about her book to more people in more countries than she would have done without it.
Come to the book launch
With her website designer, proof reader, editor, illustrator, graphic designer and virtual assistant all just a Zoom call away, the book was published absolutely to schedule. Now it’s the final hurdle of a book launch, which has caused her to think differently yet again. A virtual book launch has been organised, with the entire publishing team able to be present despite physical distance. Guests can join the fun from all over the world and unlike in-person events, there are no catering costs and no limited seating. Want to see how it’s done and join in the fun? Please pre-register here.
Are virtual book signings even possible?
Well, Rhoda has thought about that one too and has decided that anyone who has pre-ordered the book or picked up a copy from her in person, will be posted a ‘goodie bag’ after the event that will contain a signed bookmark you can slip into your book, a special coaching offer and much more. Of course, her virtual assistant, Hannah, will be the one to organise all that for her.
Get the book
We’ve all had to learn to do things differently over the last year and some things have been more than a struggle than others. Sometimes, as seen here, good things come out of bad and Holding the Fort Abroad is no exception. It’s available for pre-order now on Amazon.
Jo Parfitt's Monthly Inspirer