It’s been about six weeks since our family went into quarantine. Our state stayed open longer than most, but our county and the schools closed sooner, which means our family’s been doing the #stayhome thing for a while now. We have a six-year-old, so we’re homeschooling, and like for most people, things have changed. However, we’re definitely more in the groove than we were a month ago. I’ve learned a few lessons and started to work again. These are my reflections on writing six weeks into the quarantine.
Writing IS Possible with all the Distractions
I did manage to complete a manuscript when my son was a baby, and I stayed home with him, so I know it’s possible to write with distractions. However, in some ways, a baby is easier to ignore than a six-year-old. They nap three times a day, for instance. The toddler and preschool stages require vigilance at all times, so I didn’t write another draft until he started Kindergarten. Even though I have another job that I already did from home, I was able to carve out time while the house was quiet to write. Soon, everything had to be perfect for me to get anything done. The laundry had to be folded, the house neat, my other work in check, or writing went by the wayside.
Now, there’s no quiet house. Nothing is ever clean or organized for more than an hour because we’re all home all the time. What I’ve come to realize is that I never needed the ideal circumstances to put the proverbial pen to paper. If my son is distracted for half an hour because he’s playing with blocks or Face Timing a friend, I use that time wisely. Or, I just wait until my husband can play with him later in the day. I don’t have to be sequestered. I don’t need a coffee shop. I don’t need perfection or hours upon hours of time. I just need to write.
Writing is Me Time
The homeschooling thing has been an adjustment. My son is supposed to be learning through Zoom calls, but he’s six, so you can guess how that’s going. In order for him to do his work and stay motivated, I have to give his school time my best. It goes smoother the more I am totally present for it. In other words, I can’t sneak in any writing while we’re still doing school. But once learning is over, my son can’t wait to play with his toys, and I get a chance for a little me time. Which is my writing.
In the past, I’ve considered vegging during lunch to watch a reality show “me time.” Or, I’d go to the salon for a pedicure or a stroll through some stores. Since that’s no longer an option, my work is my me time now. It’s been (un)surprisingly more productive.
Finally, I’ve started to become more present focused. I tend to have an eye on the future. When’s the next trip, the next visit, the next playdate, the next dinner out going to happen? Day-to-day life is just what I did until the next exciting thing would occur. Now, with the quarantine, there’s literally nothing on the calendar and everything’s been canceled until further notice, I just take it day by day. When I try to reflect on the enormity of the loss for families and how scary the future is for so many, it gets very overwhelming. All I can do is my part, which is to stay home and write more. Take care, everybody!