My, what a difference a week makes, huh? Before Coronavirus, my posts were about how to find the elusive time to write between work, kids, and other responsibilities. It seems like being forced to socially distance and stay home would be a boon to productivity. But it turns out that homeschooling, constant cooking and dish washing, and obsessive news watching takes all day. I don’t know about you, but I’ve gotten zero done on my manuscript. Turns out writing in the time of Coronavirus is not so simple.
Take a Moment
If you have young children, you probably spent the last week in scheduling shock as you became an elementary school teacher overnight. Bless our educators for trying to keep our kids busy and learning from afar, but the school’s efforts at accountability comes down to parental burden. My son is six years old, so his schedule is my schedule. I had no time to work on the job that pays me, much less get going on my writing. I felt stressed last week, but I know things will calm down as we all find the best path forward.
This is a new world for everyone, and it’s going to be hard at first, but soon we’ll develop a rhythm to the day. For myself, I plan to put my son’s school front and center in the beginning of the day when he is freshest. But then, if he watches TV or does something non-productive while I work in the afternoon, that’s going to be okay too. I’ve decided to give myself grace this week and go for balance in the future.
Keep a Schedule
I’ve worked from home for over six years now, so I’m getting better at this, but it’s oddly hard to maintain a schedule when you have the whole day spread out in front of you. It’s ironic because it seems like it should be easy to get a lot of writing done when you’re home, but knowing you have “all day” can devolve into procrastination.
It’s totally okay if stress or other requirements keep you from writing. No pressure! But should this be an opportunity to write for you, take it. If you’re a night owl and don’t have commitments in the morning, make an appointment with yourself to do it at night. If you know you are a morning person, do it then. Just don’t lie to yourself that you’ll do it “later.” Pick a time, even if it’s just an hour, and do it.
Don’t Wallow in Bad News
This situation is overwhelming because it’s unprecedented in any living person’s memory. The last global pandemic of this scale was in 1918. I didn’t think locking down New York, LA, or Paris was even possible. We all know the news about the health and economic crisis is only going to get worse. However important it is to stay informed, please, for the sake of your mental health, take a break.
I’m always reading actual books, but I recently started getting audio books so I could “read” while I walk, run, or do chores. Today as I unloaded the dishwasher for the third time, and when I finally got a chance to go on a stroll, I listened to a gripping thriller. It was great. I was so caught up in the story that I tuned out what’s going on in our world. And that was kind of nice.
As the weeks go on, see if your love of writing can buoy you. Creating might make you feel powerful; this is a medium that you control. Reading might make you feel inspired or entertained. Writing could feel as familiar as an old friend. Though you should never feel pressured to write if circumstances don’t allow it, your love of writing and reading might help get you through it too.