When all this pandemic madness started, I was excited. (I’m not gonna lie) I thought that I could write everyday and that I would have soooo much free time. I could read books I checked out of the library, watch movies I’d been meaning to watch and generally catch up on my life.
Instead, I ended up looking like this for most of the time:
By the grace of God, somehow, I pulled myself together. It took several months but I did it. It helps if you have a support system. My sister is a bit of my support system. She’s a scorpio and “very foot in the ass get it going”. Referrals to conferences and whatnot to attend online.
I discovered more horror writers and it was nice to see horror writers of color because you do feel alone sometimes. These all took place online via Zoom and they couldn’t see me. I also don’t have a particularly ethnic name, so I’m just another whisper on the wind to them.
Either way, 1455 Literary Arts had the best seminar in July. One of the sessions was called Writing Through a Pandemic. It was led by Robert Anthony Siegel. (He has the most soothing voice and way of speaking. I wanted to call him up afterwards and pay him to call me daily and give me a boost.)
He made several suggestions which include:
- Schedule for daily increments. Even if it’s 5 minutes (which is unrealistic) or 30 minutes, be sure to schedule it daily. Mark it on your calendar. I have a planner where I highlight across by the row and time everyday.
- Have a dedicated place to write. It could be the kitchen table or wherever, but your butt needs to be in that chair at the time you scheduled.
- Have a ritual to start the writing and it needs to be the same. (My ritual is making myself a cup of oolong tea. That’s it. No lighting incense, no namaste…I put water in a pot-because I’m crazy old school and don’t own a teapot-and boil it. Let it steep for 4 minutes and ta-dow!) Now, Robert, suggested to light a scented candle to place you in the memory.
- I’m going to add this one-that is have a check in buddy. I have started a “Tracy Responsibility Club” where I am one on one with a person, every three weeks and we go over lists of things we want to have accomplished by the next meeting. Since I do this one on one-for emotional support as well-I can’t handle more than three people. Even then, I’m biting off more than I can chew (typical Pisces-learn to say no!!) And so far, the club has helped me be even more responsible-hence writing this update.
Some other suggestions he made were to think about what happens when the pandemic ends. At this rate, I’m guessing 2021 because people are doing some dumb stuff right now and here we got with a surge.
- Write a letter to your future self. Maybe something you’ve accomplished during the pandemic. (Don’t look at me like that. You have been home as long as I have and you know you should have done something other than get fat. I’ve taken my online writing class and a Shakespeare class, certified in Google docs, Anxiety Therapy, Writing Basics 101, Novel writing 101 and yoga. I’ve done 100 points a day on Duolingo to improve my Spanish skills. I’ve written three stories, edited a lot, cleaned out several rooms filled with paper and done yoga every day. This does not include the things I’ve done with my kid that’s at home, which would blow your mind. How can she do all that? Dude, there are 24 hours in a day. Make. It. Fucking. Happen.)
- Write 10 things that give you joy-because after all this shit happens, people are gonna go nuts.
- Write 10 things you can do to give someone else joy.
And one of the more important things is to reward yourself for writing today-I get one bonus episode of some show I’m watching or a longer, sexier nap. Because naps are my life now.
Until the next time…