Writing in the Coronavirus era

Writing in the Coronavirus era

Today’s my 8th day of self-quarantine (except for a quick trip to the grocery store 7 days ago).

Is this not the most surreal experience of your life? It’s both comforting and horrifying to know that the conversations I’m having are taking place all over the globe.

I was supposed to be on vacation in Italy this week — spending my first trip to the country in Venice. Needless to say, that’s not happening. However, I took the opportunity to use my PTO for a staycation instead. My goal this week: Try on the life of a full-time author.

So far I’ve written 184 words. #productive

I’m finding it really freaking hard to concentrate. Even though I’ve worked from home for 7 years, there’s something uniquely weird and distracting about this experience.

That’s not to say I’ve done nothing. Monday, I spent all day working on client stuff. Tuesday, I sent out a few queries for Unrelenting. And today, I’ve been trying to tune out the news. I might even achieve an epic power nap.

I’m trying a few things that might help me recapture my focus.

I’ve hosted Zoom rooms to co-write with fellow alumni of the Writing Excuses Retreat.

I also migrated my weekly writing critique group to Zoom so we can stay accountable to one another.

I’m wearing my sound-canceling headphones to get in the zone.

I’m eating as well as I can and taking daily 3-mile walks.

And all of that is great. But…

None of it is quieting the buzz of anxiety in my brain. So I’m trying to be kind to myself by allowing myself to feel the feels, playing with my dogs, watching comedy shows with my husband, and curling up with some great books.

I’ve also found I’m feeling very disconnected from all of my projects set in the modern day or near future. The world has changed so quickly, and it’s hard to resonate with stories where characters do crazy stuff like go to coffee shops or hang out at a friend’s house.

So I’m switching gears from the novel I’m querying to focus on my main WIP. It’s set in a secondary fantasy world (yay, Gloomhaven!), so it’s already different from real life. That’s making that project feel strangely normal right now.

If you’re struggling to focus, you’re not alone.

But I believe we can get through this.

Be kind to yourself. Lower your expectations of yourself. This is traumatic and weird and stressful.

People are losing their jobs, wrangling kids, and wondering how they’re going to pay the bills. So give yourself grace if you’re not feeling 100%. I’ll try to remember my own advice.

Stay safe, wash those hands, and self-quarantine (if your situation allows it) like a boss! Love you all.

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