One of my mantras when I’m working on long-term writing projects is a single word.
I mutter this to myself often as I’m writing through a first draft and, once that’s completed, when I have to type up whole novels written in longhand in notebooks.
It’s easy to get overwhelmed with the amount of work ahead when focusing on a long project like a novel, which seem to take me an average of four years or so.
It’s easy to get impatient, antsy, and want the process to turn into one of those movie mantras that compress complex efforts into a series of camera shots.
You probably know where I’m going with this by now, right?
(Hang on, it’s my turn in Words with Friends. 26 points! Yah!)
But, I’ll admit, it’s taken me a few days to remember….
Until yesterday, I’ve been antsy. Mainlining news, feeling like I was on alert, like I needed to know everything that was happening as it was happening.
On Twitter too much, on Facebook….
As of yesterday, I’ve pretty much hit pause on my need to consume every second of pandemic news, except for watching the prime minister’s briefing at 11 a.m. EST and the evening news from the U.S.
Yesterday evening, I even decided to turn on a cheesy ’80s radio station as I made a lasagna, instead of streaming CBC News Network.
This resulted in J. and I dancing together to Starship’s Nothin’s Gonna Stop Us Now which, actually, might end up being our pandemic theme song…
“Let the world around us just fall apart
Baby we can make it if we’re heart to heart
And we can build this thing together
Standing strong forever
Nothing’s gonna stop us now
And if this world runs out of lovers
We’ll still have each other….”
Oddly fitting, no?
I’ve also abandoned any overly ambitious goals set upon going into the new social distancing lifestyle.
I was finally going to learn how to crochet, get fit, clean out my cupboards, block the pile of knitting projects I’ve been compiling, and I was even regretting not having bought paint to redo my bathroom.
None of this has been happening. There was some guilt. Then, yesterday, I read this article.
“…perhaps a gentle reminder is in order for those of us who are feeling overwhelmed by the constant stream of suggestions for self- and home-improvement — that it is perfectly OK not to improve. It’s OK if your basement remains cluttered for the duration of the pandemic. It’s OK if after all this is over you still don’t know how to make a quiche.”
We are, after all, in the midst of a pretty scary time.
A time that, for lots of folks, is about real vulnerability and fear and sickness and overwhelming solitude.
So, screw the basement-cleaning and bring on the self care and, for me, self care means eating a bit too much ice-cream (for a few days, anyway, until we run out and don’t want to brave the grocery store for more) and writing.
Writing because it helps me, calms me, connects me, makes me feel – for some reason – better.
And since I know I’m not alone in that, I’ve been doing what I can do to help others during this time. I’ve brought my daily writing online, for others to join me, through my WriteRamble Facebook group.
If you have been wondering about these sessions and want to know what they look like, I’ve posted a sample session on Youtube. Check it out, and if it’s something you’d like to do, join the group (or, get in touch if you aren’t on Facebook, and I’ll start uploading the videos more regularly onto YouTube).
This Saturday, we will also be holding the very first Write Ramble Reading Series event with eight writers from the community. Open to all, the reading will be held over ZOOM. To watch, grab a cup of tea and join us on Saturday at 2 p.m. Central Daylight Time at this ZOOM link.
(if you haven’t used ZOOM, you’ll have to download it first, and you can do that here).