Tag: routine

Social Distancing Blues

flatten the curveSo, how are you all doing with this social distancing thing?

 

 

 

Here’s how I’m coping.

  • As soon as someone says, “stay home,” I want desperately to go out.  
  • I wander about the house looking at the chores I could do, but not actually doing any of them.
  • I find myself compulsively watching newscasts repeating the same information over and over.
  • I should be glad of the extra writing time, but can’t settle at my computer.
  • I sleep too much in the day, then can’t sleep at night.
  • I want to go out for lunch even though I don’t “do” lunch on weekdays.
  • I whine that the library isn’t open, even though I have a stash of books at home.

You get the picture — I am the opposite of a heroine!

But, I want to do my part to flatten the curve, so I’m staying put. I don’t feel vulnerable for myself, but I have a lot of older friends and others with asthma or on chemotherapy. No way will I be the one that spreads the virus to them. I also have family in the healthcare system, sure don’t want to add to their workload or put them in danger if supplies of masks, etc. run out.

Now, after a week of moaning and avoiding my fellow humans–I don’t have little ones or elderly relatives in my home– I’ve resorted to my failsafe coping mechanism — lists.  

I’ll share some of mine here in hopes they’ll help others find peace at home.

  • Gratitude  — I’m warm. I have enough to eat. I have a roof over my head.
  • I have endless ways to “socialize” electronically.
  • I have some new, unread books and several shelves full of old favourites.
  • The cats are endlessly amusing and nice for cuddles.
  • There’s more, but you get the idea.
  • Chores — Adapt the old housewife’s routine. Monday is wash day, Tuesday is ironing, Wednesday is mending(sewing),Thursday is shopping, Friday is cleaning, Saturday for baking and Sunday for church. I may substitute “exercise” for “ironing” or rearrange the shopping and cleaning,  but you get the idea. Make a schedule and write it down.
  • Reach out to friends. We can’t go to church physically, but we can watch a service on television, or get one on-line. Our minister sent out a youtube of his prayers and sermon on Sunday morning. I watched it during our regular church time. Then, as if it was coffee hour after the service, I telephoned several church friends just to check in. They were all grateful for the call.
  • Keep my family close. My brothers live four provinces away, but we all managed a phone call last week. They are healthy, I am healthy, and we are reminded that we are family–a blessing like no other. 
  • Write. Just like in the days before COVID-19, my writing  benefits from routine. I’ve resolved to watch only one newscast in the morning, then go to my desk.  Somedays I stay there until I’ve reached a certain word count, other times I set a time limit. I’m not inflexible with my “rules” but it sure helps to have personal guidelines in place, especially in times of stress.

We are having beautiful, spring weather. Gardening isn’t on that list of housewifely chores, but I’ve been outside, digging in the dirt, encouraging the crocus and daffodils. I’ve walked around the property and made plans for the vegetable garden. I’ve pruned the roses and the fruit trees. Like all gardeners and farmers, I’m convinced that next year,  next month, next week, will be better. The world needs optimists!

Keep safe, everyone. Wash your hands. Don’t touch your face. Stay home with a good book.

If you have a great way to keep calm and useful during this pandemic, please share in the comments section. It’s a safe way to be social.♥

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In a Rut vs Freedom

rut vs freedomRoutine.

To some that word means “rut” to others, “freedom.” I fall into the latter category.

For weeks I’ve been bumbling along without a routine. Words haven’t gotten on the page, because I’m distracted with one self-made crisis after another. Meals are pitiful, and onerous because I didn’t get to the grocery store. More garments lie in the laundry hamper than hang in the closets.

What’s worse, all that unorganized time isn’t joyful. I pick up a book to read, then put it down because I have a nagging sense that I should be doing “something.” Knitting makes me cross, because it’s wasting time. Everything feels off kilter.

Without a routine, my life feels out of control and I am cranky, really cranky. Maybe that is the reason interviewers are constantly asking writers about their routine. Instinctively, they know that a productive life needs organization.

The light dawned for me as I turned over the calendar to February. One month of 2020 gone and I was a mess. Something had to change.

A trip to the stationery story to procure a new ledger. A few concentrated hours at the desk to close out the books on 2019 and start a fresh new page for 2020. I do like a new notebook. All those clean pages inviting me to fill them with useful words or beautiful words, or orderly words.  I feel my spirits rising along with the little red tick marks on those clean pages.

That sense of order is why routine equates to freedom for me. When I have a list of “to do” I can check off the tasks as they are completed. This gives me a sense of accomplishment and gives me permission to enjoy my free time. Knowing the fridge is full of food, the car has gas, the bills are paid and my WIP is moving forward, I’m released from the rut of discontent and set free to pursue my passions.

My crankiness has taken wings and flown away. My house is in order. My mind is free of distraction.  It has been a good week.

Writerly Kindness Update

Our writers group, VIRA had an unexpected glitch for our September conference, when the two planned speakers cancelled. Panic ensued. Timetables are already set. I contacted Laurie Schnebly Campbell and she agreed to come on our preferred dates. She offered a great choice of workshops and she figured out the best flights — then booked them herself. She never once remarked on the short notice. I call that an extreme example of writerly kindness to a group of authors in distress. Thank you Laurie.

If you have a story of writerly kindness please share. I hope to have a considerable collection of examples by the end of the year. Contributors are entered in a draw for my latest “Prospect” book, available by the end of the year.

 

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