These weird times have me not knowing what to do most days, at least when it comes to whose story to write! Instead, I’ve been baking flourless banana bread (back when all I had was bread flour but now I have all purpose flour!) and snickerdoodle cookies, tidying up the house Marie Kondo style, and blending relaxing yet antiviral (and dog-safe) essential oil blends for the soul!
So now, the house smells so good… and I’m starting to fall off my diet! But thanks to my essential oil blends, I’m not worried about it! Great combination, eh?
However, I am writing though – bits here and there. A chapter for one story and a chapter for a different one. Maybe that’s how the monkey mind works until I can rope all those wandering monkey thoughts and focus on one project. But I’m also not too worried about it. As long as I’m writing, I’m happy.
I’m also active on Wattpad. For those unfamiliar with Wattpad, it’s a global online community of writers and readers that’s accessible via a mobile app and a website. I started out on Wattpad in 2012 as Morrighansmuse, posting fanfiction stories of Thorin Oakenshield (The Hobbit) and Lucas North (BBC Spooks/MI5) before posting my novel chapter by chapter (after writing and proofing each one as I went) Finding Sam in 2014, Loving Ashe in 2014, and Collateral Attraction in 2015.
There’s something to be said about getting live feedback on each chapter from readers that I haven’t found anywhere else since and I just might be writing my next book that way. I also participate in contests and even received a signed copy from Margaret Atwood, thanks to a short story contest she helped curate herself where my story ended up as one of the finalists.
I don’t just post my stories on Wattpad, by the way. I read, too, and my latest read is Rancho Viejo by Cynthia Dagnal-Myron. It’s a screenplay that she’s adapting as a novel and it features a woman (in her 40s) trying to save her property from a ruthless developer.
Today, I came across this post on Facebook and it suddenly made everything I’ve been feeling make sense:
Students, colleagues and friends:
-This is why it’s been hard to focus.
-This is why it feels like it takes you twice as long to get things done.
-This is why you’ve been consumed with ensuring that you have the right “stuff” to sustain your physiological needs.
-This is why you’ve been more irritable.
-This is why you’ve been craving connection.
-This is why you’ve been feeling overwhelmed.
-This is why you’ve been physically exhausted.
-This is why you’ve been like “Oh wait, there’s a paper due?”
-This is why the idea of planning for the future is the furthest thing from your mind right now.
-This is why you only have enough mental energy to focus on the immediate.
-This is why you’ve been instinctively prioritizing self care and family.
-This is why you’ve been grasping to control what you perceive to be controllable because so much is uncontrollable and unpredictable right now.
Students, colleagues and friends:
-This is normal.
-You are not a slacker.
-You are not “crazy” (Yeah, I know we hate that word).
-You should not compare yourself to others.
-You should not buy into the narrative that you must emerge a “better person”.
-It’s ok to not be as productive – we are experiencing trauma on a global scale.
-It’s ok to “just be” and feel the way you feel about what’s happening around you and/or to you.
-It’s ok to seek help. COVID-19 is a crisis that threatens both our physical and psychological wellness.
Hope this helps you the way it helped me.
What about you? How are you doing?