Let’s face it. Everywhere we turn these days, we’re being hit about the head and shoulders with something having to do with Covid-19. There are the doomsayers that forecast this will be the worst pandemic in the history of man. It will kill more people, make more sick and there will be so many Typhoid Mary’s walking around that we will never see a time without the virus until there is a vaccine. Then there are those who believe this is some sort of conspiracy formed by all the governments or technocrats or someone in order to take over our lives. Somewhere in between is the truth. The virus can be very bad for those who catch it. The overreaction of the government on all levels is ruining our economy on the short term and potentially on the long term. The media is using it to cast more blame on Trump because of Trump Derangement Syndrome. And somehow, through all this, we have to carry on.
For certain things, it’s easy to carry on. Food has to be bought–and either picked up or delivered unless you want to brave the stores yourself. The house has to be cleaned. The animals have to be cared for. Family members and friends have to be checked on. Those are the easy things. The harder, at least for me, has been focusing on work.
Oh, don’t get me wrong, I’ve “worked”. I have plot notes, world-building notes, character notes for at least five different . What I don’t have are productive words. It didn’t dawn on me until last night why.
The easy answer is that my routine has changed. And, to be honest, that is part of it. But the real answer is I can’t focus. Since learning last month there was a chance (a small one but one we couldn’t ignore) that Mom had been exposed to this damned virus, I’ve been splitting my focus between whatever I’m doing at the time and her. Even when she is in the other part of the house, I keep an ear open, listening. That wears on me and it tears my attention away from the actual business of writing.
So what’s the answer? I didn’t know until I read a post by Kris Rusch this morning. I need to focus on those things I can control right now. That means, at least for me, making a plan. More importantly, it means sticking to that plan. It also means knowing when the plan has to be deviated from and not letting that deviation completely throw off the rest of the day.
In other words, it is remembering that writing is my job and treating it as such. So, here goes.
Because I’m not a morning person, and because I have responsibilities at another blog where I’m the managing editor (and get to talk politics to my heart’s content), the first couple of hours each morning consist of coffee and catching up on news. Now, that doesn’t always help my blood pressure, but it gives me a chance to let the brain kick in. Once that’s done, it is time to do a little work around the house to get the blood moving.
By 9 or so every morning, I’m going to be settling down at my desk. No more writing–or trying to–in the den or my room. The only other location I’m giving myself permission to work at is the back porch (when it’s not too cold. I’m sorry, it’s mid-April. It shouldn’t be in the low 40s in Texas). That is where I’ll stay until lunch when I take a break, check the blog, eat, etc.
After another hour or so of work, I need to get some exercise. That’s the biggest hit I’ve taken during this shelter in place order. I’m not getting out like I used to, so I’m not exercising like I used to. I feel better when I exercise and need to get back to it.
At night, I need to put it all to one side and spend time reading, talking with family and friends and doing everything I can except let the news get to me.
In other words, I need to cut out the noise and focus.
I have a feeling I’m not the only one. So here’s my question to you. How are you coping with what’s going on and what are you doing to be productive in this time of distractions?