Needless to say, things are weird. And stressful and scary and if you are even checking your email these days, you are winning. If you are getting out of bed most days, if you are feeding yourself, if you are trying in any way, shape or form, you are winning.
March has been bananas, this year’s theme of ridiculous highs followed by devastating lows continuing, despite my pleas for it to stop, stop, just please STOP!
Moving to virtual teaching has been chaos. Becoming the sole breadwinner for my family has been terrifying. Trying to make progress on my novel-in-verse (and hopefully, the second book on my contract with Little Brown) has been impossible.
But there have been some bright spots. I saw the final version of my cover and it is beautiful. The colors are so indicative of the Southwest and my main characters are stunning. Obviously, I can’t spill all the details but I hope you’ll enjoy these clues until the cover is finally revealed!
I also got feedback on my marketing wishlist and I think some really cool things are in store! I’m hoping this week will also bring some good news regarding a picture book I wrote, as well as confirmation that the novel-in-verse has officially been accepted as book two.
Things are still happening, despite the fact that the rest of life seems to be standing still. What has helped though is trying to keep all things in perspective and to remember how lucky I am that I still have my job, that I can work from home, and that I can self-quarantine without fear of losing said job.
Working from my kitchen table while overlooking my pecan tree as it begins to sprout leaves is a privilege. Ordering my groceries to be delivered and tipping the driver as much as possible is a privilege. Being warm and dry inside my cozy home is a privilege. But even though I am feeling immense gratitude, I am also feeling a million other things, some I can’t even really put into words.
And that’s okay. It’s okay to struggle with this new normal.
What’s not okay is expecting yourself to be as productive as you usually are and then shaming yourself when you’re not. Most of us writers are so used to creating in the cracks. We wake up early to write before work. We scribble in a notebook during our lunch breaks. We add to our word count late into the night when everyone else is sleeping. We are used to seeing a hole in our daily agenda and instantly filling it up with more work.
A lot of us like to track this progress with word counters or stickers or coloring in blocks in a bullet journal. When we meet our goal for the day, it feels euphoric, and when we fail to get there, it feels like the end of the world. Now every day feels like the end of the world and not just because we’re not writing. But because it literally feels like the end of the world (book of revelation style).
This is new territory; next-level trauma on a global scale. If you can create with all of that background noise, God bless you. But if you can’t, seriously, God bless you. Because this is hard and if watching other people tout their achievements online is making you crazy, save yourself and look away. This is not the time for ramping up productivity. This is the time for cozy socks, for cheesecake, for re-runs of Community. This is the time for virtual hugs, not virtual pissing contests.
Whatever you are doing, it is enough.
You are enough.