In the midst of the current state of crisis and upheaval, we’re all mostly at home in self-isolation. Or, we should be. And I keep seeing all these ‘ways to stay active and productive’ videos and blog posts.
On the one hand, I do think finding a new routine is essential, particularly for those not used to working from home.
As someone who has worked from home for years, it’s important to keep yourself motivated. And it can be infinitely more difficult when you’re not in an office.
But, I think productivity at times like this can be a dangerous and unhealthy trap.
We put our health to one side. We base too much of our self-worth into what we accomplish. And then, we seem to fall into a cycle of work, work, work, and not much else.
In a global crisis, maybe the best thing we can do is take care of ourselves–and each other.
Maybe the most ‘productive’ thing I can do is read a good book or play one of my favourite video games.
There’s nothing wrong with accomplishing.
Crossing items of your to-do list can become a bit of an addiction. But we shouldn’t be beating ourselves up for relaxing either. Doing nothing can be the healthiest part of your routine.
So, maybe while we’re all busy being productive. We should pencil time into our do to do nothing at all. Relax. Read a book. Binge-watch a new TV show. Something fun.
I’m currently writing Cosplay Killer an MM Cosy Mystery featuring two men who are into video games, music, and musical theatre.
In doing research, I had to brush up on some Broadway stuff. I’m not massively into plays. It’s never been my thing, though I have a lot of friends who are. I knew a little about Hamilton from friends and also because I think Lin-Manuel Miranda is a genius of a wordsmith.
So, I found this video of him performing Alexander Hamilton at the White House.
I watched it twenty times. I was mesmerized. History has always been an obsession of mine and I was entranced by his performance.
Now, I’m autistic. I frequently fall down rabbit holes into new obsessions. And I haven’t had a new ‘special interest’ in a good while.
And I certainly didn’t intend to find one while researching a new cosy mystery series.
But there I was, going from one video to quite literally watching every Hamilton thing I could find on Youtube. Now I’ve listened to the soundtrack of the original cast a hundred times at this point.
Christopher Jackson and Lin-Manuel Miranda performing One Last Time are particularly brilliant.
The things I do for book research.
I’ve worked with Hot Tree Publishing (and now Tangled Tree Publishing) for several years. I adore them. They’ve taken good care of me.
And then some days, I want to drop kick them across the ocean.
We announced my upcoming release a week or so ago. Primrose Poison. The first in a new cosy mystery series–The Motts Cold Case Mystery Series.
As we were discussing the ongoing series, we realized the first book stood out amongst the titles. While I haven’t written anything but the first, I know what the titles will be. And they were a bit jarring when you lined up the titles with cover ideas.
So we had two options, first, change all the other books. That would seem to be the better option. Except it wasn’t.
The other option was to change Primrose Poison to Poisoned Primrose.
Have you ever debated something so much you completely lose interest in the subject?
That was me.
The good news is…I still love my publisher. I love the cover (I can’t wait for everyone to see it.) And the titles are all aesthetically pleasing when side by side.
(Love you, Becky.)
Author Problems — and how not to solve them.
Problem: Your spouse/partner comes into the room to talk about absolute nothing for ten minutes during your writing sprints
Solution: Since smothering them is frowned on–try for a ‘don’t talk to me for an hour’ rule while you’re writing.
It never works for me. But it might for you.
Problem: Getting distracted by the internet.
Solution: Let me know if you find one.
Problem: Seeing other people’s daily word counts.
Solution: Remind yourself everyone writes at a different speed–and you’ll get there. If it really bugs you, try muting them on social media until you hit your goal.
Problem: OMG. I got a bad review.
Solution: Step away from your computer. Do not respond. Do not engage. Remind yourself that every single author out there has gotten a bad review. You’re in good company.
And eat a bowl of ice cream.
Fear can talk you out of doing just about anything. Fear is a lying bastard. It plays on any insecurity and anxiety that you might have.
I distinctly remember publishing my very first novel, Ivy. I also remember getting a copy for myself because I was suddenly hit with the fear no one would buy it. And I wanted at least one sale.
Fear almost kept me from putting it out. Ivy was my first NaNoWriMo success several years ago. I didn’t think I could finish a novel. But I kept telling myself to stop doubting. I could do it.
Fear does that. It paralyzes you into not trying. If I don’t try, I can’t fail.
And it’s all a mental game.
I think in so many aspects of my life. Combating fear has often been the hardest part. I have definitely talked myself out of even attempting things.
It’s something I want to do better at in 2020.
How about you?
I thought I’d share the shows I’m currently enjoying on TV, Netflix or Amazon Prime. They’re in no particular order.
- Rosemary & Thyme
- This Farming Life
- Cold Case Files
- Father Brown
- Million Pound Menu
- Nailed It! Holiday
- Murder Maps
- Queer Eye
- First and Last
What about you? What are you binge watching this week/month? Do you binge watch at all?