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.
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.
I hate outlining. Always have. I hated it when I was in school. Still hate it. It, to my autistic mind, is unnecessary and illogical. I don’t like the pattern of standard outlines. They irritate me.
And I am a proud pantser.
I’m not–not entirely a pantser anymore.
I now use a bastardized version of the beat sheet. Plus, a cozy mystery outline I found online that is basically just a series of questions to allow an author to keep track of the details of the victim, the killer, and the main suspects.
These are new additions to what I usually keep in my book bible.
As I’m now working on what will hopefully be two lengthy book series, keeping outlines and additional information will save me from losing my mind when I write book 2.
I don’t think I’ll ever be a full planner. I doubt I’ll work with a traditional outline. They annoy me too much.
But, a little bit of planning has definitely kept my last two WIPs from going off the rails.
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?
For writing cosy mysteries, I have two TV playlists–one for cosy style shows (like Father Brown) and a second for true crime shows.
I watch a lot of true crime shows. A lot. My hubby and I often binge-watch the ID channel on weekends. Here are a few of the ones I tune into when I’m writing a mystery novel.
- Cold Justice
- Homicide Hunter – I LOVE Kenda. Love him.
- Murder for Hire
- Homicide for the Holidays
- See No Evil
- First 48
- Evil Lives Here
- The Devil Speaks
What about you?
Do you enjoy true crime shows?