Staying Focused in Crisis

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How do you write in the middle of a global pandemic?

It’s definitely a conversation going around the writing community. Here are a few things I’ve been considering/doing/whatever.

  1. I accept that some days I just don’t have the mental, physical, and/or emotional energy to put pen to paper.  I try to be kind to myself in those moments and not stress. Words will happen eventually.
  2. Write something that brings me joy. Now, at least for me, isn’t the time to write something that feels like pulling teeth.
  3. Turn off social media and the news. Nothing kills my writing vibe than a constant influx of bad and overwhelming information.
  4. Take breaks. Seriously. Take a walk, read a book, watch my favourite TV show. Anything but trying to be creative.
  5. Find a new routine. I’m autistic. Routines are in my DNA. So, I’ve definitely had to add a new normal into the structure of my day.

What are you doing to keep focused?

Fear and Journalling.

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If we’re honest with ourselves, there have been moments of anxiety and fear over the past few weeks. It’s easy in the midst of isolation to bottle everything up inside. And even if we don’t want to burden our friends/family, keeping it all internal isn’t healthy.

I haven’t written in a journal/diary in ages. In my teens and early twenties, I actually kept up with a journal a fair bit. For some unknown reason, it fell away in my thirties and now forties.

A few weeks ago, I saw a tweet from a historian who talked about how we should be writing down our experiences through this pandemic. I can’t find the tweet now, unfortunately. But it stuck in my mind.

I thought about all the personal accounts of other historical events I’ve read. They seemed to take on a suddenly deeper meaning. I can better understand why those people took pen to paper.

Sharing their thoughts must’ve been so cathartic in terrifying times when so much was out of their control.

It’s basically where we are now. Aside from keeping up with social distancing and other recommendations, there’s little control we have over this pandemic. And even the most zen of my friends is experiencing stress, anxiety, and fear.

I’m an author.

I deal in fiction.

Writing the truth of my thoughts seemed much more intimidating at first.

I’m a few days into my journalling. It’s provided an amazing outlet for the unease I’m feeling. Putting everything down on paper has offered some relief.

And somehow, a physical journal is definitely better than an online one.

I’ve been both pouring out my thoughts on paper but also jotting down what’s happening in my area and the things I’ve seen.

It’ll be interesting to look back in a few months or even years to read through my own personal history of this pandemic.

How about you?

How are you processing everything right now?

The Toxic Productivity Trap

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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.

But.

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.