Working When Chaos is All Around
It’s been a long while since I’ve written a blog posts for writers. There are a thousand reasons I haven’t been posting, but I won’t bore you with them here. Some people thrive when the world is in chaos and it dries them to escape to their writing rooms. I know several authors who have been more productive than ever during this time of pandemic. Others, like me, find themselves with far too many non-writing things pulling them away. I have been writing blog posts and articles, but not about the writing life or technology or the writing business. I’ve been writing about politics and pandemic responses, and urging people to take care of each other and not resort to violence. That has been top of mind for me. It’s been hard for me to assign importance to my novels.
I know many writers who have been unable to write since March. The combination of families being at home, some being out of work or working from home for the 9 to 5 jobs, and the sheer weight of living in a world of unknowns has been enough to stop many people from writing anything beyond the next shopping list. That’s okay. We each must choose what is most important to do during this crazy time.
Another killer for those facing self-imposed writing deadlines and not meeting them is the guilt. I know I have expended a lot of time worrying about not finishing my Sweetwater Canyon series, getting the final book in my Cryoborn Gifts series out, and working on my next two suspense novels. All four of those were planned for this year. I’ll be luck if I get one of them out.
If I’m not careful, that worry and guilt can become an endless circle of trying, failing, self-flagellation, and then repeating the circle. It is NOT healthy. That was March through May for me, along with trying to catch up on what is happening in online learning so that I could return to Academia and help with so many institutions suddenly thrust into providing courses that way.
Somewhere around June I came to the conclusion that there are many good reasons I’m not writing. Like most people I have family responsibilities and ongoing business responsibilities that have to come first. I need to accept that I can’t do it all in spite of my subconscious telling me I have to be Super Woman. Believe me I cannot fit into that skimpy outfit no matter how I try. I also realized that my return to Academia was not going to happen, which required an about face with my plans for the next three years of my life.
The silver lining of chaos all around is that it does force me to mindfully focus in order to get anything done. It may only be a focus of a few hours (instead of the usual 10 hours a day I’ve done in the past), but that also makes me choose what is really important. Though I’m not going back to Academia, the time I spent preparing made me realize that I really love teaching. I really love helping people to create better books, publish well, and understand how to be an author entrepreneur instead of only a writer. For more than 40 years of my life I have been a teacher in some way.
It was that realization that made me expand my author services business and bring my experience in online learning to authors instead of worrying about Academia. It helped me to create a different business model that allows me to teach and help others, as well as being an author and continuing to write books.
When will I return to my novels? Now that I’ve made this decision about a new business model, and put everything in place, I’m guessing in mid-September I’ll start tackling books again. In the meantime, I’m still balancing family responsibilities, ongoing business responsibilities, building a new business, and making decisions about the next five years of writing. It’s a better place to be than the self-flagellation dungeon.
How about you? Have you made in momentous decisions this year? Are you finding a way through the chaos or still lost in the weeds somewhere?