Life and writing in lockdown

Posted Apr 3 2020, 3:00 am in , , , , , ,

When this is all over…

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is DayBook2020-805x1024.jpgI hear that phrase often these days as everyone, me included, wants life in 2020 to go back to ‘normal’ as soon as possible, whatever that ‘new normal’ will be.

For the moment, though, life (and for me, writing), have to go on in lockdown.

As such, I’m finding new ways to adapt and cope and be grateful for what I have instead of lamenting what I don’t. 

Family life with Tech Guy

As many of you know, Tech Guy usually works five hours away from home from Monday to Thursday. As such, our family life is typically squeezed into Friday, Saturday and Sunday morning before he has to leave again on Sunday afternoon.

For us, the silver lining in the dark Covid-19 pandemic cloud is not only that Tech Guy still has a job (and I give thanks for that on a daily basis), but he’s also working from home for the foreseeable future.

Both as a family and couple, we have more time together than we’ve had in years and from walks with Floppy Ears to movie nights, cleaning up the kitchen together and more, life is settling into a new and, in some ways, better rhythm.

Small joys

Now more than ever, I’m finding happiness in little things like sunshine and blue skies on an early spring day. This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is Creek-686x1024.jpg

I’m also relishing opportunities to try new things.

While online yoga isn’t for me (not least because Floppy Ears is keen to adopt the ‘downward dog’ pose too), thanks to live streaming by galleries and zoos, I’m learning more about art and animal care.

And a few weeks ago, I’d never have guessed I’d be enjoying some of the best in British theatre and dance from my sofa in small-town Canada.

Much like my grandparents who lived through the Second World War, I’m also learning to ‘make do and mend.’

This week, I pulled out my dusty sewing box and, with help from Google, successfully mended a torn comforter, all the while hearing the echo of my late mom’s voice telling me that one day I’d regret not learning the finer points of darning.  

Writing the words

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is WritingBookmark-1024x806.jpgSince writing is my job, I have to make space and time to write the words too, despite and for almost the first time in my writing life, finding it difficult to concentrate on my fictional world.

Apart from the constant news cycle, I’m dealing with almost constant familial interruptions, as well as the worry of what writing and publishing will look like in the future.

Also, and as someone who writes primarily contemporary fiction, I’m grappling with questions about how or if to incorporate current events into new stories I tell.

In this difficult time for everyone, self-employed creatives have particular challenges but for me, going back to basics, and where I started from as a writer is helping more than anything.

Currently, I’m writing in short bursts of 250 to 500 words and aiming to write 1,000 words a day amidst and around other things.

As in many parts of my life, I can’t change my current writing reality so I’m adapting to it as best I can.

And for the writers who read my blog, I’m using novelist Julie Cohen’s ‘work hat’ (mentioned in this excellent ‘lockdown survival guide’) to ‘train’ my family that even though it might not look like it, I am actually working and should only be interrupted for blood, broken bones, flood, fire or some comparable emergency.

And when this is all over?

I’ll never again taken for granted…

A hug from a friend and chatting with a neighbour.

Going to a café to linger over tea and cake and choosing items from a well-stocked grocery shelf.

Being able to travel in real life instead of via a screen.

Visiting the library to borrow physical books and access inter-library loan.

Not having to sterilize everything that comes into my house because of fear of infecting my chronically ill daughter.

The work that teachers, doctors, nurses, grocery store staff, delivery drivers and others do to sustain our communities, countries and so many aspects of our lives.

And not least, my home and family and how blessed I am that both are a sanctuary when I need them.

Take good care of yourselves, friends, and at a time when for many of us, reading has never been more important, I hope you’re finding stories that comfort, inspire and give you hope.

In a small way, that’s the kind of stories I write and, at times of doubt, it’s for readers like you that I do what I do—and build books in those 250 word increments.

A note about The Wishing Tree in Irish FallsThis image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Wishing-Tree-in-Irish-Falls-Littlebookpage-Promo-Graphic-2020.png

If you’ve been waiting for the paperback edition of The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls, it’s out on April 12, 2020. 

Given the global health crisis and related (rightly so) prioritization of shipping essential items, paperback deliveries may be delayed. However, if you’d like a paperback, I hope you’ll still order one and understand why it may take longer to arrive. 

The e-book is available, though (and FREE in Kindle Unlimited), so if you haven’t read it and would like a cozy, comforting and romantic read, I hope you’ll give The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls a try. 

BUY LINKS

Both the paperback and Kindle editions are available on all Amazon platforms including: 

The paperback of The Wishing Tree in Irish Falls is also available at: 

8 Comments

Comments

8 responses to “Life and writing in lockdown”

  1. What a lovely uplifting post, Jen. So glad that you’re able to make the most of the family time you wouldn’t otherwise have. Sending you all the best for staying safe during these difficult times.
    Jessica xx

  2. Love this. I, too, have been noticing the little things that bring me joy (and will be writing about it in my next blog) and I’m finding the silver lining to this situation. Stay safe and healthy!

    • Jen Gilroy says:

      Thank you, Jennifer. I’m glad you’re able to find a ‘silver lining’ to the present situation too. Looking forward to your blog post on that topic. I hope you and your family stay safe and healthy too.

  3. Heidi Vanstone says:

    There’s nothing like the absence of something to make us realize its value! Like you, I will never again take the library for granted, and in fact…I miss my weekly trips to get new books. One of my coworkers used to say “it’s the little things”, and in hindsight, I think she was sharing some profound wisdom (although she didn’t know it at the time!)

    • Jen Gilroy says:

      Those ‘little things’ are so important, Heidi. Only now am I realizing how many ‘little things’ made my life what it was. Sending good thoughts to you & yours at this challenging time.

  4. Alison Empey says:

    Hi Jen. Yes…the inevitable familial interruptions. We add, “an eyeball hanging out of its socket” as an emergency worth interrupting someone for. 🙂

    • Jen Gilroy says:

      Great to ‘see’ you here, Alison. Thanks for finding my website and reading and commenting on my blog.

      Your comment made me (and Tech Guy!) laugh! The ‘eyeball hanging out of socket’ has been added to our ‘list’ of family ’emergencies’!

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