While I’ve been working at home for a week now with varying degrees of family and friends around me at any given time, yesterday (3/25/2020) was officially Day 1 of the governor of Wisconsin’s order to stay at home, or #SaferatHome. Since being at home, we have gotten my husband’s best friend on a plane and back to his own family after they jointly celebrated their 40th birthdays. It was a much smaller celebration than originally intended, but they still got to do everything they had planned, on a smaller scale. I’m thankful for that.
This past week has brought some dark times for me, to the point of wondering if I’d be able to do this without an end in sight. The word “trapped” came to mind, and I felt resentful of the events that needed to be canceled and the friends and coworkers I wouldn’t be able to see. However, I’m not without perspective, and I realize how good I have it and how bad it could get. Knowing that still didn’t alleviate the emptiness and panic I was experiencing.
Among the events being canceled were two writers’ conferences I was looking forward to attending in May. At one of those conferences, I was supposed to do a presentation on branding for authors as it applies to author photos and what to wear to in-person events. It was a niche I was excited to delve into. I may still put something together in video form for kicks. We’ll see.
As we, as remote workers, and as we, as a family unit, settled into more of a routine, and as estimated dates of when normalcy might return started popping up, a sense of calmness and acceptance overtook the constant feeling of dread. That calm, of course, couldn’t have transpired without supportive friends, husband, and kids, even though I have a hard time reaching out sometimes.
When riding a roller coaster, I know better than most that it’s much more enjoyable and tolerable to lift your arms and squeal through the drops, taking them as they come, rather than grit your teeth and bear it until they pass. I gotta remember that now. It’ll be fine. It’s temporary. I’m healthy (knock on wood). Suck it up and enjoy the ride.
The situation is developing day by day, hour by hour. Just a couple weeks ago, it looked like there was no way work would send us home. Today, our head honcho announced that most of the company will be on a temporary furlough for basically all of April.
As a writer, it would be an interesting time to be out of work. Camp NaNoWriMo starts April 1. For the second time since I began writing fiction seriously, which was in 2012 (third time if you count maternity leave), I might be in a position to do this full time. For a short period of time at least. Now, the question is, will I be up for the challenge? I’m the type of person who finds that she gets less done given more time. And vice versa. I was one of those kids in school banging out written reports the day before they were due. Lucky for me, my favorite podcast, The Career Author, just released an episode today called How to Efficiently Work From Home.
I don’t know what form this extra time will develop into, but I intend to do something with it. Ideally, I would finish a draft of a novel. That probably won’t happen given my lackluster feeling toward writing fiction lately. What I will do is read more, which may ignite something. And write…something. Even if it’s in a journal for no one to see. Because it’s a weird time, and I don’t want to be swallowed up by despair again. Or if I do, come out of it quicker next time.
Stay safe out there, folks, and keep your distance from each other. We’ll get through this together…apart. I can’t wait to see some of you in person on the flipside.