Writing in the Pandemic (Updated 4/13/20)

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As a writer, I’ve hit the proverbial road block. It is so hard to just sit down and write about anything that isn’t coronavirus related. I spend my entire day reading Twitter, watching Governor Cuomo’s daily briefing, finding interviews with Dr. Fauci, and listening to relevant podcasts. It’s exhausting.

But I feel that I need to stay informed.

However, my writing also needs to continue. Whether that means weekly election connection posts or finally sitting down to get serious about my two books or any number of writing projects that I want to work on. I need to re-balance my life to include my writing, and for better or worse, some of that writing will need to be about what I am going through now.

I wanted to share with you some of the things I’ve discovered on my online sojourns and internal discernment.

The Writer Magazine Writing Contest Short Story Contest due June 2, 2020. (There might be a fee to enter.)

Historian Suggests Keeping Record of Life During Pandemic

Journal Assignment. Graphic posted below. Link is to other assignments and a place for students to upload their work. This was originally from Bryan Shaw of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District in California

Podcast from Writing Coach, Ann Kroeker: One Thing Writers Can Do in a Pandemic: Document the Days

From Actor, Misha Collins:

Breathe in what?

Breathe out what?

“I was explaining one of the simplest meditation techniques to the kids: “Sitting, eyes closed, you breathe in good things you breathe out bad things.”

Maison [his daughter] said, “So you breathe in sparkly rainbow unicorns and you breathe out broken guitars?””

Remember to respect Authors

Haiku Writing with John Pavlovitz

30 Day Writing Challenge beginning tomorrow (April 1, 2020) from IngramSpark, a self-publishing company. They will send daily emails for the writing challenge from The Writer -30 Day Writing Challenge – these are daily emails from a self-publishing/pod (publish on demand) company.

Camp Nanowrimo for the month of April!

Camp Nanowrimo – nanowrimo.org

Journal Assignment by Bryan Shaw. (c)2020

11/12 – Prompt – Spiral Journaling

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I was inspired by my friend’s tea cup which had an infinity spiral as part of the design at the bottom, and I have been drawing a lot of spirals lately from flowers to coffee steam swirls to spiritual incense, and Celtic spirals, so seeing the inside of the cup really stayed with me all day.

I drew it in my sketch pad, thinking that I’d do something with it later.

After my little adventure earlier in the week, I decided to do a little bullet journalling, but write it in the spiral using different colored pens.

I really liked it.

I mean, I really liked it.

I think I’m going to draw a few spirals and use one each day of my trip to wind down and remember the day while it’s fresh in my mind. At the end of the trip, I’ll have at least ten spirals and a neat little souvenir from my special trip.

The directions follow: Continue reading

Prompt – 1/12 – Choices and What Ifs

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It is spring and there is a new writing group on the horizon. Six weeks of memoir writing, which means twelve new prompts.

Our theme this session is Choices and What Ifs. Over the course of our lives, there are so many of those big and little choices that take us where we go, sometimes where we long to go, and sometimes where we have to go.

As the Doctor (Who) says, “We don’t always go where we want to, but we do go where we need to.”
Nothing could be more true than my life in the past almost decade or so.

We all have those moments – should we turn left? Or right?

Go to college or get married? Or both?

Have children or wait?

Eat that cheeseburger or grab a salad?

So many seemingly unrelated choices that form our reality.

But what if we had turned right instead of left?

Taken that gap year to Europe?

Lived impulsively or more prudently?

Here’s our chance to explore those choices and remind us of the ones we did take, and where we are now.

It’s not simply about regret or justification; it’s so much deeper than that.

Let’s go.

The first prompt is an assignment. It was the first one I was given at the start of this session.

Make a list of life choices.

They are not necessarily things you would change or keep. We’re not there yet. Just the choices in your life.

For an example, here are three of mine (of a much longer list):

1. Choosing a major for college

2. Reading Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone
3. Attending a political protest

They seem innocent enough, but have all had a major impact on my life and future choices.

New Year, New You?

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​It’s not just about breaking bad habits or starting an exercise regiment. Don’t forget to nourish your soul and your spirit. That can mean spiritually, which can refer to a deeper religious mindfulness or it can be secular – something to keep your mind and body in balance as you tackle new things this new year.

For all of us, this will be a challenging year because of the new US presidential administration, regardless of who you voted for. This post is not meant to be political, but it is certainly a factor in many people’s lives. I would recommend to everyone reading this to get on your cable or dish network’s version of On Demand and watch the most recent black-ish episode entitled Lemons. It really does give a good look into what people of all backgrounds are feeling, and may help some of us who don’t understand the anxiety and fright to understand it a little bit better. It’s not even about changing minds; it’s about empathy and continued discussion.

For some of us, this is also our third new year since summer ended. Back in September and October was the Jewish New Year, and at the end of November when Advent began was the Catholic New Year and the beginning of the liturgical calendar and of course, we’ve just celebrated a global new year on January 1st. Coming up on January 28th is the Chinese New Year, celebrated by many Asian countries as well as in places like the US, Canada, and the UK where Asians live in greater numbers.

I’ve actually used each of the three previous new years to set goals and then reevaluate them when the next new year approaches. I find that setting three or six month goals, or a combination of both is a good way to not only stay on track, but also a good way to not burn myself out with too much new activity and change all at once. Another good reason is instead of just giving up on resolutions that didn’t work out too well or were to much at the start, we can reflect on what went wrong, what went right, and how do we continue down the path of change or sameness and adjust our goals accordingly.

Some suggestions that I’ve used in the past (or have been recently suggested):

1. JournalingWords, Art or both. Simple journaling can be a list of what you’ve done for the day, a list of goals and how they worked out, bullet journaling for those of us that are not into lengthy writing.

2. Jars to keep track of the good things throughout the year. I did this one year, and I loved reading all the good from the year before on New Year’s Eve.

3. Wish Jar. What are some of the things you want this year? Did you get them done?

4. Prompt jar. This is great for writers or artists who sometimes need a pick me up. It’s a good idea to drop some of our extra ideas into this jar for those dry times. We all know feast or famine.

5. Surprise Me Jar. Take a walk. Go out for coffee or tea. Go to the park with your camera. We all need spontaneity, but not all of us are spontaneous. This can often help.

6. Quotation Jar or Pouch. When you see or hear a good quotation or get a good fortune cookie, drop it into the jar or pouch and when you’re not in a good space or need a little motivating help, choose one randomly and read it. You can also use this opportunity to write about it, Instagram it, draw it, or photograph it. I was wary of Instagram, but I find that I enjoy its central visuality a lot more than I expected to. I use it nearly every day and then find a way to share those visuals here.

7. Once-a-Months. Once a month, randomly or scheduled, do something you normally don’t do. My family reads comic books, but I don’t. A few months ago, I picked up The Rough Riders. It was something different, and I enjoyed it. If you’re not an outdoors person, try a nature walk or go to a local park that’s still close to civilization. A third suggestion would be for the church-goers. If you only worship in a formal setting, look up local shrines or other religious places in your area that you’ve never been to and sit quietly, meditate, pray a rosary or something that fits into your life.

Last year, my husband proclaimed TSNTry Something New, and he and we did. It was different and we kept open minds about each other’s hobbies and interests.

TSN.