Productivity For Writers. Part 1: COPING


Almost three months have gone by since this social-distancing safety measure was put in place, by the Canadian government, to prevent more spread of COVID-19. The global spread and deaths have not ceased yet and it happens to be only starting to impact places like South America when here, in the northern hemisphere, a small light at the end of the tunnel is starting to shine. The modest decrease in the numbers of infected people and with fewer deaths have given place to finally start relaxing measures. People desperate to reconnect are populating the streets, parks and stores, but the reality is that this virus is here to stay for the long run or until our limited resources and knowledge about it are ready to combat it somehow. 

How COVID-19 Has Affected Our Way Of Life

As a result of social-distancing, we’ve all been forced to change the way we live. We have either been staying home as much as possible, working (those who still have the blessing to be working) from home, or continuing with life as normally as we possibly can under the circumstances. And no, Ellen DeGeneres, it has not been boring or great for everyone, for sure.  

Photo by Nandhu Kumar from Pexels

When the circumstances push you to the limits, life can become truly hard and painful. I normally love my life: my time with my girls, my job, my relationship with my parents, my work at home and being a wife, my faith and my passion for writing. Personally, this is how I feel, pushed to the limits in all the aspects. Please know I’m not complaining. I am aware many of us are going through hardships. But today, I want to share my experiences with being under quarantine/self-isolation and how it has impacted my life. I also want to tell you how as a result and response to this situation, I needed to come up with strategies to remain sane, while responding to those who need me and remaining productive.  I don’t want to let go of that space in my life I’ve worked so hard to dedicate to writing. 

As a mother of young kids (who’s never homeschooled before) organizing some kind of schedule on-the-fly, sorting out teachers’ detailed emails containing lessons, instructions, links and attachments, and going through school material was nothing short of a nightmare. Not to mention teaching a hyperactive child who can’t concentrate. 

Endless hours of work for the little ones too

As a working parent, with three weekly staff meetings, training and having to report on 20 hours of work-from-home every week, it has been exhausting and incredibly stressful. The stress coming from not having enough hours in the day to fit in the cooking and housework schedules I share with my husband, while also, after homeschooling, minding the kids and trying to keep them busy and quiet while dad works. It forced me to push my own working hours at the end of a full day when my husband was done with his work. I quickly saw my writing time disappear. After a totally crazy day of survival, finding the time and energy to write became an impossible feat. 

Photo by Pedro Figueras from Pexels

As a daughter, whose ageing parents live alone overseas and with my mum undergoing chemotherapy, it has been devastating not to be able to go see them and look after her. The hardest part is the worry, only cushioned by calls over the phone or computer. The saddest thing was having to cancel travel arrangements only a week before the trip was scheduled, due to borders closing everywhere. The uncertainty of these times can be devastating.

As someone who believes in God and the Bible, these past three months, have been a real trial of faith. I have been pushed to the limit in my attempt to understand why things happened the way they did which pushed me to read the Scriptures more and communicate with God through prayer more earnestly. I am learning the true meaning of “trusting that God knows best and has a reason for everything.”

Photo by John-Mark Smith from Pexels

I’m sure this is a common scenario for many of us. We’re all dealing with different struggles, and those have only been worsened or accentuated by the current situation for each one of us. 

Why Things Get Out Of Hand

With everything happening unexpectedly, I felt choked underneath a world of responsibilities, worries and stress. Tears, frustration, yelling, and chaos became part of our days at home. I was heading towards a burnout or worse, a nervous breakdown. To avoid it I was forced to stop, take a breath, and rethink what was really going on, reconsidering my response to the situation.  

I realized that when there is no strategy, no plan, things get out of control. 

The other realization is that I had to accept that things would not be done exactly as I wanted or as perfectly as I would like. We would not be able to cover all homeschooling material as families with moms who don’t work. I would have to sacrifice perfect cleaning and tidying up of the house because other things needed more attention. We’re really living unprecedented times.  

A total and quick reorganization was required. I needed perspective and acceptance that I could not do everything. 

What To Do

On the writing front, going back to basics with a pen and paper worked.

On the organized side, giving each task a clear place and time helped a lot. Sounds obvious, but it’s hard to maintain, especially when you are not naturally structured or organized.

Photo by Jess Bailey from Pexels

I have never been an organized or structured person, but I much rather suffer through the small pain of having to plan my days ahead of time, as best I can, than continue living in chaos. It has become basic survival, not only for my own mental health but for that of the entire family. It’s times like these that force us to step up to the plate. 

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Posted in Resources For Writers, Writer, Writing Journey and tagged , , , .

Laurie Hazel is a Women's Fiction and Inspirational Romance Writer based in Hamilton, ON where she lives with her husband and two young daughters. Her stories are characterized by wholesome, sweet romances where courage, hope and strong faith take centre stage in the face of adversity. Her work has been published by Whispering Willow Press and Colorful Pen Press.

2 Comments

  1. This is a shining example of telling it like it is with poignancy and heart. It gives hope to all who have struggles at this difficult time, regardless of their circumstances. As a retired preschool teacher, I have often considered the challenges young families are facing now. This article has brilliantly captured life for them with an underlying message of hope for the future. Adversity may help us see how we can find strength in ourselves that we never knew we had.

    • Thank you for your kind words, Judith. I am conscious difficult times have touched us all in our life at some point. I can’t help thinking about our older generations (grandparents who’ve lived through the wars, the Spanish Flu and the great depression) or the Baby Boomers (our parents, who are the ones who pulled the world out of a hole and gave rebirth to the global economy and today are still moving the world economically as Gen Xers and Millenials struggle to keep afloat). Today, we’re all in this together, but each one of us battling from different angles and different experiences.

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