So many parts of "pandemic living" are actually welcome. There are fewer commitments and nowhere to go. Curbside pickup grocery shopping is lovely. But constant noise and being endlessly in the same space (yet never alone) has definitely taken its toll on my writing.
It's hard to explain why. Some of it feels obvious, but there's something nameless about why the cumulative effects of the changes over the last year don't leave me the time or energy to have complete thoughts, let alone put them on paper. Summer has always been the hardest time for me to write, and this year has been like being stuck in a perpetual summer. Is that a bad thing? Yes and no. Sitting down to write is impossible when everything around me needs to be cleaned all the time. Do I clean all the time? No. That's why everything needs to be cleaned all the time. Food production is another constant. It's hard to sit down to write when I check the clock and realize lunch needs to be ready in 20 minutes to fit the gap in the remote learning schedule.
Writing aside, I'm able to work on so many other creative projects. I learned how to macramé a few hanging pots. I burned through a pile of cross stitch projects I've had stashed in a drawer. I finished the pair of a knitted slipper I've had sitting around for years. I've been playing around with art journaling. I sewed hats and chair cushions and fixed pants. I did some acrylic painting. I painted a backyard table to look like a watermelon. I learned some new video editing tricks to help publish the Space Mantis Podcast my group of writing buddies has been working on putting out there for years. I've been having a blast with some of the new things I've been learning to do.
I even managed to blast through 150 hours of classes to keep my teaching certificate current. As soon as trainings shifted online, I was finally able to fulfill so many requirements that were alluding me. The pandemic has been a blessing in so many weird ways. Why can't I squish in just a little more writing here and there?
Of course, social media is another toxic wasteland these days, so it's hard to drag myself over there to post anything, which is death to a self-published writer. Plus, when I'm not writing much, and my Twitter is primarily writing-focused, what do I post about?! I can kick myself forever for not finding a way to self-promote more effectively during a year when people were trapped inside, but that's not going to get me anywhere now.
My heart really goes out to those who are truly struggling, either with their mental or physical health or barely surviving financially, or all of the above. I understand why this was truly a hellish year for many, especially all those extroverts out there. I love you (from a distance) and will never really "get" you, extroverts. I should probably have put all that at the top of the blog, because I doubt you made it all the way to the end without throwing tomatoes at your screen.
All I can really do is to keep hanging in there, keep trying to do a little better than I did the day before. I'm ready to get back to writing, but real summer is almost here, so it's probably going to be a while before I get back into a groove. Until then, I'll take up my 83rd new hobby and create something else!