A Day in My “New Normal”

I know that we have all had to adjust, or are still adjusting, to a new normal routine. Most of the world is changing with isolation, quarantines, and distance learning right now and where I live is no exception. While I am not someone who habitually goes out very often, several of my daily habits have changed significantly.

Some people may be asking themselves how much could have really changed in my life if I don’t usually go out and about. Well…I am a teacher. I no longer driver 30 minutes every morning in order to spend my day teaching reading, writing, and music to my tiny, tiny classes in my tiny, rural school. I don’t get to see my babies in person. I don’t get to finish the school year with my 8th graders, who will no longer be in my classes after May. I no longer spend my hour roundtrip listening to audio books with my 7 year old.

I now create videos and forms for my reading and writing kids on an online classroom. I was told that I did not have to create content for music students, just send links to videos. I do, however, have some videos of me reading music based picture books to my littles. We had to cancel our spring concert and we are all sad about it.

Instead of waking up at 6 am and rushing myself and the 7 yr old to get dressed, ready, and on the road, we wake up slowly on our own. I get extra baby snuggles instead of handing the 7 month old to her grandmother for daycare. That makes the classwork very interesting, by the way.

While people are helping their children with distance crisis learning (this is not technically homeschooling) I am creating content for my students…and also helping my 2nd grader do her distance learning…and also taking care of most of the cooking, cleaning, yard work, laundry, cleaning…my father is still mostly unable to do anything for himself and my mother mostly tries to lock herself in her room for alone time whenever possible (helping Dad and her online job takes a lot of time and energy). 3 adults, 2 kids, 4 animals, 5 very different classes to create and teach long distance and trying to watch tv/movies, read, write, or breath on my own. I leave the house about once a week. Most of my adult interaction came from my co-workers/school family so I don’t get ‘in person’ chats much anymore. Thank God for my snapchat, messenger, email buddies!

I miss my students. I miss taking my daughters out to places (we went on a walk last week but between weather and virus, we keep home). I miss being able to send someone else on errands because, right now, I am the only person leaving the house to go shopping or pay bills or any of the other myriad of things that need done.

That is how my days are different. How about you? Have your days changed significantly?

Saturday Stories

As part of my goals for 2016, I sat down and came up with a schedule for my blog and BookTube posts. Now, I may post more than I have set up and I may, just may, not post as much (sigh…I know it will happen. I try so hard…but I digress), but at the moment my set up will look something like this:

Sunday – video (and possibly written blog ) Weekly Goals, TBR, and anything relevant on the schedule. 

Monday – Video “random” life topics. Movies, TV, Music, Writing, etc. Non-reading related items. 

Tuesday – Blog Spotlight on —Artists, Illustrators, etc…similar to Author Interview Fridays but may not include interviews. 

Wednesay – Blog and Video – The Return of What are You Reading Wednesdays…book reviews, TBR updates, etc. 

Blog – Writer’s Quote Wednesday

Thursday – off day

Friday – Blog Author Interview Fridays

Saturday – Blog Saturday’s Stories – Weekly Updates and Writing Excerpts. 

So that is my update for this week…I am also aiming to include weekly word counts and things worked on.

The Siren’s Tale (a short story) – 581 words

The Way We Were… (novel)- 846 words

Paulonious Punk (children’s book) – 92 words

Blog Posts – 311 words

Total Since 1/1/16 – 1830 words

Not a bad way to start out the year, if I do say so myself! Leave me a comment with your own new goals, word counts, etc. I can’t wait to hear from you!

For now, I’m going to end this week’s Saturday Stories with an excerpt from the first draft of The Way We Were… that I wrote this morning. This is from the villain’s perspective:

 

“See, here’s the thing,” Collin’s steel edged voice mirrored his father’s cultured tones to perfection, his hard gaze making even veterans of The Foundation flinch away. “Everyone is flawed and self-conscious. Everyone worries. The more you care, the more easily you get stressed. Everyone,” he pushed on the word again, physically leaning into it as though testing the strength of the thing, “Everyone has a weakness to exploit. We use that and we can get in anywhere, with anyone.”

A scrawny, scruffy young man in the middle of the seated group raised his hand tentatively. Knowing enough to accept the following glower in his direction as instruction to speak, but not quite smart enough yet to keep his mouth shut anyway, the twenty-something softly starter, “What you’re talking about is…” he swallowed visibly, his adam’s apple bobbing with the strain, “Well, isn’t that a type of,” he was almost hyperventilating by this point but pushed on admirably, “emotional abuse? That can break people, sir, irrevocably.”

“Psych major,” Collin growled the half question across the stage in Peter’s direction.

Pete merely tipped his beer while inclining his head and lazily reminded his friend, “You thought one or two of them might be helpful.”

“I’m a flippin’ genius,” Collin sighed sarcastically, obviously dismissive and agitated by the truth of the matter.

“No one here to argue that point,” Pete taunted half-heartedly. “You,” he pointed the bottle in his hand at the still-standing psychologist, “It can break people if done hard enough, long enough. But most of what we do is more like a mental splinter. We needle and we agitate with small gestures and comments. We talk about how so-and-so has found such a great job or mention that 5 star restaurant we just visited, and threw left overs out from, to someone who is obviously struggling. We talk about the resort we visited last week to a friend who puts all of their travels on hold to merely survive and care for their family. No bragging involved, just softly worded side notes really, but those kind work their way in to brains and later on, instead of sleeping, he or she will be crying into the darkness. This works especially well with anxiety suffered and parents. Yes, it is mental and emotional abuse. It breaks them down, it blocks them from seeing the way to their dreams, and it keeps them right where we want them.”

 

Until Next Time….

 

 

Writer’s Quote Wednesday – Consistently

Welcome to another Writer’s Quote Wednesday! Want to know more about this weekly phenomenon? Check out Silver Threading’s wonderful post: here.

This week I want to talk to you through quotes about writing consistently. I have to admit here, right off the bat, that I am not the best one to be in charge of this topic. My writing schedule can be amazingly erratic and I am often impressed if I get even a sentence or two completed in a day. However, I have been thinking a lot recently about the need to be more consistent in my daily scheduling.

For example, I always make a list in my mind of the things that I need to finish during a day and a tentative time table. I invariably wind up out of order, out of time, and with a list of items left un-done. Making a hard copy of the to-do list usually helps…if I give myself the time to write it. The problem with that is I am often doing several things at once. I don’t manage time well I suppose, especially since I’ve been writing for most of my life and should have already figured out my high creativity times, etc. But as I slowly work on getting it together, I like to think of the following quotes and try to model my routine after these wise words.

the ‘wait and see what happens’ part gets me every time!

pretty sure he had a SCHEDULE all bold and capitalized letters for him…wowsers

Make sure you Make Time to do what Makes you HAPPY!

This is so sadly true! I sometimes find myself having to FORCE writing time, or I don’t do it at all. And, let’s be honest here, I love writing and maybe 5 people. MAYBE. the rest I deal with because I can’t just live in a bungalow with a tower, my rottweiler, 2 cats, and the kid. I know…I don’t have the budget for it and you have to talk to people at the grocery store or they think you’re creepy.

And Finally:

If you don’t write consistently, then the strong desire and passion you have for writing will wither. It is with the watering of the words that you make novels grow. Leaving a sparse baby sentence alone in the glare of life’s rays with cause it to wither and hide away, deep in the soul where you may never find it again.