Once this is all over (and it WILL be over!), it feels as though I’m going to have to justify how I’ve spent my time. If I haven’t made the most of this chance to finish that novel, or whatever, then I’ll have failed.
I think a lot of us are feeling that pressure: to have a ‘to do list’ (that includes things like learning Mandarin or finally cracking the ukulele) or to ‘improve ourselves’ in some way.
But what’s wrong with just getting through this, the best way we can? For most of us (I’m not including the people having BBQs on beaches), this isn’t exactly a holiday, is it? Our minds are full of all kinds of fears and worries. We might even be ill ourselves, or grieving or stressing about someone who is. And that’s not exactly conducive to writing.
I know that for some (lucky) people, writing is an escape and they can switch off from the real world and find solace in their imagination. And if that’s you, great. I’m hoping, this week, after a busy first two weeks of ‘lockdown’, to finally get into something of a routine and perhaps manage to put pen to paper myself (and do more than just my Morning Pages).
But if we can’t write, I don’t think we should beat ourselves up.I am being productive. I’m sure you are, too. I’m cooking like a crazy person (and hoovering. Because I find both those things relaxing); I’m supporting (on-line) the seniors’ writing group that I run fortnightly in Stratford; I’m getting food for my mum and taking it to her (we can’t get home deliveries for love nor money) and of course, I’m having my daily walk.
Bonnie the dog has never been happier (see photo above). Pheasants in our vicinity – the super-duper ones that managed not to get shot during ‘the season’ – have never been more worried. She got daily walks before, of course but never for this long or with both of us at the same time.
So, here’s what I HAVEN’T done:
1. Everyone is saying what ‘wonderful homes and gardens’ we’re all going to have by the end of this. Apart from watering my pots, I can honestly say I have done NO gardening. Not a smidgen. I haven’t even pulled up a weed. But I have played lots of table tennis.
2. I tried to do Pilates from home (I usually go to a weekly class in the village). Our teacher has put a class on-line and I paid my money and had extravagant plans to do the video ‘every day’. I had visions of a lean and supple me… and the first time I tried it, I did something to my back – like pulled a muscle. It’s OK now but took about 5 days to stop hurting. So, that’s put me off that idea!
3. I haven’t even attempted Joe Wicks. (see above)
4. I haven’t panicked or tried to do anything about my hair. What is this obsession with hair and how we are all going to manage until we can get to a salon?
I’m just going to tie mine up, or stick it under a hat. I have one of those ‘sprays’ for my roots and if it gets bad enough, I’ll order a colour on-line and do it myself. I have NEVER had long hair in my life (when I was a child, everyone thought I was a boy because my hair was always so short. Thanks, Mum). So, this could be my chance to have a pony tail! Wheee. I’m excited now.
But equally, if you are looking for a distraction and you do want to do some writing, then don’t forget my free-to-enter Random Word competition, which closes on 16th April. All the details are here.
Retreat West have just launched their April micro fiction competition (closing 12th April). The prompt is a photograph and your entry has to be exactly 100 words. All the details are here.
And if you want more, then Cathy’s Comps and Calls for April is here.
One of the comps featured is the Spectator’s latest (but be quick – you’ve only got until 8th April), which is:
8th Apr Spectator competition No. 3144: alphabetical. ‘You are invited to submit a poem, six lines at the most, containing all the letters of the alphabet. Please email entries to email@example.com by midday on 8th April.
Take care of yourselves ’til next time! x