No Place to Go? No Problem.

I am NEVER without something to do!

Our Tuesday Fox supplied this week’s topic when she asked, “How has the ongoing pandemic affected your creativity?”

The beginning of the shutdown was great for my creativity outlets other than music and writing. If you’ve known me for a while, you’re aware that I enjoy playing in bands and orchestras, sewing projects, scrapbooking, making greeting cards, and all sorts of crafts.  Since all my activities (music rehearsals, sewing groups, scrapbooking dates) were canceled and my class was taught online, I spent the better part of each day working on sewing projects such as quilt tops (in preparation for when the quilt group would resume), masks, hospital gowns and doll clothes for my youngest granddaughter and my great-granddaughters. I created and facilitated all sorts of promo campaigns for myself and my publisher, and things were going great. Thankfully, my husband’s health was still pretty good back then, so I didn’t have to worry about breathing treatments, medications, and getting him back and forth to doctor visits. My time, other than cooking and cleaning (and hubby did a lot of the cooking back then) was pretty much my own.

As far as writing, I kept up with blogging and continued to work on a couple of story ideas that I’d had brewing, but I didn’t actually finish anything other than a short novella that was included in an anthology. I’m not sure what the problem was. Perhaps I had too many other things going, or maybe I work better with a deadline. Perhaps I was too worried about if and when the virus might affect me or those around me to focus on creating a full conflict and resolution for my characters. Anyway, I just had a difficult time sitting down and working my way through an entire story. 

As time went on, though, my writing tribe came through with a marvelous solution: Zoom write-ins. Two or three times a week, we would log on to the given link. We’d take turns stating what we wanted to write in the next hour. Then we’d turn off our cameras and microphones (staying logged in to the Zoom meeting) and work. At the end of the hour we’d turn our mics and cameras back on to check in. Sometimes we’d spend time brainstorming, if one of us had a sticky plot point we couldn’t work through. And then we’d write again. We’d continue for three or four hours, and at the end of the time most of us had something to show for it, even if it was researching a specific question related to our story. Thanks to the accountability provided by these write-ins, I was able to complete another novella and I think I’m well on my way to finishing another. 

Since those of us who participate are spread out geographically, we have no intention of stopping the practice. There are in-person write-ins that I could go to, when I feel confident enough to do so. But for now I’ll work here at my own desk while connecting virtually to my tribe of fellow writers, all of us creating colorful stories. 

And when my eyes become tired from staring at my screen, I’ll go downstairs to my sewing room and work on a different kind of project. Or I’ll take out my oboe and work on creating music. Or–well, you get the picture.


About Patricia Kiyono

During her first career, Patricia Kiyono taught elementary music, computer classes, elementary classrooms, and junior high social studies. She now teaches music education at the university level. She lives in southwest Michigan with her husband, not far from her five children, nine grandchildren (so far), and great-granddaughters. Current interests, aside from writing, include sewing, crocheting, scrapbooking, and music. A love of travel and an interest in faraway people inspires her to create stories about different cultures. Check out her sweet historical contemporary romances at her Amazon author page:
This entry was posted in author's life, blogging, creativity, Dealing with stress, experiences, Life, Patricia Kiyono, Random thoughts, time management, writing and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to No Place to Go? No Problem.

  1. I have always been envious of your ability to keep so many creative outlets going at once.
    I do love the idea of the Zoom writers’ meetings. I would love to search one out, but it seems that nearly every time I go for a live-stream, I get interrupted by one person or another.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I always get more done when I’m with other people who are doing the same thing. That’s why I enjoy going to scrapbooking retreats, quilting groups, and orchestra rehearsals. The write-ins guarantee that I’ll work on writing (or writing-related things like blog posts, promo stuff, etc) at a specified time.


  2. Grant at Tame Your Book! says:

    Thanks, Patricia! Like you, I took the cart of lemons and started to squeeze. Then sold the lemonade through an online site and… Well, you get the picture. There are so many outlets if we allow our minds and skill sets to expand.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Jeff Salter says:

    As I predicted, your response to this topic sounds exhausting to me. I marvel at your level of energy, optimism, organization, etc.
    Reading about your writing ZOOMS, I’m reminding that the beginning of the covid lockdown was also about when our Write-A-Thon group petered out. Maybe it was the format, maybe the scheduling — not sure. In some ways (to me), it was an intrusion in my schedule… but in many other ways, it was a very productive time — those weekly hours of sprinting for nearly 7 years.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      I miss the Write-a-Thons too, but with my ADHD I had trouble with the one hour thing. I need a longer period of time so that I can get up every ten minutes to get a drink of water, stretch, check emails, sew a seam or two, crochet a row, call a friend, etc, etc. So the three to four hour Zoom format allows me to do that and still get a lot of writing done. In fact, I’m supposed to be in one now…

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Elaine Cantrell says:

    One thing is sure; you’ll never be bored.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Diane Burton says:

    Congratulations for accomplishing so much during the covid shutdown. It was a difficult time for me to concentrate on writing. Now, the desire to write is coming back.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. You are always so creative. I love the cards that you make. The author Zoom meetings sound like a great way to stay in contact with your writing group and get some work done.


    • Patricia Kiyono says:

      Zoom has been a lifesaver for me during the whole pandemic, since I enjoy connecting with people. I’m able to “meet” with people and not worry about whether or not I’m exposing myself to anything. Both of my writing groups have used it since the beginning of the shutdown, and I’ve been able to attend local and national conferences this way.


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