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.