Please let me know what you’ve been doing during the Stay-at-home order where you are! Emails so far range from “I can’t focus so I’m sleeping a lot” to “I’ve written an entire novel and reorganized my 2000 square foot house.”
I fall between those two extremes. One of the most powerful and unforgettable blogs of encouragement I’ve read in the past few months wrote, “It’s okay if you’re not okay.”
Those six words were like an epiphany for me. Initially, I wondered what was wrong with me – I struggled to focus and giving up, tackled the closets and the file cabinets. I shredded tons of stuff that needed it, found clothes that will better suit others, and found the little pocket knife I lost while moving in December. That about describes March 17 – April 1.
It was an April Fool’s Day that didn’t happen. But I read that blog. And laughed for quite a while. I brought up an old short story, worked about an hour on it, filed it in a new file with a new file name, and took a nap. When I woke up, I didn’t feel guilty about that nap. It was okay if I wasn’t okay. And a nap helped.
I’ve learned in a different context how to take care of myself – and that’s been a gift. I did complete the final draft of the next Amazing Grace story – KEEPING FAITH. Daria and I cooked up the wacky idea of thanking our fans for their faithfulness during this long wait for new book with a short collection of our short stories – the ones that either won awards or were published many years ago. So, that’s coming together nicely and will be launched on July 4! For a mere $1.99!
The WC Publishing team came together and got Nick Marziani’s new novel published and launched on May 31, an appropriate day to launch a Catholic Christian action-adventure novel! We decided to launch despite all the reasons why it might not be a good idea – is there any time better than the present one? Maybe – or maybe not.
I’ve learned about the wonders of Draft2Digital (thank you, Jack!) and have jumped on the Indie Bookstore bandwagon and now shop at BookShop.org for my books (thanks to IBPA!) Our business model has changed to take advantage of some of these more advantageous platforms and for our authors, I suspect they’ll see more sales and just maybe, by working together and sharing those victories with the world, we’ll save the Indie Bookstore. And, we’d better.
I’m still taking a short nap almost every afternoon. I swim for a half-hour in the morning at the community pool, have breakfast and work until noon. I take a break – focus is still a challenge many days – then I go back to work. I have resumed keeping my tasks written down on a calendar where I can see them and mark them off – but not so many I could never get them done. Being home is now helping me to be far more productive at the company and my writing.
So, I hope that even though the world may be opening up again, you’ll be careful and take care of your mind and your body. Laugh much, hug your loved ones when you can and if you can’t visit, call them – often. Wash your hands and wear your mask when indoors with people.
Set yourself free of the expectations that you’re too cool to get caught up in all that’s going on in the world. That you’re too strong to be affected. That you “should have” gotten more done in the past three months. Kiss that “should have” goodbye and remember, “It’s okay to not be okay.”
Writers write – that’s how we stay sane. I’m not at all convinced that it matters what you write, just as long as you write some, every day.
Stay well and I’ll see you next week! And don’t forget – let me know what you’ve been doing, or struggling with, okay? Email me at nancy@NLQuatrano.com. I send you a big virus and germ-free hug!