A Letter to You

Hello Everyone!

Well, we told you we’d be back in 2020 – but we didn’t anticipate it to be during a time such as this.

Where I live, we are on a “Shelter in Place” order (well, our governor has a different name for it, but its the same idea) so only essential businesses are open and we’re encouraged to only leave our homes if it is completely necessary.

I expected to experience a lot of things during this time – anxiety, loneliness, boredom…what I didn’t expect was to experience writer stereotypes.

We know that writing is a mostly solitary art.  And I can’t begin to mention the amount of comments I’ve received that say “Wow, you must be loving being home all day.  So much time to write!” or “Are you using this as inspiration for your next horror story?”

*Insert sighs and eye rolls here*

No.  I’m not loving being home all day.  As both a writer and a librarian I get a lot of people who assume I’m super introverted.  And while crowds of 1000s of people aren’t always my jam, I’m used to seeing my friends on weekends.  I’m used to walking around parks or shopping centers, or restaurants/cafe’s and just being around people.  I like being around people. I’m used to popping over to a friends house at random just to say hello. I’m also working at home, so I don’t have all day to write, because I’m still working – as an administrative librarian, I still have work to do to make sure our libraries are ready to rock and roll when we eventually reopen them.

Also, no.  I’m not using this as inspiration.  Part of the appeal of horror is that it’s an outlet for anxiety.  I’ll write more about this on my personal blog, but people like reading horror because they aren’t living it.  Because it’s controlled fear and anxiety.  Something they can put all those feelings into, and come to a resolution, and that helps make real life more livable.  But right now…not so much.

Anyway.  So even for introverts, even for writers – now is a time for self-care. I know I’ve really relied on the NaNoWriMo organization (The Office of Letters and Light) to both bring me some social aspect in a time of seclusion, but they’ve also been providing some really great self care tips during their #StayHomeWriMo campaign.

Inspired by their prompts, I figured Rin and I could use this platform to share 1. the campaign, and 2. how we are using it to help ourselves.

I have no idea what our post schedule will be like, I don’t want to add any extra pressures to either myself or Rin during this time. But we’ll be sharing things periodically here.

So – I’m going to end this from one of the #StayHomeWriMo prompts from day 1:

Write and mail a letter to a friend or family member.

You, readers, are my friends so here is my letter to you during this time.

Dear Reader,

How are you? I hope you are feeling and doing well. These are strange times we’re in, aren’t they? Well, I want to remind you that it’s okay to feel whatever it is you’re feeling.  Whether that’s feeling scared, or anxious, or unsure – all of those feelings are valid.  Also valid are feelings of positivity. I know that sounds weird, but maybe you’re happy to be able to work at home with your pets rather than in your cubicle for a while. Maybe you are taking this time to catch up on home renovations that you’ve been putting off – or maybe you’re like me and you’re caught up on laundry in the first time in….forever? It’s okay to feel…okay. You may also fluctuate between all of those feelings too. I know I do.

What’s important is to not have expectations.  If you’re a writer, don’t expect to be able to finish your novel during this time.  If you’re a knitter, it’s okay if you don’t finish that cardigan. If you’ve ever thought “oh you know…I’ve always wanted to start *insert a new hobby here*” but you only have the energy to play Animal Crossing…that’s okay too. There are a lot of posts going around about writers and artists who created their greatest works during hard times – but don’t let that pressure dictate your action. If it gives you drive – drive on. If it makes you feel crummy, just know that you still have time to finish whatever it is you’re working on, and just because creative expression was their outlet, it doesn’t have to be yours.

And just like all those feelings listed above, you might fluctuate. For me, I’ve gotten both of my blogs back up and running, submitted a short story for possible publication, and almost doubled my workout efforts  – but I’ve also slept in a lot, taken longer showers, have done so. many. face masks, and yes..played many hours of Animal Crossing.

So take each day as its own thing.  Save the comparisons for another time. Don’t forget to breathe.

Until next time,

B. Strong

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