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Writing in the Time of Quarantine

Updated: Jun 5, 2023

Staying Motivated, Fighting Anxiety, and Other Tales From Lockdown

Hello friends. It's been about two weeks since we last spoke. I'd like to be able to tell you it's because I've been super productive lately, but that would be a lie. The truth is, the last few months have been characterized more by fits and starts, days of staring at a blinking cursor and a blank screen, and an utter restlessness that's been hard to control.

This is the new reality in the days of COVID-19.

It's been a tough few months for all of us, and it's not surprising that there are a few cracks around the edges of society these days (I know I'm putting that mildly). So I definitely don't believe that my experience has been nearly as bad as many folks. I've been lucky enough that I've been healthy, and this virus hasn't physically affected myself, my family, or my friends. Financially, that's a different story... but also not unique.

In the middle of all of this (waves hands at the world), I had a book release for "Redemption & Ruin." Thankfully, this as well as trying to understand the marketing part of this whole writing gig, managed to take up a good amount of my time. I think I've learned more about what not to do than what I should actually be doing, but that's still learning. So I guess that's a good thing, right?

But when it comes to actually writing, I've had a pretty hard time. I managed to plow through the first ten chapters of my manuscript for "The Miranda Project" by late April, before grinding to a complete standstill. I had written a long scene that I really was happy with, but then after doing more research realized that it wasn't going to work. I'd ended up having to delete about 4K words and was feeling disheartened. I was now stuck and not sure where to go next with this story.

Additionally, the sense of claustrophobia from being stuck within the same four walls for almost two months was becoming more intense. The feeling of the walls closing in was palpable. I'm not a fan of small spaces on a good day. Now imagine being stuck in a one bedroom apartment since March. That's been my life.

Now, I'm the type of person who needs to socialize. Not a lot, but some. I'm very much an ambivert in that way. It doesn't even need to be much. Just a trip to a bookstore and a light conversation with one of the clerks can do wonders for my psyche. I need to get out, and then I need to come home and recharge my batteries. With my extrovert half going stir crazy and climbing up the walls, my introvert half never seemed to get a chance to recharge at all.

On top of this, I deal with a general anxiety disorder and depression. I take medication for both, but with my routine thrown off by not working, I can't say that I was taking them regularly like I should have been. So to say that I've been a mess off and on for a few months now is underselling it. There are days when all I do is pace my apartment, other days where I barely get out of bed, and still more where I stare at my laptop all day wishing the words to come of their own free will with no results.

That's not to say that there weren't some good days. I managed to bust out the first chapter for Part III of "The Forbidden Scrolls" a few weeks back. I still plan on finishing "The Miranda Project" first, but I wanted to get the beginning of the last part of the trilogy down while I had the inspiration. And if I get inspiration in one project over the other, I may bounce back and forth to keep things fresh going forward.

The good news is that I'm regular with my meds again. As such, I've managed to put out an average of 1K words a day for the last couple of days. If I can keep that momentum up, I'm sure that I'll have a manuscript for "The Miranda Project" in a few months. I'm hoping to have it out and in your hands early next year. I expect this story to be part one of a trilogy as well, but definitely shorter than "Redemption & Ruin" was. That book was a monster.

All in all, it feels good to be back on the horse and writing again. It's like riding a bike in that you never really forget how to do it, but that's a muscle that definitely requires constant use or else it atrophies. I already know that I'm going to have to revise this section that I've been working on the last few days, but the important thing is that I'm writing again.

As for the future, it seems like we're all going to be trapped in quarantine for a while still. Here in Arizona, we're experiencing a spike in cases. I'm personally not going anywhere except to the grocery store with a mask on, and to swap my son back and forth with his mother. I hope you're all staying safe as well, and hopefully we can all get through this together.

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