By the time this is published, we will be almost a year into the official declaration of the COVID-19 emergency in the UK. Since then we have been in and out of various stages of quarantine, we have been isolated from our friends and families and we have lost so many people on the way. It has not been a good year for so many of us.
I am one of the lucky ones. In the last year I have lost income, but I still have my job. I don’t see my friends any more, unless it is over a Skype chat. I miss seeing people and going to places that I used to spend time at: cafés, galleries, museums, that sort of thing. However, as a writer I still have one place I can go – my imagination.
Or I used to.
Like many others, I now work from home. The place where I used to sit and write in my notebooks has now become my office. I spend too much time there. What was once my sanctuary, the place where I could go to get away from things, became a place that I had to be, nine hours or more a day. As a result, my writing suffered. When you spend so much time in front of a work-supplied laptop, the last thing that springs to mind is to spend more time in front of another laptop, trying to write. As days blurred together with no way to distinguish them, I decided that I had to do something to get part of my life back. So, I established a new routine.
Every weekday, I am online to work just after 6:30 am. I spend my time in front of their screen, my radio tuned to something vaguely engaging – Radio 4 or Radio 4 Extra for preference. Then, come 3 pm, I stop. That’s it. No more working for the day. I put the work things away and go out for a walk. It gets me out of the house and clears my head. I get back home by 4 pm and get out my Japanese textbooks and language lessons. Until 5 pm, I am immersed in my language studies. After that, it is time to cook dinner and spend time with my daughter. There are days that she is the only other human being that I see.
After 7 pm, it’s time to socialise. There is the usual round of friends and family to talk to, and the (now weekly) meetings of the local writing group on Skype. A couple of nights a month I get together with old friends to play games over the internet. And some nights I write.
It’s not as much as I used to. And it took me a while to establish a new routine where I had time to write. But I am writing regularly and – with the help of friends – getting the feedback I need to keep writing. I have something that works for now.
There’s just one thing that bothers me. One day this is all going to end. And that means I am going to have to establish a new routine.
OMP Admin Note: John Nedwill is a writer, OMP Network member, and a regular #OneMillionProject Blogger. His work can be found on Wattpad.com and in the One Million Project’s Short Story Anthologies published in February 2018.
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