Where did the last two months go?
I suppose for many it was spent being anxious and confused. Figuring out how to fill your day when you can’t leave the house. Deciding what is acceptable and what isn’t when you do. Wondering how we maintain connections when it’s not okay to hug someone you love. Trying to maintain some semblance of mental health in a world that is full of things to be afraid of.
Because I’m lucky enough to still have a job, I’ve spent a lot of my time working. In between, making sure the kids are keeping up with their online schooling and aren’t going crazy because they haven’t seen their friends in person since March. I’ve also spent a lot of time trying to look through the haze of an uncertain future to figure out what the new normal will look like. How much PPE will I have to wrap myself in to go to a concert? Will going out to my favourite restaurant still be a relaxing and enjoyable experience? How do I sell books about a pandemic, when we’re all living in one?
That time spent looking forward hasn’t been productive. I wrapped myself up in the what-ifs, the fear, and the business of writing was set aside.
Setting aside the things that feed your soul is never a good thing. It leaves pace for unhealthy distraction. At least it does for me.
Things started in a positive enough direction. I organized my office, built a new storage unit that I’m excited about, and I put together a shelf for all things spoopy.
Then bikes happened. I helped a friend find a new bike because they wanted to get back into riding. I finished up a 3-speed conversion on my wife’s bike too.
Next I started planning improvements to my 1942 CCM Rambler, and my Raleigh DL-1.
Then I found a beach cruiser frame for cheap on one of the three buy & sell groups I check every fifteen minutes or so. I justified the purchase by planning to build it up using the pile of parts in the shed. That day I came home with the frame, but also a parts bike to help complete it, and another bike meant to be a parts bike for the Rambler.
Because there isn’t much I won’t do for my people, I started finding and fixing bikes for other friends. I’m sure you can see where this is going. There is nothing but bikes. I currently have eleven of them in the garage.
The amount of time I was allocating to planning the builds alone was excessive. I overwhelmed myself in an overwhelming time. So, last week I smartened up and made the decision to set them all aside. Not forever, but for now. My goal is to finish up the three friend projects this weekend and get rid of two or three others as-is. Then, all going well, I can get back to the business of writing.
Trust me, I’ve got a lot of writing to do. I had big plans to publish three books this year. Even outside of a pandemic, the enormity of this has recently sunk in. It’s not just the amount of work, it’s that I want to put out the best work I can for where I’m at in my writing journey. This is where my gratitude for, and honest belief in beta readers comes from.
In case you’re not familiar with the term, a beta reader is someone who reads your finished manuscript for feedback. In April, I sent out Surviving for that purpose. Much of what I got back was very positive. A few very important issues were raised though. Once said out loud, the concerns that have been in the back of my mind for months and years were now made clear. I saw the holes. I saw where it was lacking. And so, for the second time in about a year, I’m blowing it up. Two key characters are changing. I’ve found ways to speed up the action, to introduce new conflict, and bring some interesting things forward to the third installment, Chasing the Storm.
I have a lot of work to do, and at least in the beginning, I was excited about it. The problem is, regardless of chosen distractions, life will always put obstacles in our path. Pandemics, jobs, and family obligations. All I can do is set my intention, narrow my focus, and get to it.