Thursday, 2 April 2020

Writing in Lockdown - The New Normal

This is a very strange post to write because we are all, writers and readers alike, in a very strange, unprecedented situation.

social distancing

A few months ago, I'd never even heard of these things and if you'd told me they would soon be part of my everyday vocabulary, and affect every aspect of my life, I wouldn't have believed you.

So, how has this odd and scary situation affected me in general and as a writer in particular?

I thought I'd start with the not so good things and then finish with the good things (the best way I'm sure).

Not so good things

  • Even before we were required to stay in our homes as much as possible, I had anxiety issues about large social gatherings and travel in particular. My safe place was my home. I'm afraid that when this is all over, my brain will be whispering see you were right and my issues might get worse.

  • Despite what I've written above, I love going out and meeting people as long as it's in small groups or individually... and as long as it doesn't involve travelling long distances. I like to do this in measured doses though as too much socialising cuts into my writing time and I do like my own company and space. Because we can no longer go to cafes, WhatsApp, social media and video conferencing apps such as Zoom have come into their own. BUT... there are so many WhatsApp groups being formed, so many group chat requests, so many messages, so many phone calls. Frankly, it's overwhelming but, if I don't join in, I feel like I'll be judged or will be missing out on something.

  • Anxiety in the first week (before the full-lockdown) meant I wasn't able to concentrate on writing, so little was done.

  • I'm a full-time writer. I write on my own at home with my dog. I have my own space and time to organise things as I want. Now, I have both my husband and my adult daughter at home which requires a different way of working and thinking. Every day feels like a weekend. Thankfully, at the end of week one, we've found ourselves a routine of sorts and it doesn't seem to have affected my productivity (more of this in the 'good' things section).

  • My eldest daughter is a key worker in the prison service which is a constant worry.

  • I miss going to cafes. I miss visiting National Trust Gardens. I miss my ballroom dancing. I'm desperately sad I won't be visiting the Highlands and Skye for the first time in May. I miss seeing my friends and the members of my family who don't live with me. 

Good things

  • At the moment we are all well.

  • We live in a small town in the country so we have walks from our doorstop (river and downland). It would be nice to go further afield but I know we're very lucky.

  • As I said earlier, my husband is now working from home and I have my youngest adult daughter living with us. Despite my worries about how it would affect my working day, now that we're all used to rubbing along with each other, it actually makes the day more varied. There's always someone to chat to when I need a break and people to share the dog walk with. As long as I get my daily word count done at some time in the day, there are now other interesting things to do and share with my family.

  • I am still able to have my monthly teacakes and goal setting with writing pal Tracy. We've been having monthly meet-ups for the last eight years and a bit of social distancing isn't going to stop us!

  • Despite all of the clubs and activities I belong to closing (I do ballroom and Latin dancing, badminton, choir, Pilates and Fitsteps) my daughter and I have discovered a wealth of material online to help us stay fit. We've tried Pilates, yoga and have started Jo Wicks' morning workout (that was certainly a killer the day after).

  • As a family, we've rediscovered activities we used to play when the children were younger: boules, swingball and indoor darts. And have realised you don't need children to still enjoy them.

  • My daughter and I have also been learning new skills. She's learning German and we're both learning to play the ukulele. It's a really easy instrument to learn and we now have a repertoire of around ten songs which don't sound too bad, if I do say so myself.

It's and odd situation to be in but we're making the best of it.  

I'd like to finish this post by wishing all my readers the very best in these difficult times and hope you stay well and happy.


  1. Golly, this is a great post, Wendy but one I never thought would be written. Strange times. Thank goodness for technology that keeps us all in touch. xx

  2. As you say, we must be grateful for our health and for what we have. Our worlds may have shrunk but I'm getting lots of communication from friends. Even though I have a lot more time on my hands, I'm finding it hard to write just now and I think we'll find a changed world when this passes.

    1. I agree with you. Things will be different for a while at least.

  3. What a lovely, positive post, Wendy. I love the quotes seen around social media that we're no 'stuck at home', 'we're safe at home'. We've also settled into a new routine and I'. missing seeing my granddaughter and family, coffee with friends and trips on the train, but it will pass. Stay safe.

    1. I think as there’sno Changing it, we have to make the best of it.

  4. I am so glad you're finding ways to make this work and see the positives. I think our mindset will be the thing to get us through this. Hugs to you!

    1. ... and back to you, Angela. I am currently writing novel four with your trusty emotion thesaurus at my side 😊.

  5. Great, honest and positive review. I hope that once this has all blown over, the positive aspects will continue. I'm enjoying the birds singing and the quiet so much. We've explored new paths within easy distance from our cottage. I am missing Italy - where we should be bound at the moment - and our five grandchildren, but hubby and I are seeing why we got together in the first place (many years ago!!). Little things have become big during this period. Keep smiling and writing!