Open Book Blog Hop – Writing during a pandemic

Has the pandemic affected your writing? If so, how? Have your writing habits changed in reaction to the ‘different’ world we are faced with?

I first heard about the new coronavirus at the beginning of February this year. At the time, I was doing some work with colleagues in Beijing and it was mentioned on a group call that certain of the Chinese New Year celebrations were being cancelled because of this illness. I had no idea then, that within two months my whole life would change.

On the day after Milan went into lockdown, I had a work meeting at a client’s premises with a large group of advisors. One advisor had arrived in South Africa that morning from Milan. He mentioned how difficult it had been attending meetings in this city the previous day with everyone sheltering at home. He said that the city was empty.

About two weeks later, both my sons and I became very ill with a strange illness. Michael and I felt as if our throats were blocked and we couldn’t breath. We were both very tired. Gregory had bad headaches and a slight fever. We all needed antibiotics and both Greg and Michael had to have two as the first antibiotic didn’t cure them. Did we have C-19? I don’t know. At that time, there were no C-19 tests in South Africa and the doctor diagnosed us as having throat and chest infections.

South Africa went into a strict lockdown on 26 March. All non-essential businesses were closed and my world went mad. I have never been as busy as I was between April and September this year. Many businesses were taking steps to raise additional debt or capital funding and the disclosure requirements were significant due to the extra business risks posed by Coronavirus and the lockdown.

In answer to the question Has the pandemic affected your writing? the answer is yes because my work hours lengthened from an average of 8 hours a day to about 10 hours a day and I was also working during weekends. This did impact my writing as I had very little time to write which caused me some stress. I like writing and I was finishing off my forthcoming book A Ghost and His Gold which I had hoped to publish in October this year. That did not happen due to the demands of my work and I only sent the book to my publisher in October. I am currently working on the final edit of the printers proof and am aiming to be finished next week with a publication date in January 2021. The editing is also taking longer as I am still busy, although I’m no longer working during weekends. My boys have also been writing exams for the past two weeks and I’ve spent a lot of time helping them prepare.

I have had short stories published in two anthologies during October and I was very pleased about that. The two South African pioneering short stories included in Spirits of the West, edited by Kaye Lynne Booth, were written before lockdown. The two short stories included in Spellbound, compiled by Dan Alatorre, were written during lockdown. I did manage to squeeze these in by getting up early in the morning during weekends and writing for a couple of hours before my house started waking up.

Have your writing habits changed in reaction to the ‘different’ world we are faced with? No, my writing habits haven’t changed. I still blog from 5 a.m. to 6 a.m. and from 7 p.m. to 8 p.m. most days and I still write for three hours every Saturday and Sunday morning and on a Friday afternoon from 2 p.m. to 5 p.m. This is assuming I have a normal 35 – 40 hour work week as have a reduced hours employment contract (30 hours a week). The reduced hours rarely works, but under non-pandemic circumstances, I get away with a 40 hour week as opposed to the 50 hour week I’d be working if I was employed on a full time basis. I believe my reduced hours gives me some flexibility with my work hours which I need to manage my boys and some of their school and other requirements.

The pandemic has impacted me from a time perspective as I have been even busier than normal. It has not, however, impacted my story ideas or ability to sit down and write. I am very determined and strong willed so I don’t allow anxiety or intrusive thoughts to impact on my productivity generally.

Has the pandemic affected other blog-hoppers’ writing? Click on the link below to find out:

Rules:

  1. Link your blog to this hop.
  2. Notify your following that you are participating in this blog hop.
  3. Promise to visit/leave a comment on all participants’ blogs.
  4. Tweet/or share each person’s blog post. Use #OpenBook when tweeting.
  5. Put a banner on your blog that you are participating.

You are invited to the Inlinkz link party!

https://fresh.inlinkz.com/party/0d37506462b84574a45fec6ff596476d

39 thoughts on “Open Book Blog Hop – Writing during a pandemic

    1. We were all very sick in March, Jacqui. Subsequently, I have developed a few long term ailments which is why I have wondered whether it was actually C-19 we had. It is quite possible given the circumstances. I suppose I could be checked for antibodies but I am a bit demotivated to go and line up with others to have a test. Thanks for your comments. Hugs back.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Wendi. It was very unpleasant because Michael and I couldn’t breath properly. It was very early days for C-19 here at the time so it wasn’t even suggested as a possible cause. I am looking forward to getting this last few pages of editing done and A Ghost and His Gold being finished at last.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. I must admit, I hadn’t realised that time pressures like that could be caused by the pandemic. I guess I’ve been hiding away in my little cocoon! I hope things can go back soon to the way you like them, and that the recent news stories of successful vaccines prove to be correct. You don’t need to go through that illness again, do you!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. HI Clive, thanks for visiting and commenting. The financial world has been turned upside down by the pandemic and it has created a lot more work for people in the accounting and auditing profession. Everyone I know is suffering from exhaustion. I am glad I am busy though, that seems better to me than not having work and being worried about an income. I think we are all hoping that one of these vaccines will be viable for roll out. I certainly hate being sick. Strangely, at the time we were all ill, my mom got sick too, but she didn’t get very sick and she was 81. Food for thought.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I’m sorry that everyone is feeling the pressure but, as you say, that’s probably better than the worries that come from being out of work.

        It’s good that your Mum wasn’t too badly affected. My Dad is 93, with several health issues that require hospital outpatient visits: I fear for him.

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Jacqui, I suppose it depends on your job and level of exposure. I do attend a lot of meetings with participants from all over the world. These are now on Teams for Business, but they have historically been in person. I sat next to this particular gentleman for the whole day.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I didn’t realize that you had a front-row seat to the very beginning of the pandemic. It sure sounds like you and the boys had Covid. I’m glad to that the three of you recovered. That must have been a very scary time. The pandemic hasn’t affected my writing except that I am staying firmly in the past with fiction and only writing poetry in the present if it’s about nature.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, I’ve also taken that view with writing, Liz. You either have to stay historical or go sufficiently far into the future that C-19 isn’t a factor. Writing short-term fiction is difficult at the moment with all the uncertainty about the future.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Yes, most people assume it only impacted on the medical industry due to its nature. Unfortunately, the financial world and heads of companies have been run ragged by the financial impacts of all of this. They are still coming through and the second round of lockdowns is, of course, making it much worse. I hope you are well and safe, Patricia.

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  3. This has been a terrible year for me writing-wise. I’ve been so depressed throughout Covid I haven’t WANTED to write. So, I’ve puddled a bit on my WIP (not much) and developed a few short stories for an anthology, but other than that, nada. So, yes, for me, Covid has very much affected my writing.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I am sorry you have been depressed, Jessica, but I do understand why. I’ve had times when it feels as if every working day for the past 8 months has been exactly the same. Three short stories isn’t bad. You also launched your book in this period and it has been difficult with no author events or promotions available in person.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. You’re right about the sameness. I live and work only twenty feet apart from each other, and there were days I was going home, work, home, work, home, work… it was soul destroying. But it’s getting better for us here now. Things are starting to open again, and this weekend we’re leaving our town for the first time in months. So looking forward to it!

        Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m with you about the testing. They are recommending we get tested every week, but for what? I’m not interacting with the public. I do know the pandemic has affected other industries–my brother who consults about factory management has been busier than ever, as has everyone I know who works in law or finance. I admire your discipline in fitting in your writing when you can. And I’m glad your family was not more seriously impacted by your illnesses. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Thank you for sharing, Robbie. I would venture to say that the pandemic has affected all of our writing in one way or another. The hard part for me is trying to look ahead to the future. It’s very fuzzy.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Back in February when I visited my daughter a month before her delivery, she had coughing and headache. The symptoms of Covid were not clear yet, she was so worry about having the desease.

        I can understand Michael is depressed. Not many kids can do well without going out, interacting with people and the environment.

        With the day gets shorter and night gets longer in the winter, even my daughter and her husband have a hard time finding enough things to keep Autumn occupied.

        I just hope that the pandemic will be over soon. But probably the vaccines won’t be available for at least six months.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I agree, Miriam, we still have a hard period ahead for this winter. Norah Colvin has posted some nice ideas for Christmas over at Readilearn today. Mercy might find an idea or two there. Michael is having counselling and I hope it will improve his state of mind. He does seem happier and more settled at school. Children are such a worry.

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