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  • Writer's pictureJen Kapral

Getting Back to Writing

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Summer Camp looks a lot different in 2020 for many of us. Virtual camps, activities at home, and vacations that involve limited contact with other people are the norm.

My husband and I worked long hours through the entire summer while caring for our toddler. We struggled to plan meaningful learning experiences and get her outside playtime every day in the Houston heat and humidity. We sit with her on her weekly class Zooms and try to complete some recommended activities at home. She told us she misses parks and the Zoo and her friends at day care. But, she loves being home with mommy and daddy. We’re conflicted as well; while it’s a struggle to balance work and childcare all day, we cherish the extra time with our little girl.

My writing life had been out of wack for about a year. I started a new job, and between that and parenting, there was no room for much else. And that’s fine. And at the beginning of the pandemic, I didn’t have the mental bandwidth to do anything but obsess over the news binge-watch K-dramas on Netflix. And that’s fine. I’m in this writing life for the long haul, and there are going to periods of ups and downs. I stopped beating myself up over the downs (and you should too).

By the time we hit July, something was missing. I craved more that just survival mode and binge-watching. With Camp NaNoWriMo starting, I decided to commit to focusing on a sci fi novel I started years ago during NaNoWriMo and have worked on piecemeal since. I woke up at 6:00 AM most days of July, giving me at least an hour a day at my keyboard. I realized how much I had missed writing, and also having quiet time focused on me each day. Many of, especially women, have no time alone unless we intentionally carve it out and protect it.

I’ve tried Camp NaNo several times before and have never made my goals. This July was different. Instead of our usual packed schedules, I had time and focus, both usually elusive for me. I completed 15 chapters of my novel, and with 15 to go, the end is in sight. Three things worked for me:

  1. Having a consistent morning writing routine (which also means getting to bed early)

  2. Connecting with other writer friends on Discord for sprints (thanks Author Transformation Alliance!)

  3. Saying no to things (like binge-watching, wasted time scrolling on social media, etc.)

So keep going, keep working till you find your writing groove. Take time off or get back to it. I would love to hear about what’s been working (or not working) for you!

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