The new normal

Ch-ch-changes are certainly happening here in the United States and around the world. I now work from home (telelibrarianing is my new made up word), and like many of us, I must define what that means.

I’m an elementary school librarian by day and author by night. This week, Governor Northam closed all Virginia schools for the remainder of the academic year. While not unexpected, the shock and grief I felt knowing I would not see my beloved students again this year was the proverbial “punch in the gut.” I can’t comprehend what this will mean for students and their families, but I am sure that the amazing teachers I work with will help ease the transition to an online learning environment.

For my writing practice, this additional time at home will eliminate the excuse of “my day job gets in the way of my writing job.” Not having a commute, not needing to gussy myself up for work, or prepare a lunch to take with me has freed up additional time in my day. It can be dedicated to my writing craft if I make that concerted effort to use it. Otherwise, binge watching Netflix or Hulu can easily suck me into the hole of laziness.

I have a stack of half-finished books, craft projects, and stories that have been making me feel guilty from the corner of my creativity room. With this newly found time, I’ll need to guard against feeling I have to complete them all. Some of those projects may continue to sit and I need to be okay with that decision.

Confession time. For months, I would start and stop working through Julia Cameron’s The Artist’s Way. I found writing my three morning pages daily helped clear my mind of the debris which blocked my creativity. When life got a little busy, I set the journal aside. (I’m seeing a trend. Maybe I should add perseverance as a life goal!) With no rush to leave the house in the morning, I can finish working through Cameron’s notebook and define my path for creativity.

I’m hoping that you all are taking a moment to acknowledge the small blessings in the midst of this world tragedy. Each day take a moment to be mindful of the positives in your life. Step away from your phone, your television, and your social media on occasion, so you aren’t overwhelmed with the negative.

If you’re taking this time to embrace the artistic side of life, I encourage you to read The Artist’s Way. A classic for creatives, it helps you find your purpose, as well as gives you the tools to change your creative practice.

I’d love to hear what you’re doing to practice self-care and how you are tapping into your creativity. I hope you all stay safe, stay healthy, and wash your hands!

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