This month’s Insecure Writer’s Support Group question will be a loaded one for many of us: with everything that’s happening due to the coronavirus, how are things in your world?
Sometimes it seems to me like the world has turned into a Charles Dickens quote: “It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
People have shared the most beautiful stories from around the world: Italians singing to their quarantined neighbours from balconies; Parisians cheering the healthcare workers every night; Chinese and Cuban doctors and nurses going to help other countries; teddy bears in windows and people walking the streets in dinosaur costumes to cheer up housebound children.
Sadly, there’s been plenty of ugliness too. People hoarding. Selfishly putting each other at risk by refusing to take this virus seriously. Nurses having to let people die because of a ventilator shortage. Nurses getting sick themselves due to a lack of protective equipment. Daily battles on social media as people strive to one-up each other or tear each other apart over the most ridiculous things.
Through it all, I’ve tried my best to keep my spirits up. I’ve focused on the small acts of kindness as much as I can. I was one of the lucky ones–I had my home, my family and friends are safe (for now), and even though my trip of a lifetime was cancelled, I had hope I might be able to go next year instead. I was still teaching, though online, and felt grateful both for my students and for the fact I was still employed.
But then I lost nearly $10K of teaching contracts. I’m terrified even more will be cancelled. The conference I’d planned to attend in the UK refused to refund my deposits of over $1200 CAD, even though the event was pushed to much later in the year. And, worst of all for me, one of my beloved cats died suddenly, and horribly, last Friday. Because of the pandemic, I had to be alone for her last moments, and no one was allowed to comfort me.
I’m not sure how everyone else is feeling, but I’m not someone who turns to writing fiction when I’m worried, depressed, or sad. Maybe journalling, at times, but not working on a novel. I can barely text without multiple typos right now, and to be honest, writing just seems so darn pointless at times. Other writers promote their books and it makes me cringe–everyone needs to make a living, but it just seems so wrong right now when the world is reeling. I don’t feel like anyone currently needs or wants my dark fiction, and I’m still teaching. There’s marking and class development to do, and the converting of in-person classes to online ones.
I know that there will come a time when I can write again. There are still moments of hope and optimism–the loved ones who have been there for me and who are helping me through this; the conference deciding to refund my money after all; one more teaching contract to help me make it through these tough times. There are still good people in the world; there is still community. Those closest to me are healthy and safe (for now). There will come a time to smile again.
I hope you are safe and healthy too. I wish you all the best.
The purpose of the Insecure Writers’ Support Group is to share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds. To see a full list of IWSG authors, click here.
Sorry to hear about your cat.
I can’t imagine having to worry about a sick pet or family member during this time. I’m sorry to hear about your cat. I have managed to write, but in micro bursts. And gardening season is beginning. This year, feels extra special. Stay well. We all have to cope in the best way for us.
Thanks, CV. Happy gardening. It’ll be a while until we’re able to do that here–usually it’s safe to plant during the May long weekend, but not always.
Sorry to hear about Samba! I lost Shilo, my beagle, at the beginning of Feb. but I had access to a vet when he began to suffer! He was 16 and 1/3 so I try and focus on all the bonus years I had with him above his normal lifespan! Regarding your books, I’m sure there’s plenty of us that still enjoy dark stuff even during this time. I just recently discovered you through discovering the show “Cruise Ship Killers”, as I’m still enjoying my true crime drama! I love your red hair probably because I’m partial to the Auburn red hair in my Hispanic family! Regarding the true crime drama, I love the psychological and forensics science of it!!
I am so sorry about Samba. 🐱🙏🏼💔
Sorry you lost Samba! My heart goes out to you.
I don’t mind that people are still promoting books. People need to be distracted and a book is a good way.
Thanks for co-hosting today.
Thanks, Alex. It was just my opinion/feelings, and it’s not just books. Any kind of blatant advertising makes me shudder right now.
Poor Samba. So sorry. Stay strong, stay safe, and stay healthy. Thank you for co-hosting during these tragic days.
Thanks so much, Cathrina. I wish the same for you.
I’m so sorry to hear about your fur baby.
Yes, these are strange times we find ourselves in, times that unleash the good and bad in those around us.
We have to be strong.
Hang in there. Stay safe.
Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG this month.
Thanks, Michelle. I’m sure my strength will return at some point–I’m just going through a dark period.
I’m so sorry to hear about Samba. I love my cats and so I can relate to your sorrow. My life has been enriched with their presence. I’m sending a soft cyberhug. I am deeply sorry for your loss.
Thanks so much, Joylene. They are the best. I miss Samba, but thankfully I still have Chloe and Sophie running the place for me.
So sorry to hear about Samba, JH.
Take care of yourself and hang in there.
Thank you for co-hosting.
Thanks, Madeline. I’m trying. I hope you are well.
So sorry about your cat. 🙁 Losing a pet is never easy, and the isolation we face makes it that much harder.
Thank you, Meka. You feel me.
Oh no…it sounds like Samba died an unnatural death and you were witness to it. This, more than anything, can affect you because they are part of your family. On top of this it’s pretty disgusting that they will not refund your money, I hope media gets a hold of this and they will refund it. We humans really love to concentrate on the negative and what we can’t do. We have to concentrate on the positive and know that we can still go for a walk just not near people, we can still dance and, for some of us, even work. For people who love to travel and have that wanderlust in their bones, this experience is very difficult. It is a learning experience for sure
It was “natural,” I suppose (the vet believes she had a brain tumour), but it was absolutely horrible and very sudden. I’m sparing everyone here the awful details, but no one ever wants to see someone they love suffer like that.
The conference organizers have not been professional at all, in my opinion. I could sympathize that they’ve had losses too, but the way I’ve been treated in general was not kind, understanding, or appropriate. I won’t be supporting that conference again. They did provide a refund, but only under duress, and then put a thinly veiled shot at me in their latest newsletter. Why can’t people just be kind?
I miss walking. There’s not many places for walking near me that are safe, because they’re too congested. But I definitely have work, and I’m grateful for it, even though it’s hard to focus.
First, bless you for being a teacher!! With my 12 yr grandguy sheltering with us for 3 wks, I’m so thankful for the teachers online, sending packets of work and hosting online chats, and for those handing out free lunches at the schools. Crisis brings out the very good and the very bad. I’m trying to focus on the good! Thanks for co-hosting and fingers crossed for your career upswing soon!
Thanks, Nancy. I was trying to do the same (focusing on the good), and mostly doing a good job of it, until I lost Samba. Then I just couldn’t anymore–not for a while. I’m sad and exhausted and cranky, but I know it won’t last forever.
I appreciate the kind words. It’s nice to see how so many are thankful for teachers right now. 🙂
I am so sorry about your fur baby, that is a horrible loss at anytime. I hope you are able to get a refund for the conference as well as get some teaching contracts back. Baby steps–do what you need to do to move forward, even slowly.
Thanks, Marie. It’s tough. The amount I’m able to do most days isn’t much, but I’m trying. Hope you are well.
I did get my refund, but only under duress.
Sincere, genuine, and an apt use of the famed Dickens quote. Sorry about your cat’s passage. Words fail in attempt to comfort. Be well.
Thank you so much, PJ.
I’m so sorry about Samba 🙁 So hard to lose one’s furbaby, but even harder during these times without others being able to comfort you.
I’m trying to focus on my WIP, but it’s really tough, especially as it’s set in Italy in an area that was one of the first to be locked down.
Interesting what you say about promoting books. I had set up a bunch of email promos (International BookBub, Fussy Librarian, ENT etc.) prior to the pandemic and wasn’t sure what to do about them once the reality of what was going on became clear. People do seem to be looking for bargain books right now though – especially those that offer some sort of momentary escape.
Take care – sending you virtual hugs
Thanks, Ellen. That’s a bit different from what I meant about promotion–people who are going to get your promos have willingly signed up for them. I was referring to people capitalizing on the pandemic (or trying to), mostly on Facebook, i.e. “Stuck at home? Buy my book!” I just can’t stomach any of it right now.
Thanks for the kind words. I understand the difficulty focusing.
Of all things to lose, Samba must be the hardest. I’m so sorry to hear that. And disappointed that the conference would refund your money. Good grief.
Thanks, Jacqui. It’s been very difficult, and the conference’s reactions were pretty frustrating. They finally did the right thing, but added a not-so-veiled dig at me in their latest newsletter. As they knew what I’ve been going through, I didn’t feel it was necessary or appropriate.
I’m so sorry to hear about your sweet cat. I’m also finding it hard to write and weird to promote, but these books make up part of my income, so… Here’s to better days ahead.
Thanks, Sadira. It is hard. You’re definitely not alone in that.
I know the mourning you’re going through with your cat. I had my cat for 22 years and the pain was unbelievable when I had to put him to sleep. It hurt badly and I mourned for some time.
As for Corona, I believe everyone finds their way to deal with what is going on. Many don’t understand it and so many people are afraid. I live as an ExPat in Germany and the people here are flipping out. We are on total lockdown and the government extended it until the end of April or the first week in May. Nothing at the moment is easy. I hope that when we get through this, and we will, that we will be more respectful of others and see people as precious because life is precious. Thank you for co-hosting.
Hang in there, Pat. I’m sorry for your loss as well.
And, I hope so, too.
You’re right. C 19 has brought out the worst and the best in people. Most people are being kind, sensible and thoughtful – and I suspect some of the rest are driven by fear rather than deliberately being unkind.
Perhaps. I hope so.
I’m so sorry about the loss of your cat and the loss of some of your work. It’s a hard time for so many of us.
Not being able to hug the ones we love is the hardest part.
I’ve put my regular WIPs aside to do a lot of journal writing and to work on a super fluffy fiction series, just to distract myself. I’ve told myself I can’t be serious in that particular project. And, it helps. Somehow.
Thanks, Tyrean. I’ve considered something similar–switching to romance or another lighter genre–but I’m not a super-fast writer, and by the time I course-correct, hopefully things will be returning to normal. I still think it’s a great idea, though. Do what makes you happy.
I’m sorry to hear about your cat. Such terrible news.
Writing is hard right now. I’m not getting anything done…and here I was sure I would. But journaling is a great idea. It’s reality and experience which form our stories and improve them later on.
Thanks, Tonja. It’s nice to hear I’m not alone, even though it would be great to be writing up a storm. 🙂
I’m so sorry to hear about your cat. I have two lovely cats and I would be devastated if something happened to them. Prayers that you will get back in good spirits soon.
Thank you, Jennifer. I appreciate that.
So sorry about your cat and that you were alone. Our writers group just barely avoided being held to a contract that would have cost us a lot of money. There are so many wonderful stories of people doing good deeds and lifting spirits. Like you, I’m trying to concentrate on those.
Thanks so much, Susan. It’s harder some days than others. I was doing pretty well before this, but now I just need to grieve.
Thanks for co-hosting this month; I’m on next month :). I’m thinking positive, especially since I participated in an EFT session. It moved a major chunk of my paranoia out of my mind and heart. I’m wondering if when this is over that many of us will see life a little differently; maybe appreciate some of the smaller things, like just going out for a cup of coffee with a friend. That’s what I miss the most. Blessings
I wish that too, Judy. I’m not sure what an EFT session is, but I’m glad it helped you. We need to take what comfort we can right now.
I’m so sorry you lost your kitty. FWIW, I think the world does need your dark fiction. In fact, I’m interested and will take a look at the rest of your site. We all cope differently, and for me, losing myself in a good thriller or horror story can buy me a few hours in which I don’t have to think about real-life horrors. Hang in there. This too shall pass.
Thank you, Janet. I’d be happy to give you a free ebook if anything interests you–just let me know what you’d like and in what format.
I appreciate the kind words.
I’m sorry for your loss.
I’m safe and so is my family. BC’s numbers are pretty low. And like you, I’m thinking about the others out there and hoping it will be okay.
Anna from elements of emaginette
Thanks, Anna. I’m glad to hear you’re well.
Stay safe. x
Thanks for hosting this month. With all the craziness in the world it is hard to focus on writing. I watched a motivational video yesterday on how to survive this emotionally. They recommend to keep to your schedule, exercise, and start a gratitude journal. I’m giving it a try and it might help! Hang in there, we are all in this mess together.
Great recommendations. I can’t even imagine doing that right now, but I really hope it works for you.
The lack of focus is a pretty universal problem, I find. You’re not alone.
I’m so very sorry your furry companion experienced a painful passing. Several years ago we’ve had to put our Tigger down and I feel the anguish today.
We are in Mexico and testing is limited. Slow to self isolate. Multi generations live under one roof. I think this will result in a sudden outbreak of the virus.
We will get through this. I am watching for an opportunity to assist those in need.
Lynn La Vita blog: Writers Supporting Writers
So sorry, Lynn. That must be scary. Here where I live in Canada, testing is severely limited too. Our numbers are artificially low because not enough people are able to get tested.
I’m sorry for your loss as well. I don’t think that pain every goes away. So much of our heart is given to those little fur balls. x
I saw the awful news about your cat on SM. So heartbreaking, losing a family member. I also assumed that your wonderful trip was cancelled and I’m so sorry for all of it. To then be treated so poorly is really not good business by whoever this conference is (not SiWC, I hope!) and seems to add insult to injury for no reason. I hope the other side of this brings some well deserved good news for you. Stay safe!
Thanks so much, Donna. You’re so kind.
And no, it wasn’t SiWC. When so many other conferences acted quickly and proactively and did the right thing, it was shocking and saddening to see how this one handled things. I have another conference in August, but that may get cancelled too.
Wishing you all the best.
I am so very sorry for your loss of Samba, and that you have to deal with your grief in isolation. There are simply no words to make it any easier.
As for writing, I’m also journaling and writing poetry, which is not something I’ve spent a lot of time doing (the poetry), rather than obsessing endlessly on my unfinished book. It’s a self-care kind of thing, like you’re doing, focusing more on teaching and more regimented aspects of the profession. There’s nothing wrong with pausing and considering our priorities right now. Stay strong and well.
Thanks so much, Lee. And you’re so right, but man, many words make it worse. I’ve since learned all the things not to say to anyone who is grieving. 😉
I wish you good health and strength too. I’m glad you’ve found an outlet and something that soothes you. It’s the best we can do right now.
Sorry for your loss. A beloved pet dying is hard. But it will get better. Even this horrible pandemic will pass one day. And you’ll definitely write again. Hopefully, it will be soon.
Thanks so much, Olga. I appreciate your kindness.
I so sorry about your kitty and having to be alone. *hugs* We’re going to get through this. Hang in there.
Thanks, Gwen. I really hope so. You as well.
I’m glad to read your battling the sadness and depression with the good things that we can find during this experience. Perhaps, this is a nudge for you to try a new genre instead of writing the dark stories? Hugs of sympathy on the loss of your beloved cat.
I thought about that, but I’m not the fastest writer, so by the time I course-correct, the pandemic will (hopefully) be over.
Thanks for the kind words.
I can’t imagine how terrible it would be to lose a pet when you’re all alone. It’s bad enough when you have other people around to comfort you. My heartfelt wishes are with you and your cat.
Stay safe and thanks for co-hosting this month.
I’m sorry you’re having such a rough time. Pets mean the world to us. Hard when they go.
I’m so sorry to hear what you’re going through. What you went through. *Sending virtual hug* Writing fiction probably isn’t the best right now, but journaling will help. Please stay safe and positive.
There is never a good time for loss and grief, but these times make it seem so much more cruel. I’m so sorry for your loss.
I’ve lost all of my Spring semester teaching, speaking engagements and writing conferences too. I keep repeating this too shall pass and I hope it does, soon! Wishing you peace, health and safety.
I’m so sorry for you loss, and the isolation which accompanied it. Like you, I find focusing on the small acts of kindness helps. And lots of self-care, which I hope you’re able to do! Stay safe, and well. Thank you for co-hosting this month.
You’ve had what might be called the double whammy, maybe the triple+. I can understand the way writing and probably any usual passion suddenly seems pointless and insignificant in light of all that’s going on in your life and in the lives of so many people around the world. However, I know you’ve got some darned good stamina, so you will get through this. You’ll write well again. You’ll get contracts again.
So sorry about your poor kitty. I’m glad you and your family are safe. We will get through this. There will be an end to it and we just have to persevere, though I know that’s easier said than done. Thank you for co-hosting.
Your post hit so many needed points. The best and the worst–so true. I’m sorry you lost your cat and had to deal with your grief alone. My uncle and his son died four days apart, and none of us could be there to comfort the family. I truly believe we must not congregate, we must practice social distancing. That’s one of the things that will bring this to an end sooner. At the same time, we’re alone. Social media and FaceTime or Skype help but not enough. We can only do our best to stay safe. Thank you for co-hosting.
Oh no! I’m so sorry about your cat. That’s rough at any time, and triply so now. I’ve been on a similar see saw of ups and downs about the state of the world and the behavior of her peoples. Give yourself all the grace you need!
Hi, JH! I’m so sorry to hear that you lost your beloved Samba! Losing a pet always leave a hole in your heart. I’m glad that you got your money back from the conference. We had to cancel a trip to Hawaii within 24 hours of our flight, and we had to fight to get most of our money back. There are a couple of places that will never see our business again because of the way we were treated. Thank you for being a teacher, and thank you for co-hosting today! Take care!
I’m in a similar place emotionally. Writing isn’t going to happen much until things either balance out or I at least get used to the new “normal.” I hope you get your money back, and that things settle down.
Your cat is beautiful. You must miss him/her a lot. I understand how weird and strange you are feeling. Thank goodness for the teaching. That’s what I tell myself. Thanks for co-hosting and stay safe.
“It was the best of times; it was the worst of times.”
That sums it up perfectly J.H
Oh no! I’m so sorry to hear about Samba. What a gorgeous kitty. Losing a beloved pet is so hard and to have to go through that now is especially tough.
I’m not writing. My brain just can’t settle down and focus on my fictional world and characters when my family needs my attention. So for now, it’s homework, time outside, cooking, cleaning, and entertaining the pets as they entertain us.
Liesbet’s blog post this week has brought me to yours. She, Mark, and Maya visited our home when they camped in Florida. Liesbet is tenacious and talented. Just before my memoir went to print last year, she offered to do a final editing (after many beta readers + 2 developmental editors, some pricey!) I appreciate your reaching out to her.
Hi Marian! So nice of you to check out JH’s blog and mention me in your comment. She is a fantastic, talented, and successful writer and genuine and supportive online friend. I wish to meet her in person one day as well, but I doubt we’d be driving, or camping, in her Winnipeg neighborhood any time soon!
Oh no! Sorry to hear about Samba… Take Care!
I am so, so sorry about Samba. Focus on the good times.
I’m poised to lose a lot of seminars and comic cons in the coming months. Not much I can do to replace the cons, but I’m looking into doing a live seminar online soon.
Hope things turn around for you. Thanks for co-hosting!
I’m so sorry about your cat. I know that has to be a blow. I’m sorry about the teaching contracts, too, and hope that the conference organizers see the light.
As of last night we have both our boys with us, and will quarantine together. I know I feel better having them where I can keep an eye on them!
Writing when stressed is a pretty individual thing. Some do it as a release, and others of us mean to but find we’ve just played game 798 of freecell solitaire. You do what you can.
So sorry to hear about the passing of your beloved cat. I heart aches for you. Sending hugs. Be strong, things will get better. Stay safe.
Sorry my comment should say, My heart aches for you. My fingers don’t always want to go where I want them to on the keyboard.
Sorry to hear about your kitty.
It’s a rough time all around for sure, but we’ll get through it. Don’t worry about not writing, just keep yourself healthy and safe.
Honestly, I can understand not wanting to write. I do feel like that as well. I want to want to write, but puzzles just really hit the spot in reducing stress for me right now during this. I am SO sorry to hear about your cat. I know how it feels to lose a beloved one… Glad things perked up a bit for you. Keep on keeping on. We’ll make it through together.
My dear, I am so sorry about Samba. There’s never a ‘good’ time for loss, but being alone with it is surely the worst. If not for prior obligations, I wouldn’t be able to write much either. But that’s not to say we shouldn’t. After all, we’re writers. We need the therapy.
There will be more contracts, more lessons to learn and teach. Perhaps one day there will even be a cure for meanness. Wouldn’t that be wonderful?
Thanks for co-hosting!
I’m sorry about your cat passing away, JH. It hasn’t been the most pleasant of time for my family either since this outbreak started: we lost three relatives in less than a month’s time span (deaths were not Covid-19-related). And what’s really bad is that because of having to practice social distancing we couldn’t hold or attend the funerals. So I sympathise. Yet, we try to encourage each other even if having to do so through phone calls or social media.
My daily schedule has been thrown off totally since having to stay home most of the time. I normally don’t get started on my writing until late in the afternoon because I’ve been sleeping in so much. Still, I try to write as well as I can. I figure with movie theatres and libraries closing, people now more than ever may be able to use our stories. Yet, a person has to take care of her/himself first and so some of us need to take a little time off from our writing to cope with this pandemic. Hang in there.
I am so sorry to hear about your kitty. That’s hard. Pets are family too. Glad you are well and safe though. All good here so far. Belated IWSG!
Hello dear friend!
I’m so terribly sorry about your Samba. You’ve had an incredibly difficult month and I can see how depression and doubt can take over. In addition to grief. I wouldn’t be able to focus on writing in these circumstances, either. I sincerely hope everything will fall back in place again soon, just like the delayed refund from the writing conference, so your normal schedule can be resumed.
I think you have reason to feel down these weeks. Whenever you co-host the IWSG blog hop (thank you for doing so again this month!), I expect good news from you in regards to a new highlight, cover reveal, release date, or book contract. So, reading all this makes me sad as well. The good thing is that this month HAS to be better. Keeping my fingers crossed for you, JH! Xx
Thanks for stopping by my blog and for your kind words.
So sorry for your loss. I saw your post on Facebook and have been thinking of you.
Book promotion right now is tricky, but I don’t think it’s wrong if done the right way. Some readers out there might be waiting to discover a book or series to help them get through this tough time, but I don’t think you or any other author should feel obligated to promote right now, if your heart just isn’t in it.
In any case, thank you for co-hosting this month and sharing your struggles with us. We are here for you.
Sorry to hear about your cat and your deposit not getting refunded.
That Charles Dickens’ quote explains the current climate perfectly. When I first started hearing about the Corona virus back in February, when I went to CVS to see if they had Purell I found nothing but empty shelves. And only a few weeks ago I was able to buy a bottle because I bought it on a whim when I noticed we’d ran out and my son had strep throat. I still can’t believe the hoarding but at least it’s gotten a little bit better now.
Thanks for co-hosting this month and stay safe.
So sorry to hear about your cat. Things like that are always difficult but not being able to grieve with loved ones is especially hard. I can understand not being able to write right now, but there’ll come a time when it’ll bring you comfort again. Hang in there.