Writing/Life in the Time of Corona

It feels like a thousand days since the whole world was put under lockdown. Is everyone still sane? Because I’m pretty sure I’m starting to lose it—if I haven’t already.

It was as if it was only yesterday that I was wishing for a merry and fruitful 2020. Oh, my sweet sweet summer child. If you only knew…

But then, really, who did? No one knew or even imagined that something like this would happen. Definitely not at this scale. We were all blissfully ignorant of what was coming, just going about our daily lives and taking things for granted. Like, you know, the freedom to go outside without the risk of getting infected with a serious respiratory disease. And remember when we were free to hug the people we haven’t seen in a long time?

Seem like decades ago, to be honest. And, boy, do I miss those days. This pandemic won’t last forever, but it sure feels like it.

Especially when it’s impact is vast—mentally, physically, economically, etc. Being a self-published author, I feel so damn lucky to be able to sustain myself and my family through this time of financial uncertainty. We don’t have to worry about how we’re gonna get through the succeeding months, money-wise.

Still, I’m anxious about the future (who isn’t!). What’s going to happen in the coming months? What’s going to be the state of the health care system? Will the economy collapse? Am I still going to be alive by the end of this pandemic? What if a world war erupts after this?

It’s not fun to have an anxiety disorder on a normal day. But during a pandemic? It’s a million times worse.

It’s not just impacting my daily routine, but most especally my writing. It’s been over two months since I saw the outside world, and it’s done a number on my productivity. I write full-time, so it’s the only work I have. Before COVID, I’ve always been able to write every day—well, almost every day—no problem.

But now, I can barely spend the whole afternoon writing. While it used to take me just a day or two to finish a chapter, now I need four days to a whole week tops. Don’t get me wrong—I’m used to staying at home. Even before I pursued a career in writing romance books, I was already working from home. I had a short, two-year stint in the employment field before deciding to be a content writer and virtual assistant. So not leaving the house for weeks at a time has always been my normal.

But what I’m not used to is not being able to unwind and go to the city to meet up with friends (currently, I live in the province with my parents and brother) when I want to. I can’t go chill out in the coffee shop and watch the people around me when I feel like it. I can’t see the latest blockbuster movies in cinemas. And travel-wise, my future plans are on-hold.

So the inability to get out and have fun has been affecting my writing habits. And the constant anxiety and the obsessive checking of the news on social media are just making things worse.

How I still manage to be sane(ish) at this point, I have no idea. But I guess it helps that I’m still able to entertain and distract myself by reading books and bingeing shows and movies. Which I always love to do, anyway, and they never fail to calm my nerves.

I haven’t learned any hobbies, which is a bummer, but also not—because I’m extremely lazy. And because of the lack of resources, since I can’t go to the city to buy necessary supplies. While parts of the Philippines have moved from Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ) to General Community Quarantine (GCQ), our area is still under Enhanced Quarantine, albeit modified (MECQ). So not much has really changed. Here’s hoping we’ll be able to go to the city next month to buy the essentials we can’t get here, and if only to see what the outside world looks like.

Times are rough and scary, and the future seems bleak. It’s hard to stay positive when you see the numbers climb up exponentially each day. It’s daunting to think that things will never go back to the “old” normal—not fully. But I’m holding on to the fact that it won’t always be this way. As they say, this, too, shall pass.

And someday, we’ll get there.

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