This month marks the sixth month that my company has been working from home. It’s still hard to believe how much the world has changed since that March 13th (a Friday) when we took our laptops home to test working from home. That weekend HR informed us that someone in our building had tested positive for COVID, and the work from home experiment became reality.
When we first started working from home, I separated my work computer from my home computer by setting my “office” up in my dining room and keeping physical distance between the two spaces. I also made a game plan. I decided I would still get up at my usual time in the mornings and stick to that routine as though nothing had changed. Pre pandemic that gave me about two hours of writing/editing time during the week before I had to get ready to brave the commute to Beverly Hills. Without my daily one-hour battle in traffic, I wound up with a little over an hour extra every morning to play with.
While the lazy part of me wanted to take that hour and watch TV, I tried to stay focused. My neglected house needed tending so I designated a half hour of that extra time to additional writing and a half hour to house cleaning/organizing. I’ve been successful in sticking to that plan, and have managed to work with two different publishers to release novels, as well as self-publish one of my own. I believe my short stories have gotten darker, but that’s true of a lot of people.
There are days when the idea of facing my personal computer is a battle too great to be overcome. I went through a bout of anxiety so paralyzing I started seeing my therapist again. On days like that, if I can’t shake the ennui, I allow myself the luxury of additional television. Thank goodness for Amazon Prime and Netflix. My TV habits have also changed. Shows like Agents of S.h.i.e.l.d. and Westworld are still unwatched on my DVR, replaced with reality shows like The Ultimate Beastmaster, Sing on Spain and Forged in Fire. Reality is too overwhelming for me to watch anything but low-stakes drama. If I do choose a movie it’s more likely to be a Hallmark romance or mystery than anything that will unnerve me.
I am fortunate. I have my job and we have proven we work just as hard, if not harder, than before. The company is having to adjust to an inability to release movies theatrically, and we are altering our work as we go. I’m lucky that my publishers are moving forward with releases, and that so much of what we do is online that not going out is not a major impact. I had three book signing appearances scheduled for April—of course none of them happened, but they will. Someday. The organizers are still there and we are all still in touch. In these uncertain times the best thing we can do is be there for each other.
There is no way to know what the world will look like at the end of all this. All I can do is move through it, putting one foot in front of the other day by day and taking the next indicated step, as I am sure many are doing. We all cope with this as best we can.
Stay safe, and stay well.