All of a sudden, I want to improve myself

Two weeks ago, I didn’t really want to do anything but worry if I was going to catch the coronavirus. Or if someone in my house or family would. Or if my son and his fiancee were going to figure out how to have a wedding during a pandemic.

Lots of people have talked about how their worries, their trouble sleeping, lack of concentration and focus or, worse, nightmares are taking over their days and nights. I guess I’m one of the crowd. I sleep very little.

I so agreed with a Facebook post going around that asks what skills did you acquire during the self-quarantine. I laughed every single time someone posted it. What skills did I acquire?

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Thanks to Lyndsie Crawford on Facebook for this delightful post.

Hah, hah, hah.

I didn’t learn to make masks.

I didn’t reduce the number of books in my TBR pile. Hey, I could hardly open a book for the first two weeks.

I didn’t even binge watch the Octavia Spencer bio-series on Madame C.J. Walker on Netflix I really want to see.

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That’s me and my hammered dulcimer. 

One thing I did do—well, two, since I make sure I write every single day.

Months before we even heard the word coronavirus, I had signed up for a weeklong workshop on the hammered dulcimer. It was supposed to be in person but even via Zoom it was a delight. It as kept my spirits up all that week and every time I have played since.

But the rest of my interests were seriously on hold.

I decided that maybe nothing needed to get done. I didn’t need to improve anything. All I needed was to follow the guidelines for avoiding the coronavirus, take care of myself, reach out to my friends and family since I couldn’t see them and put on a smile when my husband arrived home. He’s essential and still has to go to work every day.

Now, all of a sudden, I feel like learning things again. And doing things. I still have dirt under my fingernails as I type this. I’ve been working in the garden under a canopy of pink dogwood and purple redbud blossoms. I’ve been listening to the birds chirp and the carpenter bees who have the loudest buzz I’ve heard.

Not only that, I put webinars on my calendar. I’m going to one sponsored by the Maryland Romance Writers this week. Then another by a historical novelist I met at the Historical Novel Society meeting a year ago. Then one more on revising my novel.

One more thing, I’ve been soaking up advice from writers like James Patterson, Margaret Atwood and Dan Brown on MasterClass. A birthday gift from my daughter last year, it has been a wonderful inspiration as these great writers talk about their craft, their process, their dedication and inspiration. I’ve jumped up and run to my laptop to add a note or two to my WIP more than a few times.

When all this is over and we get back to whatever will be normal, I want do want to have acquired new skills. Maybe not a unique way to get tea into my cup—although that looks awesome—but I’m hoping I’m developing a sense of connectedness that I’ve nurtured these past few weeks. And maybe a little more skill as a writer. That would be great.

And, by the way, my son and his fiancee managed to find a way to get married. We attended online but it was a joyous occasion.

I do hope you are finding ways to make this “Great Pause,” as a friend of mine called it, a time of rest, renewal and blessings.

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