Thursday, April 30, 2020

Pandemic Productivity Is Bullsh*t

By now we've all seen this pandemic productivity meme, right?

I'm here to call bullshit. And not just because my productivity has screeched to a halt lately - although it has - but because it's a pretty toxic message that takes into account NONE of the external circumstances surrounding this quarantine.

Like the fact that there's a global pandemic and people are concerned with their health or the health of friends/family.

Or the absolutely astonishing job losses that, even if you're working, have you wondering how the economy can possibly recover. And what it will look like if/when it does.

And that's a big IF you're working. I don't personally know many writers who make enough money from their writing, alone, to sustain their entire family, but I know plenty of writers who have lost their day jobs/been furloughed/had their spouse furloughed. That side hustle is more important than ever, but there's that damn pandemic that's just as alarming as joblessness.

At the same time, there's that whole "remote learning" that's crept into the lives of families with children. And by "crept" I mean came in like a wrecking ball. Or is that just me?

So, yeah...if you're not killing it right now, let me be the one to tell you, it's not only okay, it's probably normal. Yes, I have writer friends who are LOVING this and have found their groove and then some. I have non-writer friends who are organizing their pantries and finally painting the baseboards. Then I have friends like me, who spend too much time reading the news and are slowly finding their way back to reading other things. (I actually had a few creative thoughts today and wrote those down, so that counts as writing, right?)

Instead of writing, I've been spending time connecting with my teenager, which is an unexpected bright spot in this whole thing. And cooking, then cooking some more. Getting anxious about going to the grocery store but going anyway because we can't get any delivery or click-and-collect slots. Running, which is also a bright spot because I'm back up to a decent distance again. (We're really lucky to live in the English countryside, so while I might see a few cyclists, the lanes where I run are pretty deserted.)

Are those things "productive?" Not by the above adage, I don't think. But again, the pandemic productivity mantra rings hollow to me and maybe the most important thing I can give myself at the end of this is grace. Grace to know what I can do, what I cannot, and the belief that one of these days the words will flow (relatively) effortlessly again. 

Are you writing more or less during this pandemic? How has it changed your work habits, if at all?


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Karissa Laurel said...

I am definitely writing less. I'm doing a lot of things, but I can barely stand to sit still at a computer. I've landscaped my front yard, started a vegetable garden, completely renovated my bedroom and the attached half bath, and we built a new deck this weekend. I also have been cooking (but I've always been a big cooker) But I haven't touched a manuscript in weeks. It's like my subconscious thinks something bad will happen if I sit still for too long. And who knows if/when things will get back to "normal"

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