Creating in 2020 (& Beyond): A Collaboration Post
Welcome to a very special Writing Desk Blog collaboration!
First off, I want to sincerely thank the thirteen writers, artists, designers, photographers, entrepreneurs and teachers that have joined me today.
When I reached out to everyone about this project, I thought I'd be happy if I only got two or three people who'd like to be involved. When the 'yeses' kept coming, I realized this was a topic that many creators were invested in and that we had an opportunity to address some possible concerns for others.
Over the past year a new light has been shed on underfunded and unsupported pillars of our society. On long-standing issues of inequality and injustice. Our mediums have been forever impacted by the truths we have learned.
After I had my final list of contributors, I asked everyone to answer this question: How did you create during 2020? I purposely left the field open, because I wanted to see how everyone used this time differently.
I am thrilled by the responses and I think this project has come together beautifully.
This is by far the longest and most complex blog post I've ever published. I encourage everyone to take the time to read each creator's story. Perhaps you'll find one that resonates with you!
*Contributions in order by author's last name*
SAMANTHA BRYANT, Author of the Menopausal Superheroes series
Writing is how I process the world. I’ve got a little EM Forster in me, I suppose, as in “How do I know what I think until I see what I say?” From the moment I learned to form words on paper, I turned to the page whenever I had heavy things to deal with, writing diary/journal entries, angry letters that I might or might not deliver, and poetry.
In that sense, writing is thinking for me--meditation, reflection, analysis. I can’t NOT write, so despite all the turmoil of this past year, I’ve continued to write.
As I’ve gotten older, I’ve written more fiction, escaping into other worlds and hashing out my issues a bit more indirectly through characters and plotlines. Often, it’s only when I read the story later that I can spot what was troubling me when I wrote it. It’s a game my subconscious and I play with each other, I suppose.
During my quarantine, teach-from-home period, which is now coming up on a twelve-month sojourn for me, my writing life has ebbed and flowed.
At first, I couldn’t write anything. Not fiction, not journal entries. I’d sit down for my nightly writing session and struggle to produce a couple of hundred words (I’m generally a 800-1200 word a night novelist). I managed some blog posts that were reasonably coherent and some book reviews, but that was it. It was the uncertainty, I think, that had me frozen.
That, and screen burnout. My teaching life went from in-person interaction to running zoom meetings for 4-6 hours a day and handling ALL interactions digitally, so by the time I got to my writing time of day (evenings for me), I was screen burnt. I tried writing by hand, but my arthritis makes that difficult for long periods of time and it’s just not my process anymore.
My solutions were physical and mental. Physically, I got a set of computer glasses: blue light screening and set to a nearer focal point than my regular “walking around” bifocals. That helped tremendously with my screen time overload, saving my poor sore eyes.
I also set up an area of my house as a writing oasis, different from the living room chair I do my teaching work from, so that those two arenas feel separate from one another instead of like more of the same. Little rituals help me make the transition, too, like brewing a fragrant cup of tea to drink and doing a round of stretching before I settle in for a writing session. All physical cues that we’re changing gears now.
Mentally, I shortened my view. Normally I’m a long-range planner, but I’ve tightened that focus to the week ahead or a month ahead at the furthest. A year later, I guess I’ve grown more accustomed to some kinds of uncertainty, because I’m back into a semblance of my regular patterns. I finished the latest novel and sent it off to my publisher…only three weeks late. I guess I’m learning to give myself a little grace, because that didn’t freak me out as much as it usually would. It’s all about finding a balance I can maintain without hurting myself.
ROWE CARENEN, Poet, Editor, & Author Advocate
I am an introvert, which is not too shocking given that I’m a writer; when we were issued stay at home instructions, I was not initially particularly upset. I mean, I was obviously upset about the state of the world and seriously worried for every person in it, but I was perfectly happy to just stay home.
I also thought this would mean I’d be writing more. A lot more. And at first, I was. Poems about watching the puppy play with the recently birthed feral kittens (I had to throw out that porch swing cushion). Poems about learning to waltz in my kitchen. Poems about the beauty of the exact right beer. And then the numbers began to rise. People I knew were in the hospital. A man was murdered on the sidewalk by the police. And over the summer the writing slowed to a trickle and then stopped. And there was guilt. I felt guilty for not writing more. I felt guilty for not reading more. After all, I had said that what kept me from writing and reading was a lack of time. And while that may have been true before, that wasn’t true anymore.
What was keeping me from writing, and reading but less so, was that I was overwhelmed. Overwhelmed by obvious cruelty and hate. Overwhelmed by seeing so much apathy. Overwhelmed by feeling powerless to help. Overwhelmed by my own privilege and ignorance. So, I sat in it. I sat in the overwhelm. I meditated on the overwhelm. I practiced yoga in the overwhelm. I let it change me. And as a result, it changed my words. Slowly the writing came back and what I was writing was different. I wasn’t specifically writing about an attempted coup or that the electoral college confirmed the president on my birthday (although that poem IS going to be written). Because I’ve been changed, the way I share my words changed. I think over the last few years I’ve stripped away layers and layers of the politeness that hung over my writing and 2020 just went on ahead and ripped the last bits off. I don’t have time to be polite in my work anymore. There is no place for it. I think my poetry has become naked now. No more robes hiding the truth, let alone Spanx trying to keep it tucked in.
COURTNEY CARTER, Author & Founder of the Writing Desk Blog
I’d be lying if I said I hadn’t waited until the last minute to write my part of this project. I did. It’s 8:00am now and this completed collaboration post is due for publication at 7:00pm.
I could use the excuse that I was busy formatting and proofreading everyone else’s contributions, and I was, but I think now there was more to it than that.
Throughout 2020, I had a lot of trouble putting how I felt into words. Reading everyone else’s experiences and how they processed the last year has actually helped me to narrow it down.
I started out the year excitedly nervous for the book I’d sent out on submission in late 2019. (More news on that to come.)
Then I was anxious when the first news of COVID broke and lockdown seemed imminent. (My one advantage was that I already worked from home full time.)
I was able to channel some of my energy into a new book outline, which I sped through in record time in the spring. I was so pumped, so ready to get started on this new idea...and then between May and December, I didn't write one word. There were posts I'd already committed to for the blog, and was glad I was able to get them done, but other than that? Not a single word.
Like many of the other creators here with me today, I was oscillating between feeling guilty for not writing, overwhelmed at the thought of what each new day would bring, scared of getting sick or losing a loved one, or wanting to help but not knowing how.
With the help of my friends and family, and the fantastic writing community I’ve built online, I was finally able to start parsing out what I could do. If I couldn’t write (and believe me I couldn’t, I tried so many times until I realized I was doing myself more harm than good) I could channel my creative energy in other ways. I looked for relatively COVID-safe volunteer opportunities in my local community; I dedicated myself to becoming a better informed citizen without getting caught up (most of the time) in all the doomscrolling; I made sure any information or resources I shared were researched and from reliable sources. And then, in December, when I was starting to feel more like myself again, I started writing.
I know this year has just started, and it’s already been rocky. But moving forward into 2021, what I’m looking forward to the most is seeing how we can use our voices, our arts, to elevate those who for so long have been silenced.
Oh, and over the December holidays, with Laura’s help, I made my very first coat. I'm pretty proud of myself. So, there’s that.
WHITNEY GREMAUD, Owner of Whitney Gremaud Photography, LLC
After spending years working in the corporate world, I found myself feeling unfulfilled and struggling to manage my full-time job along with my photography business. In October of 2019, I took the leap and left my corporate job to take my wedding and portrait photography full time.
Little did I know, a global pandemic was just around the corner, as well as the political unrest of 2020. On top of the stress of dealing with canceled or rescheduled weddings and worrying about income, social media became a point of contention for me. Being a small business owner, I decided to go the way of personal branding, meaning I use my personal life as a part of my marketing. Unsurprisingly, this past year was very hard to navigate in the world of social media. I am a highly empathetic person and I felt as if I was walking on eggshells whenever I posted anything. I felt unrelenting pressure to post content to keep up with the grind of Instagram, but at the same time, it felt out of place to post pretty pictures of weddings in a time when there were such bigger issues going on in the world.
I found myself sinking back, not wanting to rock the boat with people that didn’t agree with me and also not wanting to offend people by posting what could be perceived as frivolous content. This threw me into a spiral of feeling unsuccessful in my business, while still feeling constant pressure to create. I wasn’t posting marketing content, I wasn’t creating, I wasn’t expressing my opinions with the world – yet I was very aware of all the posts arguing that silence was just as deafening. So, I had to focus my energy on other things. I did a complete revamp on my website, portfolio, pricing guides and back end office workflows. I was able to allot much more time to smaller portrait sessions and connect with returning clients, who were so kind and uplifting with their encouraging words. I turned my personal focus to jogging, baking, cooking with my husband and creating things for myself that brought me joy.
I’m still working on finding my balance, defining what makes my business successful and finding my voice. If anything, 2020 taught me a lot about who I am, who I want to be and who I want to surround myself with in my personal and business life. I’m hoping that 2021 will bring some peace and clarity.
TARA LYNNE GROTH, Book Author & Poet
When the stay-at-home ordered happened in North Carolina in March 2020, my writing also followed a stay-at-home order. That’s when I was reminded that my writing and I live in different homes. My time and energy last spring funneled into health, wellness, and family. Fitness and nutrition have always been important to me, and with my membership at the Y on hold I had turned my creative thoughts to workouts I could do at home or outside when the weather allowed. Other than doing what I needed to do professionally, taking care of myself, and making grocery and farmers’ markets visits efficient for two households (my husband and I, and his health-compromised parents), writing became—if we want to use modern vernacular—non-essential.
The feelings of fear and uncertainty changed my perspective, and I knew that it was changing everyone else’s perspective too. Knowing that made me silent. I stopped posting on my writing blog. I stopped sending my newsletter. Things that had been routine in my writing home were no longer there, and large parts of my home life were lost. However, some things remained exactly the same.
Accepted the season
For the past two years I’ve been experimenting with a home garden that has morphed into a new lifestyle. When we were all told to stay at home, the spring growing season was under way. The natural cycles of the days and the familiarity of the season’s rhythms were easy to focus on, and find comfort in. Given the supply chain challenges the world faced, I felt grateful I had a large seed collection, that I already had experience growing food, had established growing spaces and tools, and an amateur knowledge of preservation.
For me, with the seasonal demands of the garden come the unpredictable commitments of beekeeping. Pre-COVID I had already decided to take a seasonal approach to my writing. Beekeeping in the spring and summer is so time-intensive that it makes balancing the typical needs of life and writing so stressful that nothing is enjoyable.
By the time the gardening and beekeeping seasons slowed down, the world was peeking out from behind the curtain and I picked up my writing practices again: Blog updates, newsletters, and journal submissions. Plus a friend and I spent a socially-distanced writing retreat weekend at an Airbnb where I re-focused and re-designed my website and chose my writing priorities.
Those priorities fit for me right now. At this time of social and political change, I can’t expect my writing home to stay the same. Readership will change too. This is necessary because writing IS essential.
TYFFANY HACKETT, Award-winning author of The Thanatos Trilogy
2020, and inevitably the lead into 2021, has been a really taxing period for creatives. I don’t know any artists that aren’t battling with major slumps, myself included, and finding a balance between procrastination and grace has only added to the struggle.
I know that it’s easy to get caught up in the need to “make”, and that creatives generally feel incomplete without the outlet of generating art, but I think in periods of major societal stress or change it’s important to remember that we have to take care of ourselves, too. Endlessly I have to remind myself that I can’t pour from an empty cup. And that applies to art as well. As creatives, our work is never as strong when we’re not in the mental headspace we need to be in. Sometimes that means taking breaks, sometimes it means giving ourselves grace, and sometimes it means creating in tiny bursts, until our think-tanks run dry and we have to recharge again.
And while I think that art and passion are important, and that we need to foster and fuel them, it’s important that we take time, and create the space, for the things happening in the world around us as well. I believe it’s very easy to sink into the escapism around art, but growth and change are necessary too—for us as people and as a society.
Sometimes it feels like the need to create is this heavy pressure, too. If you’re not creating, are you even contributing to this artistic world in a worthwhile way? But don’t forget to love yourself. Don’t forget that at the end of the day you only have one life, and your life isn’t singularly valued on the things you contribute to the world around you. It’s in the small moments, that can be buried under internal and external stressors. Take care of you. The art will come in time. <3
MARISSA HARRISON, Author of Rain City Lights
Pandemic. Something that exists only in history or movies or bleak, dystopian novels. Not something that I would ever believe I’d experience in my lifetime. And yet, here we are. How would I sum up the year 2020? In the most concise way I can, I would say that 2020 was the year we saw how truly despicable and resilient and powerful and kind the human race can be. It was the year in which time felt like it had been stolen from us, and simultaneously, it is the year in which it seemed we had nothing but time on our hands. It will be interesting to see the creativity that will inevitably stem from this devastating and inspiring time. It will be amazing to see the good that will rise from the ash of our collective failure.
2020 did not feel like a productive year for me. I am a structured, methodical and disciplined person. My writing routine had me waking at five in the morning, most mornings. It didn’t matter if I wrote 750 words or 27, five am was my time to create and I showed up regardless of how I felt. And then the pandemic hit. I could no longer find that discipline or motivation to show up at the same time every day. Following me was this constant feeling of dread, or this massive appreciation for this fragile life. Some days it felt like everything was pointless, because how could life mean anything when it can be taken away over a measly counterfeit twenty dollar bill? Some days it felt like I had so much to be thankful for, and like I could power through anything. Some days it felt like my existence was blurred, and I couldn’t tell the difference between what I had done an hour ago, or a week, or three months.
But when I look back at 2020, a year in which I shed more tears for strangers than ever before, I can see that creativity never left me. In fact, it was the thing that kept my head above water. Because in the year since the pandemic started, I have published a novel and completed the first draft of another. I was more productive in this one year than I had been in the previous six, trying to figure out how to do this whole noveling thing. In spite of all the days I didn’t want to get out of bed, when I chose a glass of wine and Netflix over my craft, I ended up making something substantial. 70,000 words. The first step to a finished book. I don’t know what’s in them, but I know that the beauty and rage and despair I witnessed ended up on that page. And the way I got there is the same way we got through this horror of a year. With community. With vulnerability. And moment to moment, by being honest with myself and what I needed. Creativity has its process. But it is also mercurial, and requires only one thing from us mortals. That we show up, when we can, in whatever form we’re in.
LYN FAIRCHILD HAWKS, Author & College Essay Consultant
Pandemic time drips. It crawls, beading up like dew on a leaf in one of those nature shows—only not so pretty. It’s been hard to see luminescent rainbows or sunlight glinting through the murky haze of 2020. And like pandemic time, there have been many parts of my writer's life on hold.
Time also jets ahead with dizzying speed, leaving me at the end of day asking, What DID you do?
You can see how I can’t decide. I feel torn between two states of being most days. What I do know is I’ve been on a yearlong retreat where writing is what I do every day. For once, there is no compartmentalization. Finally, I can give a little something—even if it’s just a drop—to the page, every day. My creative work ferments all day, while I clean, while I cook, while I exercise.
Two big choices in 2020 gave me this time. I decided to take educational leave from my job to pursue an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults with the Vermont College of Fine Arts. I decided to expand a long-standing freelance business into a full-time one: college essay coaching. Getting to use all my career skills in one business—coaching young storytellers—is pure joy. I’m also writing lessons and sharing them on Teachers Pay Teachers. All of these new enterprises, they are worth the risk of not-so-awesome health care and temporary pay cut. I’m grateful I have my health and home to allow me this space.
No longer commuting and working in an office, I see and talk to fewer people every day. Talking to teens about their college essays for my business, Success Story, and how they can craft a unique story in their authentic voices, this keeps technique on my mind all day. Do these things help my writing life? Absolutely. Like retreats, there’s a new kind of quiet and focus in my life that gives my buzzing brain all kinds of space.
VCFA requires 35-50 pages of creative work every five weeks, setting up what I hope will be a lifelong routine of daily writing. It’s fabulous to have professors and deadlines. With VCFA I wrote my first picture book, started my first middle grade verse novel, and kept at two different YA novels I’d started prior to the program. One’s about a small-town teen activist fighting a fascist sheriff and small thinking, and the other is an historical novel of two best friends growing up in the ‘80s, where one discovers her white privilege.
But lest I sound like the most productive person in the world, the truth is the small-town teen novel needed tons of revision. I spent a whole year, two semesters, on the first 80 pages, discovering who the heck RJ Haynes is. Now I know, and I am so grateful to the magical professors who helped me get her there: Martha Brockenbrough, An Na, and David Gill. While I wrote, my awesome agent and amazing advocate, Tara Gelsomino, submitted one of my other YA novels to publishers. She and I have done a lot of waiting in between sends to hear back from folks. ’Tis the business, ’tis the time.
Just like we all are discovering now, hunkered down in our homes, I have come to peace with how long it takes to make something good. Prior to the pandemic, I and the rest of the publishing industry was in a breathless rush to crank stuff out, fast. Some of the industry still is. But death and suffering and grief, all of this begs big questions about who I want to be. Do I want to breathe, or keep my nose running relentless against the proverbial grindstone? Do I want to care so deeply what other people say and think, and live in the social media stew, or do I want to keep this sacred space to write? While I’ll never stop working hard, what state of mind do I want to keep inside?
I think you know my answer.
I recently won the Norma Fox Mazer award at VCFA for my latest novel, and that recognition will put a few pages of the book in front of an editor at one of the big houses. I wait to hear from her. I wait for me to make this novel all it could be, as I write new pages and revise daily. At the end of the day, I see what’s bubbled up from the creative brew inside me. I don’t do word counts. I just give thanks that I get to spend another day with words.
LAURA PRICE, Owner & Designer of Pretties by Laura
I am a designer and seamstress, and a love of mine has always been lingerie. After years of dreaming of starting a handcrafted lingerie collection, I finally jumped all in, quit my job in alterations, and began working from home to develop something all my own. It was the best decision that I’ve ever made, and I’ve found true happiness in being able to create beautiful treasures that are designed to encourage and empower women to love their bodies just as they are. As with any new venture, you never really know what to expect, but you plan, give it all you have, and hope for the best. I designed my first collection and worked with an amazing team of ladies to feature my designs in a boudoir photo shoot in early March 2020. My plans were moving right along, and then COVID-19 happened. I launched my Etsy shop in early April amidst uncertainty in our world. So you may ask, “How did it go?” It’s hard to say how things may have been different if this pandemic had never happened, but I have managed to make the most of my circumstances.
I think that more than ever, I’ve realized just how much of an introvert I am. I am just fine in crowds or social situations, but I don’t need them to thrive. My saving grace throughout this interesting time has been the ability to escape to the outdoors and exercise, even if it is only in the backyard. Obviously, I cannot sew outdoors, but I can sketch, paint, plan, and do paperwork, and I’ve loved it. While in quarantine and adjusting to a normalized much less social life, I’ve had more time for my hobbies, which has actually kept me much more creative. I’ve practiced embroidery, watched ballets and theatrical performances, enjoyed art exhibits online, and have even sewn things for myself! Certainly, every day isn’t all peachy. In the year 2020, we faced numerous unpleasant events that have caused division and anxiety, and there were some days that I had to work through a “funk.” I often felt that my efforts were unnoticed or my work petty in the grave status of our nation or world, but it requires a shift in perspective to remain positive. I can make a difference and bless others when I am myself, using my unique talents, and with a heart filled with love. I cannot make myself what I am not. The beauty of community is that we all have something to contribute, it is important, and it can be impactful.
DEEK RHEW, Sci-fi & Thriller Author
In a lot of ways, the pandemic has actually made me more productive. I already worked my regular 8-5 at home, so I didn’t have any sort of transition when things went into lockdown. But, for me, a couple of things have changed.
The first is that I no longer drive to the gym. Like everyone, I had to adapt my workouts or risk gaining the Pandemic 30. So, I bought a couple sets of resistance bands. Now instead of pumping iron, I pump rubber bands. Same concept, it just sounds like I’m fighting a Marvel villain instead of working out. The drive to the gym was maybe fifteen minutes, but with a round trip of thirty minutes—plus going to the locker room, getting ready, and so on—working out at home probably saves me about 3-4 hours a week.
Second, my wife, Erin, and I don’t travel as much. While we were super bummed that we had to cancel our Hawaii trip in 2020, we now rarely go to the grocery story, physically meet with friends and family, or go to restaurants. Instead, we have our groceries delivered, chat over FaceTime, and have our meals delivered via Grubhub.
While none of these things takes a lot of time, the extra hours add up.
Using all this extra time, I completed the rough drafts of two novels in 2020 and half of another. In addition, we signed two authors on at Tenacious Books Publishing, released their book in November, published two books of my own, and released three audiobooks.
Things are crazy everywhere right now. But, despite the polarization we see on social media, people are still good. They are still willing to offer helping hands in both kindness and good faith to those who need it. Plus, business opportunities still exist, even in a pandemic. We just need to be creative enough to find them.
ERIN RHEW, Author of The Fulfillment series and The Transhuman Project
I am both a writer and professional editor, and even before the pandemic, my writing had taken a backseat to my editing career. But during the pandemic, I’ve seen an even bigger increase in requests for my editing services. Hence, my writing has fallen even further behind.
Now, don’t get me wrong, I love helping other people realize their writing dreams. I am the quintessential grammar nerd (commas aren’t sprinkles), and I really do enjoy getting down into the nitty gritty of story arcs, grammar, and character development. But it also means that I don’t write as often as I’d like.
Another tricky thing about writing during a pandemic is working from home. Weirdly, I’ve always worked from home, so I wouldn’t have thought it would be different. But while I’ve always worked from home, everyone else hasn’t, and now their behaviors (starting at 5am or working until 10pm) affect my day as well. Since so many people have trouble separating their work time from their home time when it all occurs in the same space, I find that co-workers or bosses request items to be delivered in a short turnaround during non-company hours. These at-all-hours requests cut into my writing and editing time as well.
I also miss writing in public spaces. My husband, Deek, and I used to take writing oasis dates to coffeehouses or the library. But now, we can’t do that. Everything in our lives—our work, our writing, our exercise, and our regular lives—occurs in the same four walls. And for the record, I am not the homebody sort. I like to be out and about in the world, and I feel that helps spur ideas for writing as well. Shakespeare was said to have a such a profound handle on human nature because he was an avid people watcher. With quarantine orders and mask mandates, it’s much harder to people watch.
Ironically, I had high hopes that the pandemic would ignite my creativity (I’ve always been huge into dystopians), but it hasn’t quite panned out that way. However, my editing business is thriving, and I’m excited about that. And I’m incredibly thankful to live in an amazing beach town and be able to spend more time with my family.
HANK PHILLIPPI RYAN, USA Today bestselling author of The First to Lie (Mary Higgins Clark Award Nominee) & The Murder List (Anthony Award Winner-Best Novel)
I remember where I was on the first day before lock down--on book tour, and in the Palm Beach airport. I was terrified. When I arrived home from the Boston airport, still terrified, I began to wonder, as many of us did, whether what I was doing was worthwhile. With all of our lives in the balance, was I spending my time properly by writing stories? And after some thought, and some difficulty getting my brain to focus, I came to the conclusion that I had decided to be an author with agency and intent. Because storytelling and entertainment and the entire process of creating new world was—yes--valuable! And in these terrible times, even more valuable. It’s always safe inside a book, I realized, and always safe inside a manuscript. So I embraced my writing with new joy and intensity.
That in mind, I finished my novel in progress—my thirteenth, HER PERFECT LIFE, coming out in September). My author pal Hannah Mary McKinnon and I now co-host First Chapter Fun, (on Facebook and Instagram-come join us!) designed to showcase authors whose book tours have been curtailed in pandemic times. Author Karen Dionne and I started The Back Room, an interactive Zoom salon where readers and writers can talk up close and personal. (See the incredible panel line-ups at bskp.org—come join us!) We're thrilled with how we’ve helped keep this wonderful community in contact with each other by creating new ways to discover new books and new authors—and turning our focus optimistically to the future. Books are way of bringing us all together, and I'm proud to be part of that. And now-- off to work on my next book!
LIZA NASH TAYLOR, Historical novelist
This time last year, I was sending out letters asking authors I admire to take the time to read my advance copies and supply a (hopefully) glowing blurb for the cover of my debut historical novel, Etiquette for Runaways. I was actually on a three-week cruise around South America and when I returned, all this COVID shit started. I had nurtured hopes of a book tour and book festivals and live events. When my book came out in August I had a Zoom launch, but no one could browse in bookstores and discover my novel. I did the best I could. All of us launching books last year did. I did dozens of radio spots and podcasts and livestreams and site takeovers on social media. Now, I’m going through the same process in preparation for the release of my second book, In All Good Faith, on August 10 from Blackstone Publishing. I hope things will be better by then. I had started a third manuscript, but I found, in this past year, that I felt like I had run out of steam. The process of promoting a book is far more demanding than I had anticipated. I found myself withdrawing into life at home, in quarantine.
The upside of all of this is that I’ve started another project that never would have begun except for my being stuck at home. I’ve always been a knitter and I began to play with the idea of writing a children’s book using my knitted animal characters. That project has turned into a surprising source of joy and inspiration. I’ve written a manuscript and found a photographer, and I’m working on some sets and hope to send some test shots off to my literary agent in the spring. So the upside of this past year has been a surprise. It’s made me look up from the screen and open my mind to inspiration, wherever it may come from.
CHARLENE WALTERS, MBA, PHD, Author of Launch Your Inner Entrepreneur, Speaker, Business & Branding Mentor