Tuesday, May 5, 2020

IWSG Blog Hop: My Memoir vs COVID-19

Hello and welcome to the 
Insecure Writer's Support Group Blog Hop!
Always on the first Wednesday of the month.

IWSG Blog Hop
What is the Insecure Writer's Support Group?
Founded by author Alex J. Cavanaugh, the Insecure Writer’s Support Group offers support for writers and authors alike. It provides an online database, articles and tips, a monthly blog posting, a Facebook and Instagram group, Twitter, and a monthly newsletter. To find out more, click this link:  Insecure Writer’s Support Group

The purpose of the group is 
* to share and encourage. 
* Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. 
* Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. 
*It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds! 
You're invited to become a member of this supportive group. Click here to sign-up to join.

The awesome co-hosts for the May 6 posting of the IWSG are Feather Stone, Beverly Stowe McClure, Mary Aalgaard, Kim Lajevardi, and Chemist Ken!


May 6 question - 

Do you have any rituals that you use when you need help getting into the ZONE? Care to share?

I don't know as I would call it a ritual but I discovered I trim my nails before tackling my WIP. I don't do it on purpose. I've noticed a perk though when I'm writing. My fingers perform nimble acrobatics across the keyboard without the nuisance of long nails slowing me down. I haven't tested to discover if my storytelling or perhaps my spelling and grammar is improved by nail length. But I'm sure my word count explodes on the pages. How about you?

My Memoir vs COVID-19 by J.Q. Rose

When the news of the coronavirus made headlines and restrictions were imposed, I did not accept the reality of the moment. We were in Florida for the winter, but shutting down the beaches and bars in Florida had no effect on my life. Then the governor's decisions did start leaking into my life. 
  • No more than ten people in a group. 
  • No restaurants open for breakfast after church and no more church services in the building. 
  • No getting together at friends' homes for pegs and jokers board games and delicious party food.  
Each order beat a chink in the armor I had put on to protect myself and my feelings about the reality of this life-changing pandemic for me and the entire world.

A community-wide yard sale in our over 55+ park scheduled for Saturday, March 21 really brought home the fact how serious this disease was. Our friends wanted to participate in the yard sale, so they brought their items over to our house and I added some of our "white elephants" to their tables they had set up in our carport. 

After finishing the displays of goods, my friend and I hopped in the car a list of the addresses of sales scheduled to be open on that Saturday. We noticed only a few cars and golf carts were out and about. Unusual for the first hours of yard sailing day. I drove and my friend navigated to the next stop. We were surprised at how many people had opted out of participating in the sale fearing the Coronavirus could be spread throughout our senior community. 

On our way back to our house, we discussed how people were accepting the precautions. That was the eye-opening moment when we knew it was time to get serious about the impact this virus could have on our community.

I accepted the changes and kept up with housework and writing, looking forward to our trip back north in April. Then, the rumors about traveling out of Florida flew through the snowbird community--borders closed, no rest areas open, no places to eat along the highways that we would travel on to get home. When Florida closed its borders to anyone traveling from states highly infected with the disease, we decided we'd better get OUT of Florida while we could and get back IN to Michigan before they banned travel from Florida. Everything was up in the air, not knowing what stories from locals were true and how much of the media coverage could be trusted.

I never agonize over packing up to move back north. We've moved from this place in Florida every spring since 2006. But this year, my brain was scattered. I couldn't decide what to pack, how to pack, what to bring on a trip where I feared no restrooms and no food would be available. And would the gas stations be open for us along the highways when we needed them? My heart is pounding even now just remembering the anxiety I felt that week before we left on the 22-hour trip north. I wasn't crazy about spending the night in a motel not knowing how carefully they sanitized it, so we decided to spend just one night on the road rather than two.
Downtown Atlanta,Georgia, April 5,2020
Eerie scene driving through the city which is usually bumper to bumper and stop and go traffic
Thankfully, the trip was smooth and easy. Light traffic on the Interstate meant no traffic jams as we sped through the big cities. Gas stations were open all the way along the route. The rest areas were open so most of the time I was the only one in the ladies' room--just me and 20 toilets. The motel in Kentucky was clean. In fact, the clerk who greeted us sanitized the pen GT used before and after he signed the papers and the desktop where we signed in. 

We arrived safely home in the late afternoon of the second day on the road. Our daughter and son-in-law had the electric and heat on, so the refrigerator was cold and ready to load up with food and the house was warm and comfortable. I sighed a relief we were home.

I tried to settle into our normal life, again with housework and writing, but I couldn't focus on the memoir I was trying to finish for a June release. Evidently, other authors had the same problem because our thoughtful publisher, Jude Pittman, sent a note on the authors' group FB page that she understood it was a difficult time for authors to get their books ready for publishing in 2020. So if we needed to re-schedule to a later date, we could. I blew off the idea. That pandemic was not going to interfere with my writing.

However, after realizing I just couldn't focus on writing the best book I could for BWL Publishing and for my readers, I finally asked Jude to re-schedule.  I felt horrible about changing the release date since I had shouted about it so much. But when Jude said she could re-schedule the release to January 2021, I felt the cloud of anxiety lift and float away.

I know many of you are dealing with stress, anxiety, sadness and loss brought on by this devastating event. You are not alone. Reach out for help because we all need help getting through this, but getting through this, we will! 

After all, this is the Insecure Writers Support Group--there for each other in supporting our writing efforts. After many years of taking part in the group, I have witnessed the caring and kindness offered to each other than just writing. 

Please leave a comment below with a helpful tip on how you focus on your writing during stressful times. Thank you.


Lighten Up with Time Out While Staying In: 5 Quirky Short Stories

I put together a collection of five quirky stories to give you a break from the burden of dealing with so many challenges. So Take a Break. Download these approximately 1000 word stories which were originally published on this blog for the Storytime Blog Hop.

You are not signing up for anything other than having some time to escape reality!

Time Out While Staying In: FREE--
Five Quirky Short Stories by J.Q. Rose

I've had a lot of fun re-visiting and revising the stories for you. Sit back, laugh or gasp for a few minutes. 
You deserve it.
Click here to download the file.

We will get through this difficult time. I think we'll be surprised at how many things will change for the better as a result.

Hugs from J.Q. Rose

The May edition of the Rose Courier will be delivered next week. Still time to have it delivered to your inbox. Click the image in the sidebar or click here to sign up for all the news and giveaways from J.Q. Rose. Thank you.


Diane Burton said...

Wow, what a trip you had. Hubs dismissed the virus, too, until I asked our daughter (whose husband is a doctor) to talk to him. He had a quick change of mind. It's scary times. I'm grateful for friends online who keep int touch. We all know we're in this together. Like you, I can't focus. Hang in there.

J.Q. Rose said...

Hi Diane, It is hard to comprehend how vicious this virus is.Thanks.

Ellen Jacobson said...

I'm so glad you guys got back to Michigan safe and sound, but what an anxious run-up to that trip it was. We're still in Florida. I'd really like to get out of here before hurricane season starts.

So glad you were able to push back the release date. :)

Chrys Fey said...

I smiled at the part about you trimming your nails before you write. I just let me nails grow until they break. lol

cleemckenzie said...

A little personal grooming might be the trick! Good idea. As to the disorienting and confusing time...I'm right there with you. Fingers crossed that this will go away and hopefully never return.

Computer Tutor said...

What a story, Janet. I'm glad you made it safely. Each state has such different rules, it's definitely better to be home than away.

Pat Garcia said...

thank you for sharing your experience with Covid19. I was going through some changes. because I was supposed to have my first manuscript to a publisher who is very much interested in bringing me into his publishing company. However, I was anxious and worried about not meeting my deadline. One of his very close friends advised me to drop him a line and I did. The publisher sent me a reply that blew me away. He told me that he didn't want me rushing, and to. take my time. The best thing that he said was, my door is always open to you. That made me feel good because I knew he meant.

I'm glad you made it back safely before the borders were closed.

Take care.

Shalom aleichem,
Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

Liza said...

Sadly, for the first time in eleven years, I am finding it a challenge to sit down with my writing. I still keep sitting though. It's all I can do.

Karen Lynn said...

There is definitely something eerie about all those empty cities! The webcams are downright creepy.
I'm fighting to find "meaning" in the projects that I started before the pandemic. On the other hand, the Muse has gifted me with an out-of-the-blue children's book, which I had a lot of fun with.
Happy IWSG Day!

Marsha said...

Hey, JQ. I worried about you on your trip, but then I worried about you in your community. I've taken this seriously from the get go. And I'm looking long term. We need a vaccine desperately. Until then, we wont' have anything like normal and then it won't be normal. I bet we never go back to shaking hands and hugging they way we used to. You know I write current day romantic suspense, but yesterday morning I woke up with a picture of a future time when characters looked back at us and said, "What was the matter with them with all that kissing and touching? Didn't they realize it would make them sick?" Well, not planning on writing that story, but someone will. So glad you're home and glad you pushed back your release to get out form under the stress. I'm still shooting for a fall release, but I've got to get through the dreaded over used words list first. LOL Stay in. Be safe. Be well. :)

L. Diane Wolfe said...

I've been stuck in Atlanta traffic several times for book signings. I can't imagine it empty. I'm sure the media hyped up the closings and you had no trouble finding gas.

Pushing back your release date was a good idea. DLP has released two books during this time with two more on the way. Contemplated moving them and then decided not to. The authors were a go, so we went for it.

Susan Bernhardt said...

What an extremely interesting post, Janet! I remember you wrote me during this time before and after your trip back. Glad you got home safely. It will be interesting what fall will bring with it when you return to Florida. Enjoy your time now in Michigan. Take care. Be safe! <3

emaginette said...

Sorry no tips just happy thoughts heading your way. I'm glad you made it back okay. :-)

Anna from elements of emaginette

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Ellen. Yes, before hurricane season starts and HOT summer!

J.Q. Rose said...

I don't know why it affects me like that...almost like a super power takes over. LOL..

J.Q. Rose said...

Yep..speaking of personal grooming. I really really really need a haircut!

J.Q. Rose said...

Yes, and I learned rumors run rampant during times like these. Thanks for stopping in.

J.Q. Rose said...

Pat, I am thrilled to hear your publisher was so understanding and supportive of you. So many good people in this industry. You take care too.

J.Q. Rose said...

Liza, I understand. Enjoy some free writing time. Just put your pen to paper and write for 5 minutes about anything in your head. Don't pick up the pen from the paper. Just go. Nobody but you will read it. Happy to hear you keep sitting!

J.Q. Rose said...

Lots of surprises happen when life is disrupted. Sounds like you had a wonderful time with the book. Happy May!

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Marsha. You're right. We'll be looking at hugging and handshaking for sure. Some people just ARE huggers though and it will be difficult for them! Good luck with your editing!!

J.Q. Rose said...

Yes you understand exactly what I mean about eerie streets in Atlanta. Glad you went ahead with publications. It'll be interesting to see if people are buying books in this time. It sounds like a lot of people are reading. Wishing you success with your new releases!

J.Q. Rose said...

Thanks, Susan. I haven't even thought about the fall yet!! Take care.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you. I'm grabbing those happy thoughts!!

Joylene Nowell Butler said...

I can't believe how much your life sounds like mine. We're still in Bucerias because we didn't react fast enough. Which isn't really the issue. We camp in Canada so the thought of going home early was difficult. We opted for staying and then they cancelled our May flight. Now we're here until June which is one month over our visa. It's been quite a ride. I'm glad you're okay, Janet and that you're both safe and healthy.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you, Joylene. I hope the government understands you planned to leave before the visa expired...yikes. Keep me updated on your whereabouts.

Helena Fairfax said...

Hi JQ, I'm so glad you got home safely, and I can just imagine your anxiety en route. I feel anxious just going to the supermarket. It's a very unpleasant experience. It's a strange world we're living in. I'm glad you're safe and well at home. Wishing all the best to you and family.

J.Q. Rose said...

Thank you, Helena. Glad to be home even if spring is slow to come to Michigan!!

Sandra Cox said...

Hey Cuz,
How kind of you to offer a freebie.
We are currently in uncharted waters aren't we. I'm sorry you've had to deal with the stress of going from one state to another, but glad it's in the rearview mirror.
Hope your Mother's Day was a good one.

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