Updated: Apr 9, 2020
I don't know about you, but I'm having trouble being productive during this challenging time of mandatory quarantine.
My revelation: You can't always make lemons into lemonade.
I mean, what if the lemons have gone bad? I don't think that lemonade would appeal to anyone.
Or conversely, what if the lemons are perfectly ripe, but you're out of sugar to sweeten the juice?
Or...maybe the store is simply out of lemons, not very much of a stretch right now.
Of course I'm being overly dramatic, so let me give you a little backstory to explain where I'm coming from.
I'm a preschool teacher, and a writer. During a normal work week, I'm exhausted at the end of the day, which means I typically don't get a lot of writing done on week days. I do most of my writing in the early morning hours on weekends. I can often be heard mumbling: "If only I had more time to write, imagine how much I could get done!"
Fast-forward to now. I'm home every day on mandatory quarantine just like much of the rest of the world.
And yet, I can't write.
Not a word.
I don't care about which direction my characters go, I don't care if the story moves along or even where I've halted the tale. In short, I just don't care right now. (Quite the opposite from my normal attitude! Usually, I almost obsessively have to move the characters forward. It's all my brain can think about until the story is finished...)
But not now.
The irony is not lost on me. Currently, I have a multitude of hours each day open for writing...and yet I'm not typing anything.
No lemons, no lemonade.
Just a blank page almost mocking my lack of creativity in a time when I could be most productive.
And I should be, right?
It's taken me a while to come to terms with the fact that if I'm not in my most creative state of mind during a world-wide pandemic, it's okay. It's okay for me, and it's okay for you, too.
It's okay if you're not getting a lot done in the face of worrying whether your cough is allergies...or something more.
It's okay if you didn't clean your house today like you'd planned while watching rising numbers and people either panicking or ignoring the situation.
It's okay if you didn't cook a full-course meal while hearing about healthcare workers with a lack of equipment, and grocery-store workers putting up with rude comments because their shelves are empty.
It's okay if you didn't get that craft made while worrying about paying the bills or someone you know who tested positive.
In short, it's okay.
I'm finally giving myself permission to let my creative side be in quarantine with the rest of me.
I'll say it again to make sure you really hear it: IT'S OKAY.
For me, my writing is what's lacking during this time. For you, it may be painting, journaling, song-writing, game-playing, building, crafting.
Whatever it is for you, if you find yourself lacking motivation to do what you think you're supposed to be doing while you're home, I urge you to give yourself a pass.
There's no rule-book for what we should be doing during this stressful time in our history.
We're all in this together.
Our anxiety-filled brains are working hard right now.
Working to keep a smile on our faces for our families.
Working hard to juggle new things and confront the unknown.
Working hard to come together to beat this thing so we can return to some kind of 'normal'.
And despite what I said at the beginning of this post, I'm trying my best to drink the lemonade, even if it's only a small drop at a time.
My 'Lemon Drops':
*I may not be writing, but I've been doing a lot of reading during this forced time at home. (Something else I always wish to have more time to do.)
*I'm spending more time with my family, and my dogs are happy to spend more time with us too!
*We've discovered new shows to watch, and even re-discovered some oldies but goodies.
*I've recorded video story time to send to my students each week we are apart so we can stay connected until we return to school. (I miss them!)
*I'm enjoying nature even more than I usually do, my favorite way to connect with my faith in God and humanity.
*And hey, look at all these words I've written right here! It's not moving my novel foward, but it's definitely a start.
And you know what?
If we stick together and share our stories to inspire each other, I think we can find a way to turn those lemons into something.
It may not be lemonade. Maybe we'll make lemon pudding, meringue, or lemon cake instead.
Maybe what we thought we were supposed to be doing looks a bit different than our original plan.
What are YOUR lemon drops? Please share if you feel comfortable sharing, so we'll all know we're not alone!
Kristen L. Jackson,
Author of the KEEPER OF THE WATCH Series and
children's picture book JOCELYN'S BOX OF SOCKS
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