You’re a writer so you would spend your lockdown writing a story, right? Well, yes, in theory…
A Good Writing Routine
I have worked from home for quite a few years now, and have a well- established routine for my writing and coaching business.
On the other hand, my husband’s job involves attending meetings, seminars, working from two offices, one in London and one up in the Lake District. That means a lot of travelling. He’d typically be away one or two nights per week, and on top of that have a couple of evening engagements.
Whereas I would perhaps have one meeting or two meetings per week, and the rest of the time you’d find me working from my home office in North London. I don’t even use cafe’s for writing, although occasionally if I get stuck with a story, I’d go to the British Library or a club in town. But that is more the exception than a rule.
In other words, in normal times, I have a lot of quiet time alone in my office. Perfect for writing.
Sharing Is Caring
The lockdown in the UK meant that both of my husband’s offices were closed, all meetings and events cancelled. Instead, he began a daily webinar, broadcasting fives times per week, interviewing industry professionals. It was evident quite soon that he needed a quiet office in order to carry on working… Yes, you’ve guessed it, he took over my space.
Now we’re lucky; we have an office and a spare bedroom, so I took a table that was sitting on the balcony, bought a standing desktop and set myself up in our daughter’s old bedroom. No problem?
Not so fast.
Silence Is Golden
I’d been used to my own company. And silence. Although noise as such doesn’t affect my ability to write; I’ve produced some of my best work in busy cafes, planes or trains. But listening to your husband talk for 8-10 hours (there was the daily webinar, plus all those meetings he used to have face to face turned into loud telephone conversations) is something else.
The walls in our flat are thin. For the first few weeks, I just could not concentrate. I realised the noise of your husband’s voice is totally different from the ambient sounds of strangers talking around you. It was evident that I’d been conditioned to pay attention to what my husband was saying. We have been married for 35 years after all. (If only he’d have the same issue – but that’s another matter and a blog post.)
Instead of getting on with my own work, I’d sit in my new bedroom office, listening to the various conversations my husband had. It was driving me crazy.
Then there was the worry. Worry for family, worry for the world. All of this was making it impossible to write. I know lost of other writers and artist felt the same. Even though they were used to working from home, the quarantine forced upon them, combined with the horror of the international situation, froze their creative brains. Oh, how I could relate to this!
Submarine Patrol Rules
Early on in the lockdown, we both realised that we needed a routine for the weekdays when we’d be working together in the flat. The husband, who’s an ex-submariner, suggested we’d look at the Submarine patrol routine. I was sceptical, but when I saw what it entailed, I realized this is the way we have been living all of our married life!
Having a routine did help to rein in the constant worry about our nearest and dearest and the longing we had for physical contact with our children and grandchild. It also made us think less about the state of the world. At the height of the pandemic, we decided to limit the amount of news we saw or listened to. This, together with our daily walks or runs, I believe, was vital is us not going down into a rabbit hole of desperation.
But having a routine didn’t help me with the noise issue. The worst time during the day for me was when my husband hosted the webinar, so I began taking a run while he chatted away to his audience.
A few weeks in, I remembered that I’d bought the husband noise-cancelling headphones for his commute on the London tube. Wearing these was a revelation. I couldn’t hear a thing and could be transported to my own world and, finally, I was able to write again.
My Lockdown Story
Getting into a routine of writing was wonderful. I could forget about COVID-19, about the politics of the pandemic, and even about the new noisy work colleague that I’d suddenly gained.
Although strange and scary circumstances, to be transported to the beautiful Åland Islands, one of my most favourite places on earth, gave me an escape from the grim realities of the pandemic. I consider myself unbelievably lucky in both remaining healthy, but also because I am able to have a profession where I can spend my time daydreaming.
My lockdown story, The Island Daughter, began taking shape in late March and by the end of May, I had the story more or less written. This sounds rather fast for a 340-page novel, but I had been plotting and charting the story since early January. And the novel is Book 3 in a series, called Love on the Island, so I knew the characters very well. Which always helps.
The Island Daughter
One family. Old secrets. New life.
Alicia returns home to the islands after a family tragedy, leaving behind a new life in Stockholm with Patrick. But when his ex, Mia, makes a move to rekindle their relationship, Alicia is torn between duty and her own happiness. Alicia’s world is further upended when deeply buried family secrets surface.
How can she face the future when everything she believed to be true about her past is a lie?
A 48-hour Launch Day Offer
Today is publication day for my lockdown story! What’s more, there’s a rather special offer…
The Island Daughter is now on a very short Launch Day Offer. This $0.99 promotion ends midnight 18 July (tomorrow) when the price goes up to $3.99. As this is my latest title, it will not be discounted again soon, at least not in the next few years. So if you’d like to get my latest novel at a ridiculously low price, buy the eBook now before the price goes up.
The Island Daughter is also out in paperback today, priced at $9.99, so if you like the smell of books (I love it!), you can order the novel from Amazon today. It will be available to order via good bookstores and libraries very soon too.