Wednesday, May 20, 2020

Writing Through Distractions (I.E. COVID Life)

Many of you know that I am an educator at the elementary level.  Right now, work looks a lot different for me that it typically would.  The bonus side to this "different" is that I have more flexible hours to spend writing and editing.  The downside is that I am not the only one with more flexible hours.

I am the mom to two boys who have been having mixed reactions to this quarantine.  On the one hand they love all of the free time to spend on games and with the neighbors (socially distanced), but on the other hand they hate the lack of actual structure to school.  Since we have started we have "forgotten" more classes than we've actually attended, and there is little drive to do the work since it isn't being "graded".

What this means for me is that I have a bored teen and pre-teen on my hands for the foreseeable future who are starting to get on each other's nerves and/or looking for things to entertain themselves that may involve Mom needing to oversee...or at least check out the cool stuff.

Case in point, this morning we found snake eggs!  At least I am pretty sure they are snake eggs as they were found in the bare dirt, no where near a nest and in a spot that couldn't really be explained by them falling from somewhere.  When they were found I was getting ready to sit down and write for a couple of hours, but I wanted to check on a project The Mailman has been working on in the front yard.  I stopped for a minute to look at a rose bush that was finally starting to produce when low and behold I noticed a scattering of eggs.

So yes!  I was the one who found the eggs, but the Youngest took off like a shot to show every flipping neighbor kid we have.  And then after I post about it on Facebook, I get distracted again reading all of the hilarious comments.  Then - when I finally think I am in the clear and can write - one of the eggs break and I NEED to inspect the remains to see if it's a snake or a bird (like I'm an expert in this field or something).

I did eventually get back to my writing and managed to get quite a bit done, but this cycle has been pretty consistent since the beginning of this mess.  Either "cool stuff" happens or "melt downs" happen.  There is very little peace in between.

 One cool way I did learn to combat distraction, or at least keep to a set of achievable goals is creating a really cool tool called a "Kanban Board".  I was able to sit in on a presentation with Asa Maria Bradley recently as she walked us through the elements and uses of Kanban Boards.  At first I was a little hesitant because I would be able to stick to the structure, but then it dawned on me that I wasn't getting graded for presentation.  If I modified it for my own purposes no one was going to come to my house and say "Take that down!"  I was wholly free to put up the board however best worked for me.

So I created one major goal (Increase My Backlist) with two projects and a side goal (Build My Social Media Presence).  With that in mind I built my board on my bathroom door with Washi Tape and Super Sticky Notes.  In the nearly two weeks since I've had it up I've written over 10,000 words on a project I was thoroughly stuck on, and I've managed to create a social media schedule that works with my life.

Now if I could only find something to fix the kids' boredom...

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