Starting Afresh, With Hope

by Janis Patterson

Happy New Year! Hopefully 2021 is going to be a better year than 2020. It would have to work very hard to be worse!

I’ll admit I was off my game during 2020, and I’m not sure why. My life did not change that much during the lockdowns. My normal day (if writers do indeed have anything that could be regarded as a ‘normal’ day) consists of spending most of the day sitting in the den in front of my computer all alone with my invisible friends. During the lockdown I spent most of the day in the den in front of my computer all alone with my invisible friends. The only change was that The Husband was here for about two months before he had to go back to work. Then I sat alone in the guest room/my office all alone with my invisible friends. I did miss the lunches with my real living friends, but we talked on the phone and made do with that. I also missed – and still do – our various clubs’ meetings and fear greatly that some of them will not come back after this plague is over.

Now the big change in our lives is The Husband is officially retired as of January 8 and that is a big adjustment for us both. I have pretty much moved my work into my office, leaving the den and the television – and our spoilt and yappy intrusive little dog – to him during the day. The only chore left – and it’s a big one – is to train him that when I am in my office with the door closed I am working. I’m not retired like he is – and has to learn he shouldn’t disturb me unless there is death, flames or blood. I honestly don’t know how that will go; a former Navy captain, he is not used to taking orders.

So – assuming that I am able to work at least semi-uninterrupted in my office – what will I be doing? As I said, I did a lot of goofing off this year, letting my writing and publishing slide, a distressing situation which I must endeavor to correct. I must quit taking an afternoon break bingewatching Netflix and chatting for hours on the phone. I must set up a writing schedule for the year, as I have done for many years before the disaster of 2020, and more importantly stick to it. I must set a daily routine, just as if I had an office job, because we all know writing is not only a real job, it is a strict taskmaster. Dilettantes don’t last long.

Can I do all that and become the hard-working, dedicated professional novelist I used to be? I honestly don’t know. Two years ago after a long recovery following my very first surgery ever I claimed the sloth as my spirit animal, and he is a stern taskmaster. Maybe that’s ‘anti-taskmaster.’ I can find all kinds of real and logical reasons why I shouldn’t get up and accomplish something, and let’s be honest, the madness of 2020 most definitely did not help. Sometimes it takes hours to force myself off the couch and back to the computer. Bad sloth, teaching me such self-destructive but pleasurable habits! Bad me, for giving in to them!

And, to prove I’m really working on it, tomorrow I’m releasing not one, but two brand new books. ROMANCE AT SPANISH ROCK, written under my romance name of Janis Susan May wherein an LA photographer inherits a ranch in Texas’ Palo Duro Canyon, and A WELL-MANNERED MURDER, a murder mystery written under my crime name of Janis Patterson wherein a middle-aged woman trying to survive a divorce is researching a long closed charm school and gets involved with the Kennedy assassination. Both are available as ebooks only (at the moment) on Amazon and Kindle Unlimited. You see, I am trying!

2021 will be better. I will see to it. I promise.

11 thoughts on “Starting Afresh, With Hope

  1. Ahhh…great post. Yes, I’m sure that will be an adjustment having him home. My goal is to write 3 crappy scenes per day, then when I’m in revisions, revise at least one scene per day. Here’s to a great 2021 (hopefully…)

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  2. Good luck on convincing your husband that the closed door means Do Not Disturb. The day my husband retired, my writing production dropped 50% or more. I absolutely love my husband, but he still doesn’t understand his, “I’m not disturbing you, am I?” is disturbing me.

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  3. Loved this article. Until the past month, I wasn’t affected by the lockdown or the political clime. I’m not sure what changed but something did and now I find I am writing less than normal this past month. Very depressing. I can take anything but not writing. So I am now approaching it as a 9 – 5 job. Sanity is writing for me, apparently. I’m so glad you are releasing 2 books! Good for you and congratulations.

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  4. Hi,

    My husband’s serious illness has affected my writing, limiting my time to work. However, two of my novels came out with publishers this year, HIGHLAND HEART, an historical romance, and BLOOD FAMILY, my 5th Kim Reynolds mystery. Unfortunately, there’s been little publicity although I think the novels are fine quality.

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  5. Our life has taken much the same turn. My husband also retired. But luckily he plays music, so I’m able to work in the living area sitting on the couch with the dog at my feet. Best of luck with the changes in your life. Things do happen for a reason. 🙂

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  6. Janis, I’m like Marilyn, I didn’t lose momentum last year but I missed my opportunities to hand sell my books. My husband became semi-retired 6 years ago. He manages three alfalfa fields across the fence from our property. He is in and out of the house all day long and usually to tell me what he just did and what he’s going to do next. LOL You’ll both get used to it after a while. Congratulations on the 2 new releases!

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  7. My husband got very sick a couple of years ago and needed a lot of my time. But he’s been slowly recovering and now we’re at the point of me nudging him to do more around the house while I write. Good luck with your adjustment!

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  8. I think we’ve all been off our game this year. The pandemic knocked us off balance, and I for one feel like I’ve been teetering all year. A back injury sent me to the sofa in the mornings but, really, I continued that practice for far too long. It’s time to get back to my desk at nine a.m. if not earlier. Good luck with your new books. Don’t be hard on yourself. We’re all recovering from a wacky year.

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  9. Good luck with your new books. I think all writers dealt with Covid isolation the way you have. Surely we will all regain our momentum. As for the husband’s retirement, enjoy him. It will take adjustments, but my husband and I enjoy our time together–as long as we get a little apart time once in a while!

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    1. The Covid hasn’t really affected my writing, only my promotion. My hubby has been retired for years and we have great grands living with us (and their parents), and they like to visit me in my office. Doesn’t bother me a bit, I’ve always had interruptions. You’ll get used to the newness and set new ways of handling things.

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