Do you dream about having uninterrupted time to write? How about uninterrupted days to write?
Here is a short one for writers, straight from my ‘managed isolation’ in New Zealand.
It is not about my experiences with actually being in managed isolation (or quarantine) with kids as I am at the time of writing this, it is about how I imagine being quarantined by myself would go for me.
Feeling Guilty About This Dream, but…
I find myself dreaming about it, as the days go by. I do feel guilty about my (somewhat) weird dream and a little bit like “be careful what you wish for.”
But just picture this.
You are in a hotel. By yourself. And you can’t go out.
You get your food delivered three times a day. The meals are pretty well balanced, so you are never bloated and you don’t overeat. Unless you order in, but I wouldn’t.
There is all the coffee and tea you can ever want.
There is a pretty shitty internet connection.
A few channels on TV.
A perfect writer’s retreat, wouldn’t you say?
You have your laptop and your Kindle (or some books) for breaks.
Maybe a movie or two or an entire TV show to binge on when you need to shut down for a few hours.
You sit there and write.
You finally have time to tackle all those articles you wanted to write, all those blog posts, and perhaps even getting a start on the book that has been sitting in your Scrivener for years.
You sit there and write, and occasionally you stare out of the window.
And a Little Bit of This
Your room overlooks the entrance to the hotel so every now and then there is some entertainment.
You watch KFC or McDonalds delivery arriving that your co-detainees ordered via Ubereats.
Every now and again there is a police car that pulls up and you imagine that someone has been naughty.
A bus picking up the Covid-19 free and taking them away and another bus bringing in the new suckers who will spend their next 14 days in quarantine.
You are alone. So you write.
You could even try meditating. There is time.
You don’t have to do anything else.
You don’t even have to wash your dishes, you just pack the paper plates into the paper bags, put them outside your room and voila, all done. You may want to wash or reuse that coffee cup.
Mr. Martin Knows How it’s Done
Reminds me of this post by George RR Martin who writes by isolating himself with his ‘minions’ who provide services such as cooking, cleaning, bringing him coffee, and watching movies in the evening.
Everyone morning I wake up and go straight to the computer, where my minion brings me coffee (I am utterly useless and incoherent without my morning coffee) and juice, and sometimes a light breakfast. Then I start to write. Sometimes I stay at it until dark. Other days I break off in late afternoon to answer emails or return urgent phone calls. My assistant brings me food and drink from time to time. When I finally break off for the day, usually around sunset, there’s dinner. Then we watch television or screen a movie. The wi-fi sucks up on the mountain, though, so the choices are limited. Some nights I read instead. I always read a bit before going to sleep; when a book really grabs hold of me, I may read half the night, but that’s rare. I sleep. The next day, I wake up and do the same. The next day, the next day, the next day.George RR Martin Blog Post
A dream come true including crappy internet connection and all.
Alone with time to write.
Isolated but with (Almost) No Time to Write
Maybe you can tell I am writing this post from being quarantined (or in “managed isolation” as it is politely called by the NZ Government) with my husband and 2 kids. (10 and 4 years old)
I have read occasional reports about people trying to escape managed isolation and I am (a little bit) baffled.
I mean, you would expect those people with three small kids stuck in a tiny interconnecting room that barely has space for a yoga mat to run for their lives. But they don’t. They stick around and do what they can to keep going.
On the other hand, I am experienced enough to know that before I had kids and actually had time to write, I didn’t use that time well. I didn’t realize what I had. We sometimes don’t, until it’s gone, right?
I Would Do This
But from this vantage point, I say, if you are lucky enough to be placed in quarantine by yourself – do not let this time go to waste.
- Sort out you digital photographs
- Organize your digital files
- Plan your year
- Learn how to build a web page in WordPress (.org)
- Finish those courses you purchased but never watched.
This is your time.
Time that can be taken legitimately, or for those of us that always seem to have others around, guilt-free if you like.
I wrote about this topic once before – about creating my home office space and spending my time there legitimately (because I was working from home in my day job)
Time I want. Guilt free. Just imagine.
I am now trying to think about how to create such retreats for myself and squeeze them into my life.
Maybe I will never get to 14 days, but a weekend perhaps? How do you do it?