It's the middle of July now. We've been in Covid-19 Lockdown for over three months now. Juggling work, home-life, schooling and childcare. Talking to gradnparents via Zoom, Skype, WhatsApp video... any and all online means available to us.
At the start of lockdown, I wasn't in a good place -- mentally. I was in the midst of a downward spiral that I felt I couldn't pull out of. I was tired, unmotivated, annoyed that I was putting on weight, annoyed that I was eating all the wrong things (and eating a lot of them).
The good thing about a spiral (in my case) is that, eventually, it breaks and I begin to rise. I broke out about a month ago (Mid June). The weather turned, I got out flying and things seemed to turn positive again.
I recognised the signs and grabbed the opportinity with both hands -- it's like catching a wave or hooking a thermal. You feel it, you get on and you stay on.
I restarted my early morning routine (I go to bed around 9PM having had a shower and half an hours read, then I wake up without an alarm around 4:30AM - 5:00AM). This lets me get something achieved during the day and I feel good. When I feel good I eat well. When I eat well and feel good I have more discipline that helps me carry on. I do some quick exercises on a morning and I write. The rules for morning work are:
1) Do not check emails or notfications or news or YouTube or ANYTHING
If I do, this puts me in a reactive frame of mind and I'm just dealing with things, rather than actively achieving something.
2) Do something creative first, then admin.
Same kind of thing. Getting the creative work done first as it's what I most want to spend my time doing. Making, not organising.
3) If possible, don't use the computer.
I write in multiple places. One of them being notebooks. During my drafting and sketching phases, I really prefer pen and paper. It just feels more conveniant. When I get to the final stages, I'll type things up. But, when possible, my morning routine does not involve computers. More often than not, there will be something that needs dealing with (bluetooth audio isn't working, check your backups, updates to install, etc.) and that would break rules 1 and 2.
It was around this time (start of June) that I started to downsize -- digitally. I have trashed my Instagram accounts and my Twitter account. I've deleted the apps from my phone even. I started to leave my phone turned off -- no-one calls me anyway and I keep in touch with friends via email. I have REALLY been enjoying it. It has been amazing and I have been using the time that I have got back to do more reading and writing.
The habit of constantly checking the phone was taking up a lot of time of unimportant stuff. Ditching that has let me put my time into the things that are actually important. It also lets me get over the habit of... well... you know when a question occurs to you? You think of something and immediatly reach for your device to look something up. Then, you're off on a digital safari and time just slides by. I've not had any of that. A lot of the things that I would have looked up are not important anyway. If I have an idea or question that IS important, or worth while, it WILL stick around with me until I have a digital session.
I've ditched the smartphone and I'm looking into getting a dumb phone so that I can call people if necessary. But, I really don't need the smart features.
For me, I feel that I have wasted so much of my time trying to be like the other people that I see online. I believed the idea that having a business or company means you HAVE to have a social media presence. But, I was spending so much of my time planning ideas and creating ideas to further my reach on social media that I wasn't doing the things that I wanted to be doing: creating art, writing, photography, and getting better at the craft. So, I decided to prioritise. Spend most of my time doing the things that would help me improve.
I don't want to cultivate a social media presence. I want to build a physical presence. I send my writing in to magazines, I share it with a writers group in person (via Video conference at the moment due to lockdown). I want to become a real-world person and not some gmail account when it comes to being an artist.
So, I don't think I need the social media account. I will post things on this site that I want to share, but if I'm not posting, then I'm out doing it!
I've had epiphany moments before and they've fallen by the wayside. Although, some have stuck around: early morning routine, creative life, etc. I feel that this one should stick around because it seems to be the right way forward -- on an emotional level. It doesn't feel like a decision based on what others are doing.
When decisions are being made by ego, prepare for rough times.
So, there it is. During lockdown I've been looking after the kids, playing with them, cooking, cleaning the house, gardening, going on family walks, writing fiction and reading a tonne of fiction too. It all seems worth while. So much more worth while than chasing the likes and comments of other people, all to build a profile of popularity that can be monetized. I'm building a foundation of skill and well-being that might -- one day -- be monetized.
If you read this far, I seriously credit your patience and you should drop me a message so I can congradulate you!
Take care and live creative,