Lockdowns: Great for Writers, Not So Great for This Writer

It’s been months since my last blog here. It’s funny; I wouldn’t have previously believed the saying “The road to hell is paved with good intentions” but the past 12 months seems to have proven this to be the case.

A by-product of lockdowns and tiered restrictions has been home schooling. And where there is home schooling (in reality, “school-at-home” but that’s a whole different blog) there is professional inefficiency for anyone who works from home.

Over 10 years ago I took the plunge, quit my job as a software support engineer and started working from home, writing for websites and later magazines. The “pre-COVID” world afforded me the time to write, edit, and get paid for it, while also spending time on my own projects.

But when two nine year olds and a three year old are demanding your help with school work, becoming a substitute teacher takes over. Consequently projects I’d invested quite a lot of time in (certainly by my previous standards) had been put on hold.

Paid to Write

Of course, there is a flip side. All those writers who had previously had nothing more than a beermat idea and had previously struggled to write from 5.30am for an hour before work suddenly had a paid opportunity to stop work and just write.

I’d have loved an opportunity like that 12 years ago!

But things are different now. Three children to support, a wife balancing council work and cake baking, and a business to run. I had little choice but to pare back everything. Big contracts were welcome; everything else, not so much. So while we managed to stay above water during 2020, it was by sacrificing – hopefully temporarily – several other projects.

So what does that mean for 2021?

Well, obviously it depends on which way the wind blows on lockdowns and other activity restrictions. Right now, I’m optimistic for the short term. Kids are back at school, things seem to be normalizing, and I think I have a better idea of how to manage time should another lockdown occur.

There is, of course, only one way to find out. Really hoping I don’t have to.

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