By Maureen Bonatch
This year has been very different for most of us. I've worked remotely long before the pandemic began, so that aspect of my life hasn't changed, but with many other things cancelled and the daily schedule book full of not much of anything outside of the house many days begin to seem the same.
As I look back over the past year it seems like it's one big blur of the same, but if I look a little closer I realize that it's not. My work schedule didn't change, but I still wanted to make use of the time that I had each day to push myself to learn some new things and revisit some old hobbies that I've neglected. To not let "2020 win".
How to Take Your Mind Off 2020
- Turn a Fail into a Win: Got any old hobbies that you've neglected? Books you've stacked up but felt like you never had time to read? Make the time to enjoy what you already have. I'm starting to learn to use Scrivener. I bought the writing tool a few years ago and each time I opened it I became overwhelmed and went back to my old standby of using word. I used National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWri) to try it out with the most basic features. I still have a lot to learn but I'm making some progress—and setting the word targets per writing session has improved my productivity.
- Use What You Got: Before you go out and buy new stuff, check out what you already have. Maybe it's cleaning out your closet or watching some of those old movies you've collected. I revisited a writing course that I bought a few years ago and started but didn't finish. I'm still working through it but it's inspired me to make more time for learning.
- Learn Something New: Take your mind off your stress by focusing on learning something new such as a craft, or home project. I choose to learn more about self-publishing. I self-published my first short story (Till Death). This story started as my NaNoWri project in 2019 and I didn't finish that year. This psychological thriller was the perfect story to lift my mood this year.
Till Death- and all the Friday the 13th stories are free to read on Kindle Unlimited
- Explore Something New: Expand upon a hobby you already have. Till Death is a psychological thriller, which is a new genre for me, but I've also started writing in a new genre- Witch Cozy Mystery. It's really very close to what I already write and a lot of fun! Stay tuned for a whole series coming out next year starting with Curses, Cats & Corpses! (P.S. I won NaNoWri this year with the third book in that series tentatively titled- Magic, Mimosas & Mistletoe)
Conquer & Clean Up the "What Day Is It?" Conundrum:
My trick for helping to avoid the blurring of days is to have a schedule in the home specific to the day. It's a win-win because it keeps me grounded on the day of the week and I can get chores done little by little each day. Such as one day of the week I vacuum a certain floor, or mop, or clean the bathrooms on another day but maintain the same schedule each week.
If all fails—bake some comfort food, like cookies!
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Happy Holidays and Here's to wrapping up 2020 with a few wins!
Author Bio: Maureen Bonatch grew up in small town Pennsylvania and her love of the four seasons—hockey, biking, sweat pants and hibernation—keeps her there. While immersed in writing or reading paranormal romance and fantasy, she survives on caffeine, wine, music, and laughter. A feisty Shih Tzu keeps her in line.