COVID-19 Pandemic, Be Kind, and Stay Home

Like much of America and other countries around the world, I’m under Stay at Home orders. It is not fun, but it is necessary, and we’ll make the best of it. My family and I are in a good position, and I am thankful for that. We have been preparing ourselves at home for a little over three years to be in a better position when a natural disaster occurred, or in this case, a global pandemic. Preparing hasn’t been easy, but we have a plan that we have been following. We aren’t there yet, but we continue to add to our disaster preparedness as we can.

Hard work and planning aside, I do acknowledge the privileges my family is awarded (not sure awarded is the best word choice, but you get it). There probably are some of you saying if you worked for it and prepared for it, that is not a privilege. Frankly, I used to feel that way. Privilege doesn’t negate your efforts, but we all have the privilege of not having to face certain obstacles. Some may face more obstacles than others. Some people are more comfortable than I am, and I definitely have it easier than others. The fact that I was able to get an education that allowed me to get my job, and that I can work from home without the fear of losing my job – that is a privilege. My wife is in the same position, though, as a Registered Nurse, she is facing her own challenges with this pandemic.

That said, my heart goes out to those and their families who have been affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. I wish you all speedy recoveries, and please do all you can to stay safe and healthy.

I feel awful for all of those who have been affected by this economically. Especially all of those who came to work every day to make our days better and a bit easier. The restaurant and beverage workers, people who keep our supply chain running smoothly, grocery workers, medical professionals, and especially those on the front lines of this pandemic. Your contribution is heroic. Thank you! Thank you for all you do and have done.

At this time, I hope we can mend the divisions that are being sewn in America. It has got especially bad in the last three years or so. In the past, facing national emergencies has brought our country together, putting our best forward as one nation to solves problems. I have seen some semblance of this the last couple of weeks, but nothing close to what we need. It’s not the Republicans or the Democrats that are going to fix this on their own. It is not a black and white issue, the answer lies in the grey, and that is going to take us working together as one nation of Americans. We all have to give a little. Do what you can to help your fellow citizens. Do what you can to help others. Be a problem solver, not a nay-sayer.

With this time at home, I am going to enjoy the time I have with my family, and enjoy the extra writing time I have with the recouped commute time.

Please stay at home, for your health, and for others. Be safe, stay healthy, and be kind to yourself and others.

Progress On My Debut Novel – Post 3


“As a writer, you should not judge, you should understand.”
Ernest Hemingway

I wish you all the best in 2020. I am not one for resolutions, but I do set loose goals for myself that I’ll track throughout the year. Last year had mixed results, but more positive results than less favorable. Professionally, in my day job, I settled into working in a government position. My focus has been learning that job, as I am hoping it is the job that will take me into my retirement career as an author. While learning the job, I got a promotion into a position that will fit my lifestyle and within my goals very nicely — all good things. Plus, I get a three-day weekend every other week.

We have been making steady progress upgrading our house; this process will carry on for a while, as we have the time and budget to complete the work. This year we are well on our way to replacing the floors — no more carpet.

Being a veteran and a student of history has taught me the importance of being prepared for emergencies. Being prepared for a natural disaster or other emergencies has become essential to my family and me over the last couple of years. I don’t go crazy about it, but a little thought into what situations you are most likely to face in your area will guide you towards the basics of what you should have on hand to be prepared. Living in Oregon, we don’t have natural disasters as often as other parts of the country, but there is still the possibility. Researching the best methods and items to be prepared for our situation has been useful not only on a personal level but helpful for my WIP as well. We did well last year in filling out the basics in our plan; this year, we want to work on fulfilling the items that would be considered ‘nice to have.’

As for my writing goals – last year, I got serious about my writing (it was about mid-year when it kicked in), where I was able to prioritize writing daily. I am not at the point in my WIP where word count is a useful metric for tracking progress, as I have been working on my outline and research. While I do note my word count, it is hours that I am focused on tracking. This year my minimum goal is to work on writing activities for 10 hours a week or 520 hours per year, the equivalent of a part-time job. I hope to exceed this, but this is an achievable goal. Once I get into writing the first draft, I’ll focus on time and word count. My top goal for 2020 is to finish my first novel to the point of being ready for publishing. I have set small goals to work towards the prime objective, but I won’t bore you with them now.

As for where I stand in my current WIP – I am about 50% through a detailed outline that is closer to a first draft without the narrative and dialog. After doing research and putting some thought into the work I have completed to date, I am going back and revising much of the first 50% before finishing the outline. I am focused on inserting scenes to set up events in books two and three. I am adding scenes for characters who I want to have a more prominent role, changing POV for scenes, and rearranging scenes for a better pace. I don’t view these changes as a setback; I consider it part of the learning process and an opportunity to improve the quality of the novel. Either way, it has been an enjoyable way to spend time.

I hope you had a successful 2019, and I wish you an even more successful 2020. Happy New Year.