Self-care for writers during Lockdown

The current coronavirus/COVID19 situation has impacted many different parts of people’s lives. It is important that we take care of ourselves and those who are important to us during this time. Currently, this is a global issue and you are not alone in your worries. I want to impart some tips that we can use to stay healthy and connected during this time. This information is echoed in other places, but I wanted to tailor some tips for the literary curios and writers.

You do not need to write your magnum opus during the period of lockdown. I feel this is the most important tip. Many people will say during lockdowns you will have the opportunity to write endlessly and the time to edit until your heart’s content. Often, they will cite William Shakespeare or other writers who created some magnificent works during isolation periods. You do not have to write or complete that novel during this time. It is okay to do a little bit, the same as you were before, or even nothing at all.

Set a schedule and loosely stick to it. Continuing your writing practice will look differently during this time. You may have done it after work, after school or while you were on the train. It is important to accept this difference and allocate time to keep your routine going. Plan out when you will write by starting a calendar and allocating time to the day. Be realistic with it. Try to plan in times that most emulate your writing practice from before. Be flexible with it and let yourself enjoy the practice of writing rather than doing it because you have the mantra of ‘writing everyday.’ To invoke Marie Kondo, if it is not bringing you joy, get rid of it (for that day at least). Alternatively, if writing is difficult for you due to current issues, it is okay to put it to the side and come back to it another time. If you do plan on coming back to it, it is helpful to keep a log or thought journal.

Stay engaged with your leisure activities. If you are reading this, you have accomplished one core leisure activity of a writer’s arsenal which is reading! Make sure you are staying in touch with activities that you do for fun. While writing is fun, sometimes it can also induce stress when we cannot figure out where to go next or finding the right words. Remember to retain writing as a leisure outlet during this time, and frequently attend to hobbies you love to do.

Stay connected with your social circles. While we are physically separate, we are still socially connected through the internet. Check up with friends and family, even share work that you are writing on for feedback. It may provide a nice distraction during this time or provide a shared experience for you both to relate to. Make sure to still connect fellow writers and other readers you relate to on your social medias. Many social groups are moving online and staying connected with your networks is a good way to find places for support.

This will be a stressful time, but it is important we manage the pressures of lockdown through self-care. Throughout my social work degree and training, a big emphasis has been on how we take care of ourselves. If you would like to chat about self-care during this time, @ me on twitter at SeductiveTaco.

This article was originally written for Envie Magazine: https://enviemagazine.com/

Year Reflections – Writing

In this reflection, I talk about my reflection’s fiction short listing, Envie Magazine, and my honours! Its been a great year of writing for me!

Dead Among Us

Dead Among Us is one of my most least-talked about projects but arguably, it is the one that has seen the most growth and development this year. It was shortlisted along with 10 other exicting new writers this year for the Penguin Random House Write It Fellowship. I received some formative feedback that can help shape the series (fantasy-permitting). Even though I did not enter the Final Round, I cleaned up and have some serious ideas moving forward for this novel. It also gave me a ton of motivation and validation regarding my fiction writing.

Thank you to alpha readers for helping giving feedback and supporting me!

Envie Magazine

Previously titled ‘Writing Community Newsletter’, ‘Envie: A Magazine for the Literary Curios’ has been an exciting new opportunity to be able to contribute to that has helped focus my love of writing and also help grow my lovely network of writers. With 6 Articles contributed this year, it has also been a good way to help me reflect on my own craft. My articles focus more on representation, my inner social worker is showing. I am loving being a part of a writing community effort that is designed to help and support fellow writers on twitter!

Thank you to the rest of the staff for being wonderful and providing very many fantastic reads.

Honours – Social Work Student’s Views Towards Same-sex parenting

After completing the initial proposal to my university’s ethics committee, I am now awaiting on my amendments to be accepted before diving into releasing my survey to Australian social work students. Its been an interesting time and my supervisors have been great sources of supports in revising and creating a clear direction for this research. The first semester of 2020 I will be writing the literature review component while also undertaking research and coding of the data that will be collected.

Having such a strong start is making me excited for the future of this research project, and looking forward to publishing into a social work/LGBTQIA+ related journal.

Summary of project at this point: We are investigating the opinions, attitudes, beliefs and views of social work students (in Australia) towards same-sex parenting through a anonymous qualitative survey. Social work students will be the new work force in the coming years and will essentially be encountering same-sex families on the front line. It is crucial to understand what their views are to see if we as a profession are able to meet social work’s social justice paradigm when working with these families.


Thank you for reading this post! Happy New Year! I will be posting my goals post in the coming week! You’ll notice these three only include on fiction piece, which is something I would like to work on moving forward with Christosfloratos.com and Christoast’s Thoughts.

Year Reflections – Poetry

This year has provided an exciting opportunity to be able to share my writing at a official and published capacity. This is the first of my year reflections post, specifically focusing on me thinking about my poetry this year!

Autumn, That Bastard

‘Autumn, That Bastard’ is my first poetry collection that I have publicly shared. This has been a great opportunity to show and have my poetry be read by anyone at anytime. Not all my poetry will be posted like this, but I wanted something that could be read without having to pay because, like my last poem ‘Stagnation’ hints, ‘fuck capitalism.’

Some  notes about the poems:

  • Authenticity – this poem felt like a great introduction to how I feel about stepping into the world of pseudo-published writing. The structure is also different enough from typical poems to generate initial curiosity into the collection.
  • Leviticus – I keep going back to this poem as one of my favourite poems out of this collection. The last line “No questions? No Question.” is something so powerful that I am so happy I produced. 
  • When Winter is expected – Lily’s death is something that I oddly still think about, even though she was a dog. That sentiment of ‘she is more than just a dog’ resonates throughout the poem, as she was an unforgettable part of my life and the least I could do was immortalise her in this poem.
  • Grey House – This poem originally started as a simple song I tried to write in my early learnings of the Saxophone when I was very young. The points of high I capture in the poem (moving to a new apartment) and the points of low (realising it was for the worst) came from me testing the combination of high and low notes.
  • The Apocalypse Cometh – This poem was written way before I even knew who Greta Thunberg was but now that I am aware of so much more regarding climate politics, to the point I think about the state of our world ecologically every day, this poem only strengthens the warnings that our planet is vulnerable.

Check out all the poems here!

Bubbles

Bubbles was a great collection to help support an organisation I very much appreciated. It was interesting centralising six poems over theme that I did not set. This collection, unlike ‘Autumn, That Bastard’, is exclusively available for those who contributed to my fundraising efforts this year as an incentive and thank you in supporting my efforts.

I felt creating a publication for it was very rewarding but also was a big time commitment I did not expect. Dabbling my foot into this design area has given be a better understanding of what I should be doing in future self-publishing endeavours if I choose that route. If I do not end up doing this, it will at least provide a lot of appreciation of how much it must take for an indie author!

Other Poetry Dabbles:

While not posted, I did work on some other poetry not a part of these two collections. These usually were inspired by some worldly event. It let me reflect on how and when I actually start to write poetry – what my drive is and where I am most likely to come up with poetic prose. Not much of this was at home, in fact, a lot of poetry sprung to me when I was on the go or doing something. I found my poetry routine, of sorts, and doing poetry outside these collections reinforced that this art is something I can work on but also isn’t something to be forced.

However, this is a different with my fiction writing where I take a more structured approach, which was very evident in how I prepared for the Write It Fellowship. More about this on my next blog post, reflecting on my other writing endeavours!

Pen2paper Fundraiser Challenge! Donate to Help Young Voices!

I will be doing a fundraiser in May to support young voices!

I discovered the wonders of creative and imaginative writing when I was in Year 4. It changed my life to gain the ability to start telling wondrous tales, about the adventures my little toy figurines would go on – even if it was to myself. I appreciate what Story Factory (a non-for-profit creative writing centre for disadvantaged youth) does and see first hand the improvements in young peoples voices from the inner-city and Western Sydney area.

Please support my goal of $300!

I will be writing 6 poems from 6pm on the 23rd of May to 6pm the 26th of May in this Pen2Paper challenge. All poems will become available as a pretty PDF for donors as thank you to anyone that contributes $15 or more!

Please consider donating here!

For more information about Pen2paper:
https://pen2paper.org.au/

Thank you to my first donor, the wonderful James Teng!

https://give.everydayhero.com/au/christoast