5 Writing Tips for the Realities of Remote Learning
by Sarah J. Kings
COVID19 is running its course, and while we are attempting to "flatten the curve," our day to day lives are changing dramatically. For those of us who can, we are staying home. We are ordering our groceries online and having them delivered to our doorsteps. We are looking to YouTube for a workout, and Google for a Hangout. Our offices have become kitchen tables and futons. Let's be honest, sometimes we are resorting to hunkering-down with a laptop and a headset in the passenger seat of our car, when crying kids, a barking dog, and the faint echos of Joe Exotic are all vying for space within the walls of our home. Yes, things are different right now. For some of us writers, this isolation hurts, and for others, this is just the type of time halt we need to finish WIP's we've had in the works for months or even years. Whether you are feeling the blues or you have all the motivation in the world, if you're a parent and a writer, you may be finding that you are in the midst of a unique challenge. Schools and Daycares are closed, and depending on where you live, that may not change until next school year. Children of all ages are participating in remote learning across the country. If a family is fortunate enough to have Wifi and a computer or two, chances are those laptops are occupied by little ones who are navigating online classes, joining Zoom Meetings, and trying to remember their password to GoMath. Suddenly switching to homeschool means even more change. Working 1 on 1, or maybe 1 on 3 or 4, means that parents need to dedicate a lot of time to ensure that their children stay on track in school. This means that parents who write might be feeling more like parents who used to write. If you're juggling the demands of guiding your children through remote learning, managing a household, spending quality time with your family, and still getting your work done- you may feel like there just isn't enough time to think, create, and write. Here are 5 tips to help you shake those ideas, and get back to writing. 1. Try to Follow a Remote Learning Schedule- Creating a schedule for when your child will be working on what, and trying to stick with it, will help everyone feel less stressed. If you know your child will be working from 8:30 AM- 1:00 PM, then you and your children won't have to worry about fractions at dinner. If the amount of work your child needs to complete is taking more than five hours, this schedule can still work for you. Consider emailing your child's teacher to ask for modified work or fewer assignments. 2. Be Strategic With Breaks- Taking a couple of mind and body breaks in the day is crucial to both you and your child's health and success. However, this doesn't mean that your little darling needs to make glitter slime or cut holes in your drapes for a DIY they saw online, while you trail them with a dustpan and tears in your eyes. Taking a walk together (with masks on of course) or partaking in a little "you and me" Youtube Yoga is a far better idea. Moving around will clear your minds, and help you both focus. It is also a great way to spend quality time with each other! What's that saying? Two birds... 3. Figure Out How to Hulu- Most of us would admit to the fact that our children are watching a lot more TV than usual these days, and there is no shame in that. The fact is we need to stay inside and stay at home as much as we can right now, and that might mean a bit more TV. But as parents, we should be utilizing this time wisely. Instead of turning on Netflix or Hulu for your little ones so you can make dinner, try making the meal together. This could be the perfect time to show them how to make grandma's famous Vegetable Pot Pie recipe. By doing this, there is more time for you to sit and write while Frozen 2 plays for the umpteenth time. 4. Institute the 30 Minute Rule- This may seem tough, but tell yourself and your family that you'd like to take 30 minutes for yourself a day. This might mean setting your alarm 30 minutes early so that you can have your morning coffee with nothing but your thoughts and a pen and paper. It might mean cuddling up with your laptop on the comfy chair after the kids go to bed. Or, it might just mean taking a long bubble bath with a glass of wine. If you hold yourself accountable to the idea of giving yourself 30 minutes of "you time" a day, your mind will be much clearer, your thoughts will be more hopeful, and you're sure to spend more time writing, thinking and creating. 5. Learn to Say "Its Okay"- You may be frustrated, upset, or even depressed by the fact that you're not making the progress you wanted to, but you need to realize that it is okay. It is okay to be really creative one day, and not so much another day. You are not measured by your productivity, not while writing or creating anyway. These are labors of love and acts of passion, the ebb and flow is natural. So give yourself a break!