I’m so thrilled to have Ritu join me today.
Ritu and I have met on several occasions at Blogging Bashes in London and we ‘clicked’ just as much in person as we do in our lovely ‘online,’ friendship.
So welcome Sis! When Ritu knew I was offering fellow writers a chance to join the online discussion about COVID19 – this crazy world we find ourselves in, she jumped at the chance.
How do writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope with isolation? Is their capacity to cope different from the rest of the population? It’s an interesting question and one that fascinates me.
How is Ritu coping with this enforced isolation?
Here is Ritu’s answer:
These are all words we have heard countless times in the last few weeks.
What have they done?
Brought a wave of panic into your life?
Or are you someone who has taken to it rather calmly?
Well, for me, it’s been a bit like this.
When we first heard about this strange virus, schools were still open, yet I had students going off sick with mysterious illnesses for a week to ten days at a time.
Then the government called for school closures, followed by social distancing, and the UK version of Lockdown.
I say UK version because, though all non-essential businesses have been closed, we are still allowed out to exercise once a day, go shopping for food, and schools still need us teachers, but in a different capacity; as carers for the children of Keyworkers.
Once I got over the initial worry and shock of what was happening, I got excited.
This meant more time for me to get creative, when I was home. Book two has been started but had been languishing for a couple of months, as the business of daily life took its toll.
But, just because you have time, doesn’t mean you automatically switch to the creator of four thousand words a day – well, that doesn’t happen to me, anyway.
My creativity has been hit-and-miss to be honest.
I thought all this time would mean I could write, do some courses I signed up for but never got a chance to access, more promotion, lots of reading…
The reality has been quite different.
To start with, I am in school on a rota system, so I could be in for one or two days, but I don’t know more than a week in advance.
And there is the joy of having both kids and Hubby Dearest at home as well, so no time was distraction-free time either.
I sit with my laptop open on one of my home days, WIP loaded up, ready to write up a storm. Nothing comes.
I open a book to read. But I can’t get into it and put it down after a few pages.
Then I remember those courses. So, I manage another couple of modules on a creative writing course.
But no words.
After the first ten days, we were in official Easter holiday mode. Technically no different to the last few days, but I felt, mentally, that I was on a break.
I discovered online writing sprints on several Facebook groups that helped, and in a few days, I did double my wordcount.
The joy to read came back.
But then official term started again.
And I have now got online learning to do for school too, to justify us all being at home, even though we are still planning work for our children to do at home. As well as still needing to go in periodically.
Another killjoy to my writing spree.
I’m trying to be practical still have work, but I need my play too, which involves reading and writing.
So, I have taken time to re-plan and structure my WIP, and while doing that, I have got my juices flowing, again, I think.
My aim is to do school-based work in the mornings and use after lunch time to look at my creative projects, be it writing, courses or research for the WIP.
The evening is filled with family time, walks, cooking, reading, watching films and TV, and if I feel inspired, a little more writing time.
I’m under no illusions. At one point I thought I would end this period with a mainly finished first draft, but I don’t think that will happen.
I’ve had up days, days where I have felt productive in all areas of my quiet life, then there have been days where I have barely wanted to leave my bed.
Those days are the days that suck my creative well dry. The days I watch the news and the world gives me nothing to be hopeful about. The days I had that call or message to say a loved one was ill, or had passed away (twice, so far).
Still, I’m just thankful that I am okay, we are all healthy, and that, in itself, is the biggest thing.
I’ll keep trying to write, but I won’t beat myself up if nothing comes. These are crazy times. Messing with our heads.
If I can’t write my own words, I’ll read others. I’ll teach myself new things to make my words, when they do come, better.
But I won’t stop trying to write.
(Oh, and I discovered TikTok! Heaven help us all!)
Ritu Bhathal was born in Birmingham in the mid-1970s to migrant parents, hailing from Kenya but with Indian origin. This colourful background has been a constant source of inspiration to her. From childhood, she always enjoyed reading. This love of books is credited to her mother. The joy of reading spurred her on to become creative in her writing, from fiction to poetry. Winning little writing competitions at school and locally encouraged her to continue writing.
As a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and teacher, she has drawn on inspiration from many avenues to create the poems that she writes. A qualified teacher, having studied at Kingston University, she now deals with classes of children as a sideline to her writing!
Ritu also writes a blog, www.butismileanyway.com, a mixture of life and creativity, thoughts and opinions, which was awarded first place in the Best Overall Blog Category at the 2017 Annual Bloggers Bash Awards, and Best Book Blog in 2019.Ritu is happily married and living in Kent, with her Hubby Dearest, and two children, not forgetting the fur baby Sonu Singh.
Amazon Author Page: https://www.amazon.com/author/ritubhathal
And by clicking the following link, you get to my author profile on Amazon: Author.to/RituBhathal
Buying Link: myBook.to/PoeticRITUals
Buying Link: http://getbook.at/MarriageUnarranged
And my review of Ritu’s book: https://mjmallon.com/2020/02/09/book-review-marriage-unarranged-ritu-bhathal-arc-review/
And my review of Poetic Rituals: https://mjmallon.com/2017/10/26/my-review-of-poetic-rituals-by-ritu-bhathal/
Social Media Profiles
Blog Website: http://www.butismileanyway.com
Author Website: http://www.ritubhathal.com
Ritu has been a great blogging/author friend. Like me Ritu believes in Team Work. It’s great when writers and creative souls come together to try to help each other.
We both support each other with book launches and the like because that is what friends are for.
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Authors Amazon Page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/mjmallonauthor/
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/author/show/17064826.M_J_Mallon BookBub: https://www.bookbub.com/profile/m-j-mallon Collaborative Group: https://www.facebook.com/pg/5SpiritualSisters/
Thank you so much for having me, Sis!
We’re still in this surreal world… Wonder what changes Sunday’s announcement will bring?
Luck and love 💜
Yes we’ve been wondering that. All the best time you, keep smiling. Xxx
You too, my lovely 💜😁💜
I admire the way teachers have had to adapt to this “new normal” by presenting their lessons online as opposed to in the classroom, with very little time to prepare.
Yes me too Sharon. I work for an international sixth form college and I have huge regard for teachers. 🙂
It’s a strange world we’re loving in right now… But we have to adapt…
Right on with teamwork! I’m still relatively new to the blogging/writing world, but one similarity I see with education is the number of people who look out for one another. Balancing family, work, and creative pursuits like writing can be a tricky balance, but it sounds as if Ritu is doing all that.
Oh, the blogosphere is amazing, Pete!!!! 🥰
Yes Ritu manages to juggle so many things Pete. I also work in an educational setting but as a receptionist/administrator.
I always enjoy reading about how Ritu is managing life as our lives are quite similar in many ways, Marje. With regards to Covid-19, I think mine has changed less than Ritu’s as I have always worked at least two days a week at home and, up until 8 years ago, I worked only from home. The transition to working form home for me has, therefore, not been nearly as great. I also have great plans to write in the afternoons but it has only happened one this week and that time was after 4pm. Best of luck to Ritu with the next few weeks after which, hopefully, our lives will start returning to normal.
Yes let’s hope so Robbie. This lockdown is going on for such a long time.
Thank you, Robbie.
Yes we do have many similarities in our lives, don’t we?
Sunday will give us another indication as to how soon things will return to pre-COVID status, but I don’t think there will be many huge changes too soon, to be honest.
The writing is still coming in fits and starts, but any words are good words, as far as I think!
Yes, I am editing and it is slow going. I end up reading certain paragraphs over and over.
I’m working through the final beta edits of The Curse of Time. It’s taken forever but I’m getting there.
How lovely my too favourite Sisters ❤️💙💙
Aww, thank you Willow. <3 xxx
A real pleasure 💜
Hey there my dear, dear sis 💜💜💜
I think Ritu speaks for all of us as she struggles to get the creative juices going amidst all the other things she has to do as a teacher and a mother. I have, however, been able to read some of those large books I’ve been wanting to read for a long time. There is always something good!! A great post. Thanks!
Darlene, I’ve been trying to.make a dent in my book pile too!!!
Me too! Still struggling with reading.
Yes she does. Thank you Darlene. It’s a difficult time, I’m coping with it by keeping busy doing the things I love. All the best to you.
Great post from Ritu. Yes, it seems a very common problem among many of us writers having an impaired mojo in these uncertain times. Blogging and short stories and poetry is about all I can muster while my finished first draft book sits in isolation too, lol. ❤ Hugs girls. xx