Isolation for Writers – Guest Post: Ritu Bhathal #Author #Writer #Poet #Blogger #COVID19 #Coronavirus #Isolation #Thoughts #Writing #Reading

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:

Coronavirus.
COVID-19.
Unprecendented.
Social Distancing.
Quarantine.
Self-Isolation.
Lockdown.

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!)

Author Bio
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
Twitter: https://twitter.com/RituBhathal
Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/ritubhathalwrites/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/butismileanyway/
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/RituBhathal/
Pinterest: https://uk.pinterest.com/bhathalpadhaal/
Goodreads: https://www.goodreads.com/user/show/56854412-ritu-bhathal
Mix: https://mix.com/butismileanyway
Tumblr: https://www.tumblr.com/blog/ritusmiles
LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/ritu-bhathal-48941648/
Bloglovin: https://www.bloglovin.com/@ritubhathalpadhaal

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.

Coronavirus – Mental Health #apps #selfcare #mentalhealth

It’s a challenging time for everyone. So self care for family/flatmate/friends whatever grouping you find yourself in, is crucially important. Support each other, perhaps elect one person (or one might naturally be inclined to do so without prompting) to be the cheerful buddy to keep spirits up. If you are living alone connect to your friends, family and wider family via social networks particularly visual ones with face to face experiences such as Skype. You can still elect a buddy but a virtual one!

Top 10 apps like Skype: https://www.techlazy.com/apps-like-skype/

Limit your use of social media – keep informed but avoid too much scrutiny of sad reports which come up on your feed. Instead, focus on the positive, the humour, the real life stories of kindness and positivity you find.

For example there is this lovely Facebook group to share your children’s and your pictures of rainbows – Rainbow Trail: https://www.facebook.com/groups/681125849365623/

On A Personal Note

My hubby hasn’t been feeling too well this week and we’ve been wondering if he has the virus. It’s difficult to tell without a test. Our nerves are at breaking point, it’s been a very stressful time. Whilst keeping and eye on his illness my daughters and I have been extra careful, washing our hands, disinfecting like crazy because it is possible to have the Coronavirus mildly, or even to be asymptomatic. Hubby has been up and down but he seems on the mend, fingers crossed, so perhaps it was something else? We will still be vigilant.

I’ve recently started to work from home, as the UK like so many countries is in lock down. I’m shocked by the number of people who still continue to behave as if the virus is nothing to be feared, gathering together for barbeques, family gatherings and the like.

I know it’s nice to get together but seriously can’t you wait? We have to get to grips with this NOW before more people die, or get seriously ill.

Lecture over.

What have I been doing?

I have to say I haven’t felt like reading at all. I just don’t have the energy. But, my bookworm eldest daughter wasn’t having that! Bless her. She encouraged me to read some romance. She’s suggested My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick and Die For Me by Amy Plum. Hum… I went for the latter. Enjoying it… apart from the title!

On the plus side I’ve started writing a little – my current project/s are flash fiction about the virus plus a YA short story set in a post pandemic world. Very topical. It’s a romance which is a different genre for me. Perhaps, I needed a little romance to cheer me up! I’m really enjoying writing this, especially as I always struggle to write romance. A positive I may have cracked it!

Work wise I’ve been working Monday to Friday same hours as usual. So no change there, keeping busy until 6pm every evening.

My daughters and I have plans to exercise, so with that in mind we have ordered some gym stuff to work out at home, or in the garden. Yes, a yoga mat! I might not be perched on a cliff face but life does feel a bit like that at the moment.

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio on Pexels.com

I hope you find these various mental health links, apps and learning possibilities useful:

https://theconversation.com/coronavirus-how-to-stop-the-anxiety-spiralling-out-of-control-133166/

https://woebot.io/how-it-works

https://www.nhs.uk/apps-library/cove/

https://www.headspace.com/

https://www.futurelearn.com/

https://www.elefriends.org.uk/

Before I go I’d like to introduce you to a new found friend of mine:

Mr. Sagittarius.

My poetry, prose and photography collection released on February 16th. Perhaps you may like to treat yourself to a copy. I’d be thrilled if you do.

Mr. Sagittarius is available in kindle, full colour paperback and free in Amazon Kindle Unlimited.

A magical story expressed via poetry and prose with photographic images.

Buying link: http://mybook.to/MrSagittarius

Keep safe. Let me know how you are coping during these scary and challenging times and do comment below if you’ve found some interesting resources too.

Much love and hugs, keep safe.

#10thingsIlove

Turn off the lights.Turn on the stars.

To balance out the good with the bad #10thingsIhate here are my #10thingsIlove.

1. Spending time with friends and family. There’s nothing quite like this, I’m definitely a social animal. Love going out for coffee, dinner or just hanging out at home with my family. Friends both on and offline are the best for supporting and encouraging you to pursue your dreams.
2. Eating tasty food. This just had to be on my list! LOL… I love food, any food, but especially spicy meals, as I grew up with a diet of Malaysian fare – my mum is from Kuching, Malaysia.
3. Travelling. Absolutely, would love to travel more. I grew up with a father who had a penchant for travel so this isn’t entirely surprising.  Recently, I entered Dan Alatorre’s recent Word Weaver writing competition with the first chapter of my dad’s travelling adventures. Sorry, the competition is now closed, but Dan has a great blog so go follow! I’ve been to many places in the world but there are still many to explore.
4. Going to the Theatre to see drama and dance. Where would we be without the theatre to make our imaginings take form? I adore going to the Edinburgh Festival and try to go every year if I can. The buzz is fantastic.
5. Visiting Edinburgh to see my mum, dad, brother and extended family. Love Edinburgh, it is one of the best cities in the world Edinburgh ranked Second in the World for Quality of Life and  is my home from home.
6. Writing prose and poetry, and reading books. Of course, this has to feature here. What has writing done for me? So much, it has given me such confidence, and so much enjoyment. I wish I had started writing decades ago!  Reading books and going to Book Festivals ranks pretty highly up there on my favourite things to do. Books make me cry, they make me smile; they delight me. Where would we be without books? I daren’t contemplate such a fate. And book festivals, again, my favourite is the Edinburgh Book Festival
7. Tai Chi. I have been attending classes in Taoist Tai Chi for many years, and I love it. I find it helps me relax, keeps me balanced and gives me a terrific boost. I would recommend it. Start young and you’ll stay fit well into your old age! Start older and it will keep you young! It’s a win, win situation… Recently, we had a Tai Chi intensive at my local branch.  Here’s the link to the Facebook page to see photos: Taoist Tai Chi Intensive in Cambridge. What’s a Tai Chi Intensive? It’s a special lesson when a particularly awesome instructor comes along to impart their knowledge to us Tai Chi enthusiasts. We partake of a bring and share lunch and generally have a lovely time.

Here’s the instructor considering what to teach us next:

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8. Sea air and sunshine. These two I’ve combined, as I enjoy the seaside best when the weather is nice. If the sun is out,  I can swim, (not in the UK!) sunbathe, eat an ice-cream, walk and explore. When it’s cold I still enjoy it, but I have to wrap up in many, many layers!
9. The blogging community. Have been a blast, so helpful, supportive and amazing. Love you! In fact I love you so much that I set up a special community on Facebook for authors/bloggers and bookish souls. Please do investigate and join …. Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support ClubMy fellow administrators of the group are Colleen Chesebro, and Debby Gies.
10. And last but not least, crystals and cats. I collect crystals and write about them too. My current manuscript is entitled: The Curse of Time – The Bloodstone. I intend to release this YA fantasy this summer. Cats, well I like their independence, and cats always seem to like me! Unfortunately, I don’t own one as both my husband and daughter are allergic but I get my fix over at Samantha Murdoch Blog. Samantha and I are good blogging friends and she has kindly been providing me with lots and lots of photos of her cat Lily who looks like the cat Shadow in my book.

Here are the latest photos of Samantha’s lovely cat Lily.

 

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In life, there is always good and bad but it is always nice to end on a high note.  There is much more to enthuse about when writing about what I love. The list could have gone on and on…

Bye for now,

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Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

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Authors/Bloggers Rainbow Support Club

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Welcome to my new book love group for authors and dedicated book bloggers who wish to support authors by writing reviews, or featuring authors on their blogs. Initially, I intended to write one long list and then I thought better of it. Small and personal works better – featuring a few bloggers/writers and then following it up with further lists on a fairly regular basis.

If you’d like to join in the next list please get in touch via my email: marjma2014@gmail.com, or leaving a comment at the end of the post. Thanks.

Of course Kyrosmagica blog continues to support authors in whatever way I can by writing reviews, author/blogger spotlights and interviews, so please don’t be shy, do get in touch if you’d like to be featured on Kyrosmagica.  

Here’s my first list:

Shelley Wilson: First up Shelley went all hunger games on me, dashing to the front of the queue to feature on my post!   So, many thanks to Shelley for kicking this off with a flourish! Author/Reviewer Blog is http://www.shelleywilsonauthor.com. She is pretty clear in her interests: ‘I write, I read, I review,’ she prefers YA fantasy, but also reads some historical fiction, non-fiction, horror, dystopian, sci-fi, and will take a look at book blurbs for most genres to see if she’d be interested but she doesn’t do romantic fiction.

Elouise De Sousa:  ‘Books, Poems, Stories…and a cup of coffee, or two!’ She has a Book Tuesday feature reviewing books from fellow authors and books she’s read. She covers most genres, depending on what has been sent to her. Her site is http://eloisedesousa.wordpress.com

Debby Gies: A Canadian author who I have had the pleasure of following for some time. She is  a very friendly and supportive lady who runs a series on authors with new books https://dgkayewriter.com/guest-authors-at-d-g-kayes-blog/ and also does her Sunday reviews on books she’s read and reviewed. Because of time constraints, she is unable to have an open invitation, rather she promotes authors she knows and invites them as her schedule permits.

Loretta Milan: Literary Lightbox supports authors from all backgrounds and most genres. ‘Literary Lightbox, founded by Loretta Milan, publishes inspiring articles featuring New York Times and Sunday Times bestselling authors as well as emerging and indie authors.’

It’s our special space of the Internet where we writers can inspire each other, lend support and encouragement.

: http://www.literarylightbox.com/submissions/

Sally G. Cronin: ‘Blog with a view – on books, music, humour and health.’ Sally is a massive supporter of authors hosting so many on her blog that at times it makes me dizzy just seeing what she is up to. At the moment Sally is on a well deserved holiday! Sally also writes excellent and informative articles about nutrition and health, has published several books and has an on-line bookstore: Sallys Cafe and Bookstore and offers free author and blogger promotion: Sally’s Author and Blogger Promotion 2017

Jenny Marston:  Blogs at www.jennyinneverland.com and enjoys reading Thriller, Mystery, Crime, YA, and Fiction. She is a busy lady with diverse interests: blogging about anxiety, books, blogging tips and advice, days out, lifestyle, travel, Disney, etc, and has a monthly meet my sponsor slot, which I had the pleasure of being part of. As well as this she manages a ‘privately run online book touring service for authors.’ In which she covers, ‘Thriller, Mystery, Horror, Romance, Chick-Lit, Young Adult and many sub-genres of those and offer a range of different length tours and services for you to choose from to get the best possible publicity for your book.’  Neverland Blog Tours

Heena Rathore Pardeshi:  Has a book review blog but has stopped reviewing for another 6-7 months. No doubt as she’s snowed under with her debut mystery and thriller novel, Deceived which she will be releasing soon – www.thereadingbud.com. But do keep an eye out for Heena and support her book release. She reviews all fiction genre except erotica. She doesn’t do non-fiction.

Anita Dawes & Jaye Marie: Like to review books and invite guest posts on their website. But be prepared sister writing team Anita & Jay are: ‘two determined authors, bulletproof and dangerous…’ Eek, that sounds scary… dare if you will!  Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie

Contributors Who Prefer to Host Guest Blogs

Seumas Gallacher: Fellow Scot doesn’t actively do ‘cold’ reviews other than books he’s downloaded on his Kindle, but he does have an open blog policy on Guest Blogs from anyone, but particularly from fellow writers who can include anything they wish, except gratuitously offensive material… book buying links, bio, cover pages, any wee back story or element to their writing… the page for promo is theirs… all at their choice… cheeeeeeers ..https://seumasgallacher.com/ 🙂

Carol Hedges: Is more than happy to showcase other writers and let them loose on her Pink Sofa. ‘I write, I sleep, I try to resist cake.’ Yes, her pink sofa is very edible, pink and sugary! https://carolhedges.blogspot.co.uk/…/ten-ways-im-just… Recently I came across a very interesting article on her blog: Carol Hedges Blogspot – The Importance of Publicity

Tina Frisco: Happy to feature authors/artists/photographers/ musicians/etc. as time permits.  ❤ https://tinafrisco.com/  ‘Nature is my go-to tonic.  Aside from music and animals, I love dancing and getting lost in working crossword puzzles.’ She blogs under the categories: inspiration, spiritual, guests, quotes, books, chronic illness and self-acceptance.

Thanks for dropping by. Don’t forget if you would like join my next list do get in touch by leaving a comment below or contacting me via my email: marjma2014@gmail.com

Bye for now,

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