Updated: Jun 26
GUEST BLOG: MASCARANDY MEDIA
Yet another COVID-19 blog post…?
Like most writers caught up in the Coronavirus crisis – amazing that Microsoft Word already autocorrects this by the way – I’ve been wondering whether to add my two-penneth on the situation and how it affects my profession.
It’s clear folk not working for months on end, especially those self-employed in the outdoor industry, will have a profound effect on their prospects going forward.
But that’s all been said already hasn’t it?
Well, what about the so-called increased inspirational creative foresight all of us now possess since we’ve been quarantined in our own homes?
Search any social media platform and you’ll see plenty who are positively loving the fact they are at home more. There’s those who are learning new languages, doing yoga (I’m included in this, don’t @ me), baking and so forth.
Do you really want another scribe on that and why it might or might not be the case for me?
Brace yourselves … I was told that because my story is personal, it is automatically different because it offers another viewpoint. If that is the case then it may be that other people might want to read it? Isn’t it cathartic to get it on screen too?
So, I’m jumping in. Following the bandwagon. Here goes the short version.
COVID lockdown for me came around a week before Boris did his thing.
I’ve worked from home before – some 18 months out of a small flat in Didsbury years ago and was looking forward to it. My commute is a lengthy one and initially I found being in a changed environment very rewarding.
Like most I migrated from the kitchen table to a quieter space upstairs but after a while, the lack of seeing people and not having that external stimulation was something that weighed heavy on me. I work in a rural setting, whereas my home is on the outskirts of a town. My place of work is connected to what I do.
Creatively, that burst of energy and the newness of the situation saw my Secret Dales project submitted to my publisher (well ahead of time), with publication now expected to be in November. That’s a perfect time for Christmas everybody so I will be offering pre-orders very soon!
Being away from my stimulus; the outdoors and particularly the Yorkshire Dales has been overwhelming.
It’s hard to know that my work, my research base, is some 60 miles away. No amount of virtual walking can replace that and I know many other outdoor scribblers are feeling the same. You see the pictures, videos and blogs and it makes the pining worse.
Yet, I know I’m lucky. I can continue working from home, contributing, whereas many are in a different position, waiting for the outdoor world to re-open so they can take commissions.
There are so many uncertainties about when that will happen, so much conjecture and I believe the financial packages available to lessen some of the impacts aren’t perfect for everyone.
I’m told that B&Bs and guest houses can’t access the funds. People who have nurtured these over a number of years face ruin through something that isn’t their fault.
And as we know from the Foot and Mouth crisis, a return to normal in a rural setting can take years – particularly in isolatied communities.
I’m also fortunate that where I live is surrounded by fields and woodland, all explorable from my door. But that’s where I’m struggling…
At the time of writing, I haven’t left the house in near five weeks which obviously isn’t great for my mental health or my creative muse.
This facet of my life; the walking, caving, being outdoors, has been hit the most, almost to a point when I actually feel more comfortable indoors. It’s like I’m off kilter and have gotten used to a new way. Indoors feels safe, outdoors doesn’t.
I know it’s going to be very difficult to move away from that, but deep down I know I have to.
In the meantime, I’m trying to pick away at what I can control.
With Secret Dales now in the can, I’m looking for my next project whether that is writing, self-publishing, or project managing someone else’s work. Keen? Get in touch.
Secondly, I have moved a lot of my photography examples on to Pinterest.
It’s a nice showcase for some of the pictures that feature in my books, and the platform offers a degree of safety too when it comes to the images being lifted and used.
Anywhere you upload pictures to can be lifted I guess, but I felt this was a nice way to show what I do.
Check them out here – all images can be made available for commercial use so please get in touch.
Next, I have been using the isolated experience to talk to more authors. We writers can place ourselves on an island, we’re all competition to each other depending on the genre – but speaking to the likes of Phillip Bell (Beachy Books) and Alex Roddie has helped immensely. Thank you chaps…
WHAT I HAVE BEEN READING
Social Media … Bad for me, a hurtful place with only snippets of compassion. The #bekind movement didn’t last long
The Lighthouse – Alison Moore
The novels aren’t the most uplifting trilogy of tomes but fit perfectly with my mental state! I found Woodrell via my favourite author Willy Vlautin. Their styles differ but their tales of hard hit Americana are similar.
WHAT I HAVE BEEN LISTENING TO
I’m a podcast junkie so I won’t list all the podcasts I’ve taken over the last few weeks.
I will point you to this one by Beachy Books though – Phillip Bell answers my question: “How do you find your muse and motivation in a time of shit”.
WHAT I HAVE BEEN WATCHING
Check out this excellent short from Jenny Tough about her camping trip in the highlands. I’m a sucker for a great Scottish melodic soundtrack!
Kilian Jornet’s Path to Everest
And finally, there’s a few pics below from the woods around my house – and an old road too. Posting them will hopefully help me find my muse.
Are you in a similar vein of thought? What are you doing to keep going?
Publishing and writing great quality books and other materials on nature and the outdoors with specialisms in the Yorkshire Dales - and in sport.
Visit our website at Mascarandy Media and social media platforms.
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Based in Tameside, Manchester we cover all aspects of print and social media design.
Visit our website at Gareth Wright Design and social media platforms.