Editor’s note: The last twelve months (and counting) of living during a global pandemic has had an affect on us Spoonies, so I thought I would do a six-week series, asking some of our contributing authors the same questions about how they are managing spoons, one year later.
This week’s featured author: Dianna Gunn
SpAN Ed: What impact have these past twelve months had on you? What routines have changed, and did you create new routines?
Dianna: Hoo boy, where to start? The biggest change was that my partner’s income was cut in half, which forced me to take on a lot more freelance work. I was lucky enough to have an upswing in clients around the same time, so the work was there to be done, but it dramatically reduced the amount of time I had for my author career.
These factors, along with the existential dread inherent to living through a pandemic, ruined any sense of routine I had for several months. I didn’t really start rebuilding until September 2020. I started with exercise, returning to strength training twice a week and adding a ten-minute cardio workout to my daily routine.
More recently, I hit burnout and had to take most of March off from work. Turns out, after a year of this mess, my brain is exhausted. Now I’m trying to build new, gentler routines that emphasize self-care, because my new spoon limit is indefinite; I won’t fully break out of pandemic fatigue until everyone I love is vaccinated, which will be about 10,000 years from now at the rate my local government is going.
SpAN Ed: As a creative person, did you find yourself diving into your craft more, or less so? Have you found other ways to nurture your creative mind?
Dianna: I’ve written a lot less fiction than I expected to in the past twelve months, but it’s mostly because of how many spoons my new freelance workload requires.
On the other hand, I’ve been able to access so many wonderful virtual events. I’ve even hosted a couple myself! These experiences have taught me so much and helped me make amazing friends. I hope there will continue to be a lot of virtual events in the post-pandemic world.
SpAN Ed: As a Spoonie, what about life during a pandemic helped you, and what has frustrated you?
Dianna: Those virtual events I just mentioned have been a big help. I’ve also been grateful for the expanded conversations about mental health. Those are two big things I’m fighting to keep post-pandemic.
As to what has frustrated me… Well, if I got into it all, we would be here all week. So I’ll stick with the main thing: the complete failure of white, western governments to enforce a proper lockdown and support people in enforcing lockdown. In Canada we had CERB, but it wasn’t comprehensive enough, and it didn’t account for the fact that many people spend more than $2000 on rent alone.
Honestly, this is exactly what I expected to happen: failure to take properly extreme measures to respond to an extreme situation, complete with thousands of unnecessary deaths and at least one year of isolation. Expecting it hasn’t made it any easier to live with, though.
SpAN Ed: Is there something that you achieved that you’re especially proud of (other than surviving, which is huge)? Remember, there are no “small” wins.
Dianna: The past year was great for me personally in a lot of ways. I made more money than I ever have, hosted my first two virtual events for writers, and worked through a lot of my trauma. I also managed a full edit on a novel and a (much lighter) edit on a novella. I had hoped to also finish the first draft of a new book, but I’m still proud of what I’ve accomplished.
Span Ed: A lot of people are saying we can’t really return to “normal” post-COVID, but what are some of the things you would like to do again, once you feel safe to venture out into in-person society? Also, what virtual-based activities would you love to keep in place, going forward?
Dianna: I want tattoos!!!!!!!!!! I have my next dozen or so planned, and I would have gotten at least two last year if there was no pandemic.
As for virtual activities, I plan to keep hosting virtual conferences and I hope I won’t be the only one.
SpAN Ed: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experiences?
Dianna: Nothing I can think of 🙂 . Thanks for doing this interview series!
And thank you for taking the time to answer my questions!
Dianna Gunn is a freelance marketing consultant, dark fantasy author, and an indie author community mentor. Dianna produces the Spoonie Authors Podcast and is also the curator of the Twitter writing chat #WeeknightWriters, which happens every Thursday, 7:00 p.m. EDT.
Her novel, Moonshadow’s Champion, the second of the duology, will be released in October 2021. The first book, Moonshadow’s Guardian, can be ordered from these booksellers.
You can discover more about her work at linktr.ee/d_l_gunn.