Managing Spoons One Year Later

Managing Spoons One Year Later: Nicole Zelniker

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: Nicole Zelniker

alt="ID: Purple background. White text reads Managing Spoons (with two spoons for the Os), One year later, Nicole Zelniker"

SpAN Editor: What impact have these past twelve months had on you? What routines have changed, and did you create new routines?

Nicole: Oh boy. I’ve had to learn to live with myself and my own thoughts a lot more. The distractions of the outside world have lessened, so it’s been a lot of me time. It’s upended most things for me, so I don’t know if I’ve created new routines as much as I’ve had them forged against my will.

SpAN Editor: 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?

Nicole: For sure more for me, but I’ve been seeing a lot of “if you’re not writing your next novel in COVID times what are you doing” type talk, which can be super ableist. So just because I’ve been able to do it, doesn’t mean everyone has, nor should they. Re: creativity, talking to other writer friends and making new connections has been very helpful for me.

SpAN Editor: As a Spoonie, what about life during a pandemic helped you, and what has frustrated you?

Nicole: Seeing accessibility addressed has been great and also super frustrating. Great because it’s what people need and have needed, and frustrating because why haven’t we been granting such accessible spaces all along? I think the pandemic has opened a lot of eyes to what disability advocates have been saying all along.

SpAN Editor: Is there something that you achieved that you’re especially proud of (other than surviving, which is huge)? Remember, there are no “small” wins.

Nicole: I published a book this year! It’s called Letters I’ll Never Send, it’s an #OwnVoices mental health story, and y’all should check it out wherever books are sold online.

SpAN Editor: 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?

Nicole: I would LOVE to just give my friends a hug. I’m an introvert, but at this point it’s been so long. I’d also love to keep virtual options open for workplaces and school spaces, now that we know we can. It’s been really great for a lot of spoonies I know, and some non-Spoonies as well.

SpAN Editor: Is there anything else you’d like to share about your experiences?

Nicole: COVID sucks, wear a mask, wash your hands. That is all.

Thanks so much for sharing your point of view with us. Hope you sell a lot of books!

ID: Headshot of Nicole Zelniker

Nicole Zelniker (she/her) is a writer, activist, and podcast producer at The Nasiona. Nicole is also the author of Mixed, a non-fiction book about race and mixed-race families, Last Dance, a collection of short stories, and her latest novel, Letters I’ll Never Send, is an own-voices mental health story. Dress Rehearsal, another short fiction piece, appears in the award-nominated Nothing Without Us anthology. You can check out the rest of Nicole’s work at and follow her on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Medium.

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