Is There a Switch?

There is light at the end of the tunnel. If there was ever a sign of hope for me personally that the pandemic might not reign in an era of constant emergency orders, it is that Ontarians can enter non-essential businesses again – including book stores.

I have missed browsing the shelves of a local bookstore. I haven’t been able to let my eyes float across the bended backs of used books in over half a year. To do so again is like seeing an old friend that you haven’t seen in, well, over half a year: Hi. I’ve missed you. How’ve you been? Should we hug?

With the prospect of my second vaccine shot and an imminent move to Ottawa, it seems appropriate to look back at the past fifteen months. A lot has happened: from meeting a wonderful woman to moving to Ottawa (these are connected), the 2019-2021 seasons of my life have been more eventful than the constant stay-at-home order may have allowed.

The pandemic has also provided me with opportunities. As I have mentioned before, I began writing for cbr.com in March of last year as the world was, at least in my mind, on the verge of societal collapse and the idea of buying a survival guide and watching videos on how to build a tent with nothing but natural resources seemed like a rational thing to do.

I wrote for the site for one year before going on an indefinite break this March. With a year of writing experience under my belt, I focused on a career change and began to write – “part-time” – for a content marketing agency.

It sounded like a wonderful agreement: I would start out with fifteen hours a week and, if both sides were happy, we would then revisit and look at potential full-time employment. However, things didn’t quite turn out this way, and after a month that saw me working closer to 120 hours instead of 60, I quit.

What I am trying to say is that this pandemic has provided me with more opportunities to write professionally than ever before. And as much as I may have hated some of the assignments, I am grateful for them. But I have also learned something about myself: I would rather work on my own project than having to follow an assignment.

So, here we are, just a couple of weeks away from moving to Ottawa, where I will finally have a home office – a place designated for work. And a place where I hope I will find time to tend my own projects again. There is still a thesis that wants to be turned into a second draft. There’s an entire idea book that has almost given up on me. An entire file of literary magazines just waiting for my submissions (presumably).

All I have to do is find the switch to turn the creative juices on again, and flip it.

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