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  • Jon Bolitho-Jones

Being a Writer – Trying to stay sane during lockdown…

With lockdown (maybe?) coming to a close I thought I would write about my experiences. Apart from acting and writing my main money jobs are in the entertainment business working as a children’s entertainer and as a Stage Door Administrator at Watford Colosseum. Unsurprisingly halfway through March I found myself out of work as the parties and shows got cancelled. It wasn’t all doom and gloom however as for a start I am in a privileged position with plenty of savings and a wonderful wife. I also ended up receiving furloughed pay from Watford Colosseum and money from book sales. However with all this extra time on my hand I decided to fully commit to my writing. I would use the lockdown to become a full-time writer – well at least a part-time one, it’s all dependent on distractions really.


So setting up a routine and a series of goals I got to work. I would work in my office on my weekdays, getting up up at 6.30 to make my wife a coffee, then head back to bed, to start properly writing/editing around 8am. Beth’s been really happy having me free at weekends – before all this I was disappearing around the M25 working. On the whole I’ve been pretty good at keeping to my routine and working. Not perfect, but I’ve got stuff done. Anyway here’s a little picture of my office:




It’s really our dining room table though I hope you enjoy the non-ironic princess mug next to a Predator coaster. Always thought my personality suited Rapunzel the most. You can see the stuff at the end of it too can’t you? The little models behind the beer glass? Well we don’t have the largest flat and have hardly enough room to store our stuff. Most of our wedding presents are still hiding up north in Beth’s grandparent’s garage. The size of the flat does mean I have gone a little bit mad at times during this lockdown as it can be quite lonely during the week. I find if I keep to a schedule and get things done it helps alleviate this. A problem I do have is that the kitchen is just behind the picture and so my snacking has reached new dangerous levels. It doesn’t help that as the food shopper I know exactly what we have and where I am hiding it. Beth does usually end up finding it and lets me off as long as I don’t eat it all in one go. This flat was always meant to be a holding place until we were ready to move north and buy a house. We should have got that sorted by now but alack Covid has gotten in the way.


As of writing this blog I have somewhat lost my focus and I am spending most of my time editing book 2 of my Edimor series. Beth finished her first read through and it made her cry. A good sign! But yes I did get her treats to make up for it. So far in lockdown I have finished a new YA fantasy story that is currently being edited, written a short story, put a different one up on Amazon (https://www.amazon.co.uk/Our-little-patch-Paradise-pandemic-ebook), written a horror sci-fi story, and started to write a sci-fi detective novel with lots of comedy that my Dad loves. It’s nowhere near finished, and yes it’s for a much older audience then my usual work. Along with these I have also expanded on social media, in particular Twitter, and written a number of blog posts, the most successful of which was about the Harry Potter tour in Leavesden. I have done quite a bit of writing and it has helped with my sanity. It has also meant I have started to feel more like a writer and expanded my author brand. I now have a number of projects near completion so I am eager to get them out there into the world and read.


I am slowing down a bit. I have realised, much like a lot of people that you can’t force yourself to be productive all the time. Beth tells me to get off Twitter at the weekends as it too is a part of my work. Of course I have done others things to keep my mind active. To fight off the snackins I have done semi-regular work outs – whether runs around the block in an attempt to spot the local cats, sessions of Joe Wicks at the weekend (I swear at him every time he suggests a squat exercise), or my own intense Mulan "Man Out of You" routine. You would have to ask in person about that last one - it might be a bit tricky to explain here. Along with this I have done quizzes, video calls with my family, and focused on my favourite hobby Warhammer. Why don’t you take a look at something I’ve painted.




I guess I might be one of the few people you know who panic bought Warhammer before lockdown. Not really, but Beth did encourage me to buy more. Sadly I’ve almost run out now, and my passion for painting has kind of disappeared. My birthday is coming up so maybe this will come back to life? Who knows! Go on, have a look at this battle I had as well, I’m very good at losing against myself.




I also have my wonderful wife keeping me sane too. I’ve done the same for her and I don’t think either of us would have managed to cope so much if we were doing this alone. She’s been busy at Watford General Hospital throughout, being the star she is, while I’ve been looking after the flat, shopping, cooking, writing, and everything in between to keep our little home running. We’ll pull through of course, and our hearts go out to everyone finding this weird time incredibly difficult. There are many, many people having a much worse a time then us. We have had a mixture of news ourselves. My nephew has continued to grow increasingly adorable, and my sister frequently video calls us to show the little man off. Normally he is eating but that’s not a surprise when his mealtimes can last for an hour. We also have a new nephew and he is tiny and adorable. Both of our parents and remaining grandparents are the sensible sorts and have been looking after themselves. We’ve had a cat go missing to be then found again healthy though a bit hungry and scared, and a family member get a new job too. Sadly though another close relative passed away recently. Unable to go the funeral some distance away we were understandably angry with the people flouting lockdown and certain others in positions of power bending the rules to fit their needs. I have an eye condition, and I would never dream of testing it by driving 30 miles to a tourist attraction with family in the car. One would think if I used that as an excuse that I either didn’t care in the slightest for their safety, or was simply spouting lies. Anyway I think I should move on before I get too angry.


So yes, Beth and I are surviving and we will pull through it all whenever this crazy period does actually end. I don’t have much confidence in the people in charge I’m afraid. I’ve managed to be productive and get quite a lot of writing done, and I’m coming out of this feeling more like a writer, ready to get more of my work out for you to read. I guess it’s time to get the ball rolling for book 2 really - it’s my favourite one so far! Also if you do want to send a bit of money our way to help us out and get a book in the process click the link below. The book’s by me of course, and it’s pretty good! (such a subtle plug). You might find it quite useful at the moment - a nice distraction from all this madness.


With that it's bye for now. I'll be back soon.

Jon

https://www.troubador.co.uk/bookshop/young-adult/when-the-world-falls-down/




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