2020 – Covid-19, Homeschooling, and writing

What a year it’s been!

Here in my hometown in North Queensland, Australia life has been weird, yet relatively safe for the most part.  It would have been the end of March when we were given the choice to pull the kids out of school if we wanted to.  Given that hubby works for Human Services, and it was only two weeks before school holidays, we decided it would be for the best if we kept them home and monitored the health situation exploding around the world.

The kids were all a bit unsure of what was going on.  The two high schoolers were concerned what would happen with their assessments and ultimately how it would impact their grades.  The primary school kids were asking heaps of questions, trying to understand what was going on.  We answered questions where and when we could.  Teachers gave the children work to take home, or emailed work to them…and then we waited.

Holidays were different than usual – no shopping trips with the kids or family visits.  Our little town was safe for the most part.  I mean, we had no cases, but we did have caravans traveling through, rumors circulating that they’d crossed state borders out west through the back roads.  The news reported horrible stories of death and disease.  We were hearing reports from people living in Italy that conflicted with the news that only older people were at risk.  Then the news came that homeschooling would happen for all those who weren’t the children of emergency service workers.  My husband is emergency services, but I’m a stay at home mother who releases books where I can, so then I had to think about homeschooling…I mean could I do this?

Memories returned to me about just how trying I was as a student – always talking in class, wanting to ask the teachers why I had to learn things like fractions and geometry.  The list is endless.  And now the state government was expecting me to teach my kids.  All five got their work emailed to them – that was until the education department server overloaded.  Eventually that was fixed though and file after file was emailed through.  My high school kids were beyond brilliant, never shirking their duties and always having their work sent through on time.  The primary school kids needed a little guidance sometimes though sometimes.  Ultimately, they did really well…and so did I, except I didn’t get much writing done for a couple of months.  I was exhausted, and basically, I just didn’t have the time.  My kids had to come first!

Eventually though, life returned to some kind of normal.  That is, the kids went back to school, but parents weren’t allowed in schools and functions were cancelled.  So much disappointment for the kids, not to mention confusion as still no cases in our area.  Still, we’ve been following the rules and I even managed to get back into writing…but publishing is in limbo for me right now.  I submitted to a few places before pandemic set in but no reply – not a rejection, or an acceptance, or a half a while crocodile.  My wonderful publisher at Beachwalk said she was happy for me to submit though which is nice, but sales are shit right now so I’m just holding back.  there’s another reason though too.  Hubby – who designs my website – has thrown out the suggestion of us self-publishing at least half of my books.  Now this excites me…and scares the shit out of me!

So here I sit – four books finished and sitting in a folder on my computer, a fifth almost finished, and two slap togethers of short poetry type things I wrote at high school staring at me on my desktop.  I want to do this but I’m scared.  Sales are crap right now.  The world is in chaos.  If this virus gets a go on again I may have to drop everything to give my kids and husband the love and support they need.  And I’m frustrated because last year I managed to squeeze out four books in one year, but this year I’ve only got one publication to my name.

But on the upside – my hometown is, at this moment, still virus free, my husband is employed and healthy, my children are getting an education and are contented, and the rest of my family is still healthy in their aging years.  If this year has taught me anything it is how much I love my family and I might not get writing done every day, but I plod along and get there in the end.

Be safe everyone, and tell those you love just how much they mean to you because, if this year has taught us anything it is that we don’t know how much time we have left in this world, so make it count.


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