The only way I’ve found to work through a major crisis like the one we are all experiencing right now is to find those silver linings that come with every dark cloud.
It’s a clichéd phrase, I know. But it has merit.
It’s how I got through my brain tumor and subsequent surgery last year, and it’s how I’m approaching the COVID-19 pandemic this year.
I fully acknowledge that there are many things about this pandemic that have caused changes that suck. My daughter missing her friends and trying to deal with a scaled down online academic program (when she already wasn’t challenged enough) sucks. Her dojo going out of business because of the shutdown sucks even more than the school changes. The fact that I can do nothing to change any of this sucks, too.
But being able to have lunch with her every day, and go for walks or bike rides in the afternoon, that’s a silver lining. Having a job that allows me to do that is another.
Major change is a good time to take stock of how you’re conducting your personal and professional business. It’s the perfect opportunity to innovate and get rid of things that you were doing because they were habit or you’d always done them that way, but which really don’t make sense. It’s also the perfect time to get innovative and try things you didn’t think were possible.
Kristine Kathryn Rusch brilliantly, as always, illustrated this concept in her Business Musings blog last week. It’s called “Schrödinger’s Future,” and I highly recommend you read it.
Not surprisingly, Kris and I tend to see eye-to-eye on a lot of things. We’ve been lucky in our business that we were able to adjust quickly in that regard to this pandemic.
Other aspects of our life have required a lot more innovation.
Take my Kiwanis Club, for example. I picked a hell of a year to be president. As if taking on those duties while recovering from brain surgery wasn’t enough, Kiwanis is one of many organizations steeped in traditions that cannot be observed right now. We can’t gather together for our weekly lunch forums or service projects or pretty much everything we Kiwanians usually do. So, how do you lead such an organization when gatherings of any size are prohibited? Well, you get creative and innovate.
I’ve written about how we conducted a virtual Easter Egg Hunt in lieu of our traditional one (read about that here.) And just last week, we again partnered with our local cultural center and outlet mall to fund supplies for a Happy Heart Hunt art project that will not only give kids a fun activity to create but also a fun activity to go do as they hunt for hearts in windows created by their friends and neighbors.
We’ve held two virtual pancake breakfasts on Facebook, and we’ve resumed our meetings via Google Meet. Our first one focused on how to meet via Google Meet, which seemed wise (and was). We’re conducting scholarship interviews virtually, as well.
And we’ll continue incorporating this technology long after the pandemic (finally, some day) ends. Why? Because by being forced to innovate, we stumbled into a blessing with these virtual meetings. One of our board members (our incoming vice president) is currently deployed to Kosovo with the Oregon National Guard. We’ve missed his presence since December, but he’s been able to attend every one of our board and regular meetings since we went virtual. He logs on at 9 p.m. Kosovo time for our noon meetings. And that’s just one example. We’ve had new moms, older folks who have trouble getting out as much these days, and folks who can’t get away from the office on a regular basis all attend our meetings this way.
That’s a huge silver lining.
This pandemic won’t always have silver linings to focus on, of course. Not for everyone and not all of the time. But if you can and when you can, I encourage you to find them.
For writers, that might be finally taking the time to focus on their writing careers. If that’s the case for you, our latest StoryBundle is a great place to find some incredible writing resources and tools.
The Write Stuff 2020 Bundle, curated by Kris, has three WMG offerings: Kris’ latest nonfiction book Rethinking the Writing Business: A WMG Writer’s Guide, the Bundle on Craft: A WMG Writer’s Guide (which contains the books The Write Attitude, Writing into the Dark, The Pursuit of Perfection, and Stages of a Fiction Writer), and a lecture from Dean on Writer’s Block and Procrastination.
Plus, seven other books by fantastic writers guiding you through a variety of topics. And, as always, you name your own price. That’s more important now than ever.
Read all about the bundle here.
I hope you, too, are able to find some silver linings in these tumultuous times.
Allyson Longueira is publisher of WMG Publishing. She is an award-winning writer, editor and designer, working mother, and brain tumor survivor.