IWSG: The Plague Rat Writing World

Logo for the Insecure Writer's Support Group. Picture of a lighthouse with text reading "THE INSECURE WRITER'S SUPPORT GROUP"

Purpose: To share and encourage. Writers can express doubts and concerns without fear of appearing foolish or weak. Those who have been through the fire can offer assistance and guidance. It’s a safe haven for insecure writers of all kinds!

April 1 question – The IWSG’s focus is on our writers. Each month, from all over the globe, we are a united group sharing our insecurities, our troubles, and our pain. So, in this time when our world is in crisis with the covid-19 pandemic, our optional question this month is: how are things in your world?
The awesome co-hosts for the April 1 posting of the IWSG are Diane Burton, JH Moncrieff, Anna @ Emaginette, Karen @ Reprobate Typewriter, Erika Beebe, and Lisa Buie-Collard!

My last post was about Coronavirus. I think the one before that was, too. I’m nestled right at the center of the United States, where things haven’t gotten really bad, yet. The question here is keeping them that way. People are actually running around in surgical masks, and the supermarket has a tape recording on a loop that reminds you of all the current anti-viral best practices. I have now learned the exact number of respirators in my state. The whole thing gives you a lingering sense of impending doom.

It’s the kind of time when you look around and really think about what you want your life to be like.

Here’s this lump of time. There’s a chance to do something else. Something more. Something… different.

Anticipation. Opportunity.

The idea that if I am not working at the shitty day job… And not sick (that’s the important thing)… Well, I could be doing something else. Look at all that time. (Okay, yes. One of the psychologists who reads my blog suggests aiming for 50% of the usual output, at least at first. I’ll meet her half-way, and drink green tea while I’m working.)

I have novels to write. Novels to revise. Query letters to get in the mail.

And there’s always that podcast that I’m always thinking about doing, and never quite seem to get around to. Do I need a theme? Not really. Not anymore. Just… Here’s something to entertain you, while you’re sitting home from work.

And after it’s over? I’m going out dancing. I’m getting a cheese steak sandwich at that 24hr diner which is currently a 0-hour diner. And I’m going to buy books. In person. While drinking an iced latte and sharing a muffin.

Beyond staying healthy and staying sane, what are your goals for the next few months? Do you have any plans for when the crisis is over?


    • Reply

      I think the important part is that we’ll rebuild. The part that actually keeps me going is that I’m going to go out and have fun for a while. Thanks for stopping by.

  1. Reply

    I want to believe that life will be back to normal, but more likely to be a ‘new normal.’
    That will look different for everybody.
    Most important thing is to take care of yourself. Stay well! Thanks for co-hosting!

    • Reply

      As long as the “new normal” doesn’t get in the way of my cheese steak! Take care of yourself, too. Happy IWSG day!

  2. Reply

    I hear people shouldn’t wear the masks unless they’re sick, save them for the medical people. Then in the next newscast I hear everyone should wear masks–crazy news, driving me bonkers! Anywho, stay informed, but take a break from the sensationalizing news.
    I can’t wait to go out to dinner with all my friends. Good food. Good people. Laughter and conversations. And best of all, seeing, hugging, and kissing my grandbabies!!!
    Thank you for co-hosting. Stay healthy.

  3. Reply

    You’re right, we need to see ourselves on the other side of this pandemic. I see myself freezing my butt off in Canada after my husband and I are able to find a flight home. Best to you, Karen. Thanks for co-hosting!

  4. Reply

    I love your plans for after this is over, especially buying books in person while drinking an iced latte 🙂

    I’m trying to use this time to focus on my writing, but that’s easier said than done some days.

    • Reply

      Focus seems to escape me more often than usual, these days. I keep reminding myself that a page a day is a book in a year.

  5. Reply

    I know that there is a pandemic. I am presently living in a country that is on total lockdown. However, I also believe that my quality of life will continue as it is and get better because I live my life with purpose. I know there is a reason for me being here on this planet at this time.

    Thank you for co-hosting.
    Take care and be safe.

    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G @ EverythingMustChange

    • Reply

      I know you always brighten my day. I’m glad you’re taking care of yourself. Happy IWSG Day.

  6. Yolanda Renee


    Love your positive attitude! I’m celebrating when it’s over, but that party is still a long way off, so work, work, work on all those other thing I’ve been putting off! 🙂

    • Reply

      The longer I have to wait for my party, the more I’ll enjoy it. But, yes… I’m putting in a lot of work, too. It would be a shame to waste a perfectly good stay-at-home order.

    • Reply

      I refuse to waste the extra time I have. Really, I do. Oh, look. An orangutan reading to a family of otters. No… must work!

  7. Reply

    Thanks for co-hosting! When this mess is over, Hubs and I are going to the shore. We’ll wade in the ocean, breathe in the salt air, and have a nice restaurant meal at whatever restaurant has reopened. Stay safe and well, my friend.

  8. Jennifer Lee Hawes


    We may not get back to school this year. I’m okay with that. I’m enjoying my time with my ten-year-old! The weather has turned sunny and warm and we are making the best of a bad situation!

  9. Reply

    Oh yes! Tons of Lattes and hours upon hours of going through book stores… and hobby stores. I might just book an entire week for it!

    • Reply

      Oooh, hobby stores! I’d forgotten that one. Some of them sell ink and everything. I’m just going to wander from bookstore to bookstore. That’s it…

  10. Donna K. Weaver


    It’s crazy we’re living a disaster movie. The only sad thing is the scientists aren’t going to be able to come up with a last-minute cure for this. Be safe!

    • Reply

      Movies tie everything up so nicely! It would be nice, if there was a cure… but I think I’ll go wash my hands again, just because. Happy IWSG Day.

  11. Reply

    For the first two weeks of work-at-home isolation, I was seriously productive, at work and personally. Now that productivity is flagging a little. It’s harder to stay focused, especially on my writing. Shouldn’t I be cranking out a couple thousand words a day, now that I have no commute? Yeah… no. Such a strange time.

    • Reply

      I don’t necessarily want more than I can revise, but some good, clean pages would be nice. The thought of doing something **new** is sparkling at the edge of my boredom, too.

  12. Reply

    Thanks for co-hosting this month; I’m on next month :). I’m thinking positive, especially since I participated in an EFT session. It moved a major chunk of my paranoia out of my mind and heart. I’m wondering if when this is over that many of us will see life a little differently; maybe appreciate some of the smaller things, like just going out for a cup of coffee with a friend. That’s what I miss the most. Blessings

    • Reply

      I think you’ll enjoy hosting. It’s been a good experience for me. I’m dreaming of that first cup of coffee in the Not-My-Kitchen Cafe.

  13. Allie Bock


    OMG!! I’m planning on going out drinking and dancing too when this is all over! I listened a podcast on how to be productive during this crisis. They recommend keeping a schedule and keeping a gratitude journal. Thanks for co-hosting!

  14. Reply

    We live in Mexico and on the surface life is “normal” but very quiet. So far toilet paper in the stores. Extended family live under one roof. If someone has been exposed, no testing. A doctor will order tests if the person has symptoms. We are in the high risk group, so we are being vigilant. Self-isolate and follow the rules.
    Future plans: Share a muffin? That was so normal a few weeks ago. Thank you for co-hosting the IWSG April blog hop
    Lynn La Vita blog: Writers Supporting Writers

    • Reply

      If I were in Mexico, I’d be sharing something **truly** amazing with somebody. Mexican desserts are fantastic! Take very, very good care of yourselves.

      • Reply

        We have learned over the years to recognized our Mexican neighbors are a proud people. We are careful to accept their offer; often fresh fish. The folks are so appreciative. We often feel like their extended family. Our United States and Canadian friends are often offended. Interesting difference.

  15. Reply

    Buying books in person is definitely on my list of things to do post-pandemic. And resume my Thursday Gourmet Night and Saturday Tea, (each a 2-person event) which have been staples in my life for over 20 years. This crisis has certainly put me in a mood to think about what’s really important in life.

  16. Reply

    Staying healthy and staying sane – those are worthy goals for all times, not just for now.
    Thanks for co-hosting this month.

    • Reply

      As someone who plays with imaginary pirates for my books, I appreciate the idea that sanity is still attainable. I’d pinned so many of my hopes on good health! Thank you for stopping by.

  17. Reply

    Hey, girl. I like your post pandemic plans. Great attitude. I feel like I should be doing something more with all this time on my hands too. Glad I found someone with that feeling too. Great post.Uplifting.
    JQ Rose

  18. Reply

    Isn’t it great that writers get to work from home? That’s what I’m doing. I suspect a lot of people will get used to the joins of ordering stuff online, even after this pandemic is over.

    Thanks for co-hosting this month!

  19. Reply

    OMG yes, I have plans to visit ALL the bookstores and drink ALL the coffees which I bought from an actual store that I could walk into. Some day. Thanks for co-hosting this month!

  20. Reply

    I have none. My life hasn’t really changed that much. As of today, Florida was put on a mandatory shelter at home order, but the rules are still the same as before. Restaurants are open for take-out and we’re allowed to go to the grocery store and gas station :-/ So, I’m chipping away at my previous goals…hoping it’s not too late to become a best-selling author lol

  21. Reply

    You said it perfectly. We have this lump of time and how we manage it is very important. This pandemic has changed us and all we can hope is that it’s for the better. Great post as host for this month’s IWSG.

  22. Diane Burton


    You make a good point–focus on afterward. Right now, we do what we can do. My mind isn’t cooperating with my writing. Same as with 9/11. With all this time, I should be doing so much more. I tell myself that by watching movies and binge-watching TV shows plus reading, I’m refilling the creative well. That helps me not think about the consequences of the pandemic.Thanks for co-hosting this month.

  23. Reply

    I’m using whatever extra time I have now to write. It is my escape from the stress of the pandemic and the constant bombardment of how terrible it all is, which it is, but I don’t need the constant reminder. I’m doing my part in following the guidelines and hoping everyone else is doing theirs so that this will be over that much sooner, with that many fewer lives lost. Thank you for co-hosting!

  24. Reply

    I’m trying to appreciate the slower pace and make progress on long neglected projects. Mostly this means cleaning, repairing, and improving my home. I’d love to use more of the time for writing, but I find that my husband and daughter need me *more* not less, and that my focus is harder to find for still activities like reading and writing. I’m lucky on a lot of fronts though. We’ll get through this! @samanthabwriter from
    Balancing Act

    • Reply

      Sounds like you’re going to be busy! Maybe more time for writing when everyone settles in, and they don’t need your direction as much. (I don’t know. My last kid was a philodendron.)

  25. mlouisebarbourfundyblue


    Hi, Karen! Thanks for co-hosting today, and thanks for sharing that psychologist’s advice about planning on 50% of your usual output. I’ve been frustrated that I’m not doing more than usual because I think I have more time and should be more productive. I guess I’m more distracted than normal. I wish you well as we all move through this to better times. I, too, want to go to my bookstore and buy real books, but I’ll be leafing through them as I drink regular coffee loaded with cream and enjoy a warm apple tart. Cheers!

  26. Reply

    Hi Karen, My goal is to work as many hours as I can while I am getting my $2/hour hazard pay on top of my hourly wage. I want to do more of my own writing on top of my freelance work. And hopefully I can get my bedroom cleaned.

  27. Reply

    I think I’ll try and get into a routine of writing now that online teaching has become a little more automatic for me. Thanks for.co-hosting. Stay well and stay safe.

    • Reply

      You’re going to have to tell us all about the online teaching, once you get a chance. The educational system is definitely getting a shake up, right now!

  28. Reply

    I thought getting the clutter out of my house would be the perfect job for stay-at-home orders. But then, my kids decided my time would be much better spent helping with homework and cooking meals at any and all times of the day. Oh well. It’s not like the Good Will drop off is open anyway. Clutter is safe, for now.

    • Reply

      Kids do have a way of keeping you busy! My gosh, the homework must be a challenge to keep on top of.

  29. Reply

    The cruise I was taking in a couple weeks was cancelled, but I’m in the health-risk population, so that’s a good thing. Other than that, I’m working from home and trying to keep from going stir-crazy by at least taking a walk and/or exercising more. I just started that yesterday, though, so we’ll see how it goes. 😀

    • Reply

      Oooh, there’s that exercise thing again. I really should pay more attention to that. I hope you’re planning a fantastic vacation to make up for the cruise, when this is all over.

  30. Reply

    Ha! Now there’s a topic I bet most of us haven’t thought about. What will we do when it’s over? Will things really go back to normal? Will there be food on the shelves of grocery stores, restaurants still open for business? Will hugs be a thing of the past? I’ll be listening for Sunday church bells, the sound of an inbound train, the aroma of fresh street tacos, drinks with a twist of lime. And spaghetti. Thanks for co-hosting and conjuring hopeful thoughts!

  31. Reply

    I like your celebration plans too. My plans to write. Probably no celebrating as I was already home bound most of the time, so… Write and write some more.

  32. Reply

    Thanks for co-hosting this month.
    I’m currently still working right now so I don’t have a lot of time on my hands to do other things outside of what I would normally do, but I am working less and my husband is taking on more tasks to give me a break since I’m kinda considered at risk. My doctor cleared me to work, so I’m working while I can.
    I’m glad to hear you are able to keep up with your writing. I like the idea of making plans for after all this too.
    Stay safe.

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