Holy smokes, Election Day has arrived!
For the past eleven months, we’ve been told this is the most important election of our lifetimes. For many of us, the outcome feels crucial. It arrives after almost six years of campaigns, town halls, debates, and endless pontification.
I voted at 8:47 a.m. on Thursday, October 1, 2020, after a thirty-minute wait in line. Two weeks ago, I helped my father confirm that his mail-in ballot was received by his polling location.
If you haven’t voted, step away from your computer and get thee to your polling place!
If you mailed in your ballot, confirm that it was received.
Once your civic duty is complete, do a little happy dance.
Next, journal about your experience.
Include the taste of the air, the feel of angst on your skin, and anything else that strikes you as important. Even if the election is uneventful, your entry might serve as a future project.
Then do me a favor.
Step away from the news, at least for a few hours.
I’m spending election day in quiet contemplation, far, far, far away from social media.
I’ll read a good book, do a little writing, and praypraypray for the good of our country.
The ramp up to the election has been filled with dire predictions about who will win and what will happen to our democracy. This chatter is on top of news about spiking COVID cases, Supreme Court confirmations, the death of more unarmed black men, downturns in the stockmarket, hurricanes and wildfires, and the list goes on.
It’s likely the news cycle will crank that distracting noise up to eleven in the coming days and months.
To help you stay centered, I’m going to talk about practical ways you can silence the chatter that plagues writers most.
Before we begin, let’s do a quick bandwidth check.
Imagine you’re a radio station emitting a very specific signal. Right now, some of your signals might be so strong I’d hear them a few miles off. Others might be so weak they barely leave your neighborhood.
To check your bandwidth, ask yourself the following questions:
1. What are my current responsibilities? Which ones are new to 2020?
2. What community-wide problems are affecting me?
3. What personal obstacles or challenges am I facing?
4. How emotionally intense or draining are my days?
5. How does my current situation impact my commitment to my writing life?
6. Where am I getting support?
7. Does that support feel like it’s enough?
Once you have your answers, pause and take a few deep breaths.
While we all have a 2020 story to tell, right now, yours is the one that matters.
Get clear about what this year has been like for you, then give yourself a big hug.
Now, get out a piece of paper and draw your radio station.
Mine looks like a simple rectangle topped with a long skinny triangle for the antennae.
Next, draw a circle around your antennae that matches the size of your bandwidth.
If the circle is small, you need more self-care.
If your circle is in the Goldilocks range where you have enough to take care of yourself but not enough to spare, take a few minutes to be grateful. That alone is a huge 2020 win.
If your circle is wide, spread the love by finding opportunities to be of service.
I have no idea what the days and weeks ahead will bring, but I feel confident we will get through this.
But for now, as we weather this momentous transition, take excellent care of yourself and everyone you know.
Be a source of love and light in this world.
Have faith that good things are just around the corner.
Keep writing, and know that I’m cheering you on.