Greetings and Salutations! Like most of you, I’m sheltering-in-place with my family in the San Francisco Bay Area. I’m a teacher, so I’m working with my students online (I teach Independent Study, so this isn’t a huge difference) and I’m supporting my own children, 14 and 18, with their schooling. My husband, who is not a fan of working from home, has set up an office in the living room and we’re all trying to give him space. Tempers can get short, moods can get low, but we’re quite fortunate.
You’ll notice I haven’t even gotten to the writing part of my life. That’s because now, like always, writing frequently takes a backseat to other pressing issues. But in this case, I’ve been on a deadline with two very different stories due, and for the first week I thought I’d finally met my match. Words weren’t coming. I switched WIPs and struggled to get more than a few hundred words a day. I was worried I might not meet my goals and that added stress to an already intense situation.
Then, magic happened. I stumbled across a Facebook Live broadcast from a singer I admire, Shim Moore, formerly of the Australian band Sick Puppies. Shim was doing what he calls the Lockdown Sessions where he writes songs with fans and shares a bit about the projects he’s been involved with and what he’s up to. It just so happened that one of the projects I’ve been working on is about a music producer and his former bandmate who are forced to work together again after there’s been bad blood. I’ve always wanted to get a sneak peek into the process musicians go through when writing new music. I’ve watched countless documentaries on everyone from the Doors to Metallica to Foo Fighters and poured over their methods of madness and mayhem in the studio. Hearing Shim’s insights about making music have made this an incredible learning experience.
Anyway, so Shim is doing the Lockdown Sessions on his Facebook page a couple times a week. We’ve written three songs as a group, all different styles, and I’ve learned a lot and had a blast, but the best part about it? Having the sessions to look forward to in the afternoon have kept me motivated, given me some structure. Shim gets up at the crack of dawn his time in order to catch his American fans in the afternoon. Being a part of something positive—Shim is fundraising for Music for Masks, to provide masks to essential workers—meant the world to me at a time where I’m feeling quite helpless. My family is safe, we have all we need, but it’s...weird.
Joining Shim and the others had another benefit. My words started to flow again and I was able to finish one of my projects. I’m hoping the second one will come along over the next week. I think stretching my brain in a different way and trying something new, kickstarted my writing and helped me get out of my slump. I’d also been working on several story ideas for a 300-word Flash Fiction piece to submit to the Queer Sci Fi contest and I could not for the life of me come up with something that fit the theme of “innovation.” How ironic. I couldn’t be innovative. But lo and behold, I wrote a damn story and it was pretty damn funny!
Sometimes we are faced with situations we have no clue how to deal with. Sometimes the things we normally turn to in order to soothe our souls don’t work like they usually do. Sometimes it just takes a little nudge, a little something different, in order to find the inspiration you need, even during a pandemic. I hope you, too, have been able to find what you need to be inspired, or maybe what you need to soothe your soul.
If you’d like to get in on some songwriting, check out Shim’s Facebook Page or sign up for the Hollywood Rebellion for more information. If you need inspiration, reach out to others and perhaps you’ll find something to give you the nudge you need! In the meantime, I’ll be over here prepping to promote my upcoming story “Breaking Bread” in the Dark Divinations Anthology, out May 1st. I’ll also be working on revisions for the next Magic and Mayhem Universe book, Gator Me Twice, out June 22nd, AND I’ll be readying my story “I Want, More” for the Love Is All Anthology Volume 3, which will be out in June as well! You can get all the updates by subscribing to my newsletter-y thingie at www.rlmerrillauthor.com.
Thanks for stopping by and stay tuned for more Rock ‘n’ Romance…
More About R.L.
R.L. Merrill brings you quirky and relatable characters and romance full of Hope, Love, and Rock 'n' Roll. Whether she’s writing about contemporary issues that affect us all or diving deep into the paranormal and supernatural to give readers a shiver, she loves creating compelling stories that will stay with readers long after. Ro spends every spare moment improving her craft and striving to find that perfect balance between real life and happily ever after. Winner of the 2019 Kathryn Hayes “When Sparks Fly” Best Contemporary award for Hurricane Reese, she writes LGBTQ romances for Dreamspinner Press, contributes paranormal hilarity to Robyn Peterman’s Magic and Mayhem Universe, and works on various other projects that tickle her fancy or benefit a worthy cause. You can find her lurking on social media, where she loves connecting with readers, educating America’s youth, raising two brilliant teenagers, trying desperately to get that back piece finished in the tattoo chair, or headbanging at a rock show near her home in the San Francisco Bay Area. Stay Tuned for more Rock 'n' Romance.