I was horrified, and spent much of my day sending prayers and good thoughts to all those affected–and I was riveted to the news.
Some people turn off the TV and internet in such situations. Not me–I'll have the TV on and be sitting in front of it with my computer, checking both. Following the news and gathering information is how I process awful events.
(I'm pretty sure I got this from my Dad–he was always the first one out the door to see what was going on when a siren sounded and he was known to take his daughters to observe big news events like fires, several of which I remember vividly to this day.)
But sitting in front of the television does not get the writing done. And even when I turned it off and repaired to my office, it was challenging to turn off the thoughts about what was happening. Or stop myself from looking up the latest updates on the interwebs.
What's a writer to do?
I have a few ideas:
1. Know thyself. Are you, like me, someone who needs to know what is going on? Or do you thrive when you are oblivious? If the latter, turn things off. Period. If the former, try setting time limits–15 minutes of browsing the news and then its off to work for an hour.
2. Ground yourself. Nothing changes your demeanor–emotional and physical–by taking a few deep breaths. You can do this anytime, anywhere throughout the day. (The trick, of course, is remembering to do it.) When you get upset, breathe deeply and return to work.
3. Feel what you're feeling. In our rush to make ourselves feel better (and get back to work) we sometimes suppress our true feelings. This might make us feel better for awhile, but, alas, those feelings have a tendency to pop up all over again if we don't deal with them.
4. Inhale love and light. This is a variant of #2. With your feet flat on the ground, visualize rays of golden light coming in through your feet up to your heart. Now imagine golden rays of light coming in through your crown chakra and meeting in your heart. You can then use this to nourish yourself in a time of need or send loves to others who are in distress. (I'm not sure where this came from originally, but I got it from Anne Presuel.)
5. Connect with others. Yeah, I know. You're supposed to be writing. But are you getting any writing done while you sit there and fret? I think not. You might do better to take a bit of time to call or email a friend, or get on social media, and process some of your feelings.
I've written on this before, because it's an issue that constantly pops up. Other posts I've done on this topic:
Do you have a favorite way to deal with distraction? You'd be helping all of us out if you shared it in the comments.
Photo by Rennett Stowe.