Busy Then and Now 

By Linda O. Johnston

I’m busy.  I’m always busy. But busy before the pandemic began is a lot different from busy now.

Is that true for you, too?

 I’ve been writing forever, and I’m fortunate to be traditionally published a lot. That means I generally have faced a lot of upcoming deadlines. That hasn’t changed, although at the moment there seem to be more than usual.

But my busy-ness before was enhanced a lot by get-togethers with other writers at meetings of local chapters of Romance Writers of America, Sisters in Crime and Mystery Writers of America, and sometimes more.  Then there were all the conferences I attended, which often included the Romance Writers of America National Conference, held annually in different locations. Then there were Malice Domestic, Left Coast Crime, Mystery Writers of America, and other mystery-related conferences. I attended at least one a year.  And in addition, there were annual conferences locally, such as the California Crime Writers Conference.

And now?  Well, some get-togethers are available virtually. I’ve attended some chapter meetings that way, but not annual conferences.  I know Malice Domestic will be virtual this year and I keep receiving emails about it—but so far I haven’t decided to go.

That’s all certainly different from before.  But things seem to be improving now, as far as the ability of people to meet in person, though in smaller groups, and the necessity of being vaccinated, and wearing masks, although that seems to be changing at least to some extent and in some locations.

So will I go back to the old ways as things open up again?  I don’t know yet. Tempting, yes, but I want to feel more secure that I won’t get sick or bring the virus home to others. And maybe I’m getting into bad, more solitary habits this way.

I’ve been delighted, though, to meet some of my fellow Writers in Residence for our usual—formerly—monthly lunch recently!

And you? Do you attend conferences now, virtually or in person? Writing events? Reading events?

Image by TaniaRose from Pixabay

10 thoughts on “Busy Then and Now ”

  1. Linda, thank you for expressing what most of us have been thinking for many months. The question of Zooming has been easy or me to answer as I am a people-to-people person and why I always looked forward to lunch at Lancer’s. I was not one for long telephone talks to replace being with someone but that has, of necessity, changed and I am far more tolerant of lengthy conversation through the wires than before. What does that signify? I think we’ve all learned to move with the times, as you point out, Linda, and it is up to each of us to decide which path to take. If it ain’t enjoyable, no sense in beating it to death. Sorry, Malice, see you in 2022.


    1. I’m not one to talk on the phone a lot, even now, except with family. Emails and text messages and I get along better. Even so, I’m always happy to connect in whatever way with people, and in fact I do have a Zoom meeting with some former associates I’m looking forward to later today.


  2. Before the pandemic I attended three in-person writers groups, plus one online. Not surprisingly the online group continued without a hitch, but only one in-person group survived the winter. We’re talking about hybridizing the meetings, allowing anyone willing and able to attend in person and those who can’t to participate via Zoom. Hubby’s conferences are doing that as well – I expect the trend to continue.


    1. Glad at least a couple of your groups have survived, and that you’ll potentially have a choice about meeting in person. Getting together in whatever way is certainly better than not getting together at all!


  3. I have attended a couple of writers’ webinars, but not sure if it’s something I want to continue. I do miss the in-person writers’ conferences – bumping into old friends from all over the world, which was fun. Zoom has given us the opportunity to continue international friendships and connections. But it’s not the same as in-person. But it’s given us the chance to re-think the use of our time and – as Jill says – is it fun?
    Although our recent lunch at Lancers was fun indeed! Coffee shop food and being waited on: what an adventure! Such a good topic, Linda. Thanks


    1. Just got off my Zoom conference of the day with former associates from when I was practicing law. I just wish I knew how to do all the nuances of Zoom! And you’re right, Rosemary. At least this way we can keep up connections. I definitely enjoyed our in-person lunch at Lancers even better, though.


  4. So impressed, Linda, on several fronts! You are such a prolific (and good!) writer, and now I know you can also “zoom”! Admittedly living in no man’s land means slowish internet, but I’m not at all comfortable with zooming(if that’s a word.) In person, or not at all fits me best. One day I’ll get to a luncheon again! Thought provoking post…


    1. Thanks! I have to admit that my Zooming capabilities are limited, but at least I can join and participate in meetings. Hope to see you again soon!


  5. Things will get back to some kind of normal, but it might be slightly different from what we used to call normal. I do miss the get-togethers, but we have had a few lunches that made me feel like normal was just around the corner. I did write a new book during the past year. I guess I had time on my hands. After one more edit I will send it out into the world. But here’s hoping we start seeing “normal” peering its head around the corner.


  6. Looking forward to your new book! And I guess we’ll get used to the new normal, whatever it might be.


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