Thursday, March 26, 2020

Journaling Through the COVID-19 Pandemic by Laurie Wood

We here in North America are into week two of what I’m going to call the “awareness” of the global pandemic of COVID-19. We’ve become “aware” of the need for social distancing, self-isolation, handwashing, what businesses are considered “essential”, and who’s getting laid off and who can work from home.

The rest of the world figured it out in January and February, but Canada and the US managed to keep our rose-coloured glasses on till the week of March 9th. That was the week my husband, who’s a Major in the Canadian Armed Forces (Air Force) started getting serious dispatches about how our military was about to cope with the pandemic reaching our shores. And on Friday, March 13th, around lunch time, I went grocery shopping and decided I’d “stock up” on some essentials before there was a run on them.

Well, the joke was on me because the shelves were already half bare. There was no toilet paper to be had, Kleenex and paper towels were nearly gone, and the meat department looked like the night stock boys hadn’t finished their shift. I managed to score the last two packages of chicken drumsticks. I stared at my “essentials” list and realized that people who were better organized, more up on the news, had already stripped the shelves of hand sanitizer, Lysol wipes and spray, toilet bowl cleaner (apparently Winnipeggers really care about having clean toilets), and dishwasher detergent.

That was the beginning of my family’s “work-at-home-self-isolation”. Our adult children have Down Syndrome and we kept them home during Week One even though their program was still open. My husband was ordered to work from home. My writing routine of peace and quiet was immediately disrupted with three other adults home all day, every day.

The above paragraphs are from a letter I sent to a far-away friend. And then I got the idea to keep a specific journal. Journaling during this pandemic is an excellent idea if you’re a writer. Your experiences as a family, or as a single person, stuck at home and dealing with the social isolation and supply shortages, are crucial to your family history. Recording your thoughts and the events of your days will be special to your children who’re dealing with being out of school, their anxieties, and new experiences as they Facetime with friends from their homes.

Here’s some ways to record or journal your way through this pandemic:

1.      Bullet Journal: keep lists of the TV shows your binge on Netflix, the movies you watch with your kids, the science projects & activities you do with them. Keep a list of how many books you read/review. Keep a list of any new hobbies you learn. New podcasts, webinars, online courses you take. The trivia of your days are the details future generations will cherish.

2.      Keep a video log of your children each day. Have them say something they did that was fun during the day, something new they learned, something they wish was different, something they look forward to when this is all over. Take videos of them being active outside when the weather is good. 

3.      Journal in long-hand for the “bigger” experiences…how your perspective has changed. What is more important to you now than it was a month ago? What is better? What are you grateful for in this time of uncertainty? How is God more real to you now?

We bring hope to readers with our stories. We write to entertain people. We write to record human experience and right now, the global pandemic is bringing the world together in a way it hasn’t experienced since 1918 with the Spanish Flu. Those days are with us again.

Let’s make sure that the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic is recorded with words that speak of our generosity, compassion, bravery, love, and the bright light of the human spirit. Let’s rest in Jesus’ assurance that “in this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 15:33 He will never leave us or forsake us.

It’s not to late to start that new journal. Grab a new notebook, or binder paper, or open up a new Document on your laptop. Have you thought about doing this?  Please share your experiences in the comments. 

 BOOK LINK: Amazon

Northern Deception
(Heroes of the Tundra Book 1)

Reunions can be deadly.

After a savage attack in university, Kira Summers fled to the safety of northern Canada and her work as a polar bear scientist. But when her whistleblower brother dies in a mysterious car crash, she must return home to bury him and pack his belongings. Unaware she’s carrying explosive evidence someone’s willing to kill for, she has no choice but to rely on the one person she never thought she’d see again.

Lukas Tanner, a widowed single father of a special needs toddler, moved to Churchill five years ago. As the proud owner of Guiding Star Enterprises, a wilderness tour company, he and his daughter lead a simple life. But when Kira comes crashing back into his world, he realizes God has other plans. Now, Lukas and Kira must confront a merciless killer as their past and present collide in a deadly race—a race they must win if they have any hope of a future together.

Laurie Wood is a military wife who’s lived across Canada and visited six of its ten provinces. She and her husband have raised two wonderful children with Down Syndrome to adulthood, and their son and daughter are a wonderful blessing to their lives. Over the years, Laurie’s books have finaled in prestigious contests such as the Daphne du Maurier (twice), the TARA, the Jasmine, and the Genesis. Her family lives in central Canada with a menagerie of rescue dogs and cats. If the house were bigger, no doubt they’d have more.



  1. Great post, Laurie. I hadn't thought of journaling, but I've been working on the last novel of a three-part historical series. I have to admit that at times it's easier to go back in time to 1892 than it is to watch the news about about what's happening in 2020. Grateful for faith, family and friends (thankful they're all online in this time of social distancing). I like your suggestions and may journal a bit tonight about how things are unfolding here. Praying for all.

  2. When we're going through something even as extreme as this pandemic, we don't often see the significance or need to record anything about our experiences. But just think how precious those journal pages or videos will be to your grown grandchildren some day! I'm praying we and all of our loved ones survive this and our memories will live on through the fact we took the time to write them down as things occurred. Thanks for sharing, Laura!

  3. Laurie, I hadn't thought of journaling. What a great post! I feel like I'm just surviving day to day. I am so thankful my job lets me work from home. There are so many others who have just been let go. But working from home came with it's own set of issues. My husband is retired and my daughter's job has bumped her down from full time to going in two days a week. I always thought I'd like to work from home, but I'm thinking I need that time away lol. I've been home a week now and I still can't put my fingers on what I need without doing some digging. My home isn't set up like my office. Praying for you and your family, Laurie! My husband goes to Walmart and can't find toilet paper, soap, lysol, Clorox wipes, sanitizer, rice, hamburger helper, garlic bread. He found soap today and it was limited to one. They hand toilet paper out the back doors. He shops for him mom and dad, who are in their 80s. He doesn't want them going out. I haven't been out and don't want to. I walked around the yard today lol. Great post, Laurie!

  4. Hi Laurie, great post. I keep a journal off and on but hadn't thought about journaling through this. I need to! Journaling is a great stress release for me.

    I'm trying to limit the amount of time I allow myself to read about COVID-19. It can be overwhelming!

    1. And by the way, I've read Northern Deception and Northern Hearts. They are both fantastic!

  5. Thank you, ladies, for your encouraging words today! Having my family home with me - while I'm so happy they're safe and healthy - is definitely a game changer in my work habits. :) Our house is small for four adults and we're pretty much on top of each other all the time. My husband is loving his "staycation" as he's choosing to call it. The kiddos, not so much! They're missing their friends at work and day program. However, I've got two sisters who're both on the front lines in health care. One's a doctor in the US and one's a nurse in Canada. We're praying hard that neither of them comes down with the virus. We watch one brief stint of news a day and have cut out watching our nightly news. I think that's mentally healthy!

  6. Laurie, what an excellent suggestion! I journal about other events (grandbaby, etc.) but hadn't thought about keeping notes during this time. Wow! Thanks for sharing this, and I pray you and your dear family will stay healthy.
    Hugs, Patti Jo

  7. I just started a journal yesterday. I had received a writing prompt from Camp NaNoWriMo, and one of the ideas as to sit and write with the text turned to white so you couldn't self-edit at all. I had been thinking about needing to put all the thoughts in my head on paper and just hadn't taken the time. So I started yesterday with 1,644 words. I'll continue every day that I have something new to say or remember something I hadn't mentioned before.


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