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He had committed suicide before I returned the book to him.

I had only heard about it three days later through a notice by colleagues on Facebook, and took the book from the shelf that same afternoon.

I cradled it in my hands as if it still held some tiny bit of the life that had been snuffed out and opened it onto the first page where his name and a date stood written.

It wasn’t the only evidence left of his existence, of course — he was forever etched on the hearts of those who loved him. But I…

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Although my previous writing routine had worked for some time, I found myself — partly because of the lockdown that started in March — having to restructure my writing routine. I also used this time to consolidate the projects I’m working on and decide which ones to give my current attention to.

A new reality needs a new routine

Going from working in an office one day to working at home was a learning curve that I hadn’t expected.

Although I’d been used to writing at home as well, being at home nonstop without a commute to give me the distinction between work writing and personal writing…

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Last year (how time flies!), I wrote about my battle with burnout and how I needed to take a break from what seemed like everything in my life to get back on track.

I am glad to say that this has happened — pandemic and all. It just took a lot longer than I thought it would.

The implosion

In September 2019 I really imploded and needed to just take some time off to give my body and mind time to recover. However, it’s not like you’re completely burnt out one day and fine again the next day. …

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At first I thought I was just a bit tired; it being the middle of the year already. “You’re fine,” I told myself, seeing a speck of light at the end of the tunnel, and kept my head down and kept working. “You’re fine,” I intoned waking up an hour later than usual, having slept through all my alarms — including those ones that tell me it’s time to leave for work. “I’m fine,” I lie to the bathroom mirror. “It’s not depression rearing its ugly head.” With heavy limbs I brush my teeth, pull my hair into a ponytail…

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I hate shopping. Not so much the act of buying things, but the amount of people at the local shops (which is what you get when you live in an enormous city, I guess). See, I get panic attacks — and, boy, do they like showing up when there are too many people and too much noise. Last Friday, however, when going to the local supermarket, I saw a woman who must be in her seventies, walk down one of the isles. Tinted sunglasses hid half her face. Her crutch was balanced in the shopping trolley, her hands shaking slightly…

Image by Samantha Hurley, Burst

Most days, I write before work, during lunch, and also after work. This is mostly my personal writing, though — fiction, blog posts, and articles.

It’s a lot more difficult to do this than I make it sound, though, and there are some specific changes which I have made to my routine to be able to do this.

My personal situation

First off, I need to tell you about my personal situation, as this greatly influences how I work and how much I work.

I am single without children and, though you may roll your eyes and think that I then have all…

They painted the house brown. Not a nice brown, but a muddy, dull brown that took away any personality it had had before. Before — when we had been living there — it had been a kind of sea green, a comforting colour. A true colour of nature, one of movement and life and sound. Not of slow erosion and memories long forgotten.

The house had been easy to spot, the orange car easier, I guess. Maybe that’s where I got my love of colour from. Maybe it got into my pores through the paint and the smell of the…

Carin Marais

Carin Marais is a copy writer, translator, and fantasy author. She writes about her writing journey, mental health and shares her creative non-fiction.

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