Resources for Troubling Times: What Editors Need to Know During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Special Post, April 2020

By Kristin Stein, Northwest Editors Guild Blog Coordinator

We’ll update this post as more information becomes available.

If you find yourself unsettled these days, you aren’t alone. Though editors often work from home, many of us are new to being 100% remote. The struggles that come from working at home are amplified with isolation and loss of routine due to stay-at-home orders, making focus and motivation difficult throughout the day.

Editor and Portland-based board member Laura Whittemore shared on the Guild’s member-only listserv an infographic that illustrates how to stay focused when working from home. A veteran of telecommuting, Laura shared her own tips, stating, “Although I have worked from home for several years, I am finding that the outside pressures of news and the world in general have definitely altered my concentration. I play music from the Focus tab on Spotify, take breaks outside to count while I breathe fresh air and listen to birds, and try to stay hydrated. And if all else fails, I take a restorative nap!”

On the other side, millions of Americans are fearing for their jobs, with 10 million filing for unemployment in just two weeks and 76% of freelancers reporting lost work due to the coronavirus. It can be hard to feel safe in the economy right now, but some relief packages recently signed into law have been directed to help with aid for self-employed workers.

The Families First Coronavirus Response Act allows sick leave for U.S. freelance workers, covering 100% of their sick leave, and 67% equivalent for taking care of sick family members or caring for children following school closings. Be sure to keep detailed records for your taxes and talk to your tax professional to be sure you get the most out of the bill.

The Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (CARES) Act was enacted to provide emergency relief for American individuals, families, and businesses affected by the pandemic. Part of a $2 trillion stimulus bill, it’s intended to distribute aid quickly and broadly. The Freelancer Co-op recently hosted a webinar to break down what this means to freelancers, the self-employed, and small businesses.

The IRS has also delayed federal tax filing until July 15 to help mitigate the burden of expenses during the crisis. You do not need to do any extra steps to file the extension.

Photo by randy kun from FreeImages.

While this is going on, it’s important to take breaks from the endless scroll of news articles and focus on things that bring you joy. With events shut down globally, many companies have turned to webhosting to provide distraction and entertainment for the masses in isolation. Here are a few links to keep your mind off things:

  • Shakespeare’s Globe Theatre is streaming performances for free in April.
  • Gyms are closed, but many local fitness studios are bringing classes online. In my corner of Oregon, Elk Rock Yoga is offering unlimited virtual yoga for $49. YouTube is also a wealth of workout videos, and Yoga with Adriene has a 30-day yoga practice that I’ve been slowly working through.
  • I’ve also been listening to lots of podcasts; they help provide background sound and I love learning new and interesting topics. Lately, I’ve been listening to: Throughline, a history podcast from NPR; Poetry Unbound; and Preheated, a baking podcast that gives advice and recipes along with friendly conversation. I’ve also been watching Smarthistory, a delightfully soothing YouTube channel where scholars discuss paintings in art museums.

While you’re keeping yourself safe and healthy, be sure to check out the Guild’s calendar and listserv for upcoming virtual events and updates.

Do you have any suggestions of podcasts, recipes, or other ways for your fellow editors to stay safe and sane during this pandemic? Share them with us on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook! If we get enough new suggestions, we might make a second resource post or a resource page.

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Kristin Stein

Kristin is a freelance writer and editor based in Milwaukie, Oregon. Her love of words began very young and started with her writing ghost stories on her mom's old typewriter. To this day she breathes, edits, and writes anything horror, mystery, or thriller and especially loves a good academic paper on the gothic.

As well as being the Blog Coordinator for the Guild, in her spare time Kristin also writes poetry, collects antiques, grows rare plants, and thinks about Rebecca by Daphne du Maurier. You can find her on Linkedin or at DigEdits.