It took me a while to come up with a title for this post. Things like “That Time I wrote a Book in a Week” and “How a Printable Turned into a Book” and “How Will You Remember This Time?” all sounded good. None of those titles quite fit what I wanted to convey.

This is the story of My Pandemic Time Capsule, A Guided Journal. It’s a quick one, as you may have gathered by the alternate titles, and I wanted to share it still. I want this to be a testimony to the way that this time has been different for everyone and even within one person’s life.

For a week or so I had seen a printable floating around the internet for kids to fill out and look back on later in life. It was certainly for younger children as it included drawing your feelings and listing out your favorite color and food. I wanted something for adults to be able to have as well. I mean, how cool would it be to have a record of someone from their time living through the Spanish Influenza 100 years ago? After a quick search and finding nothing except for a short article with ten questions, I set out to create my own time capsule for anyone old enough to write on their own.

I envisioned this to be a blog post and a printable. Short and simple. As the questions kept coming to my mind and as I brainstormed with a few people in different walks of life it morphed into an actual book to be printed. That all happened in one day!

What was the process like?
1. I kept a spreadsheet of all the questions and added to them as they came to me or were suggested. These questions are meant for anyone who can write on their own. The questions put themselves into categories that were simple and helpful. For example, it is easier to fill in a lot of questions with basic information such as “Where were you when you first heard about the virus?” and “Who are you sheltering in place with?” than it is to answer questions like “What do you miss most right now?” and “What is helping you to cope?” So I put each question in one of four categories.
Basic Information: Simple questions about basic information about the pandemic and you.
Activities: What kinds of things have you been doing?
Community: Anything to do with the community around you.
Thoughts and Feelings: You may spend a little more time on these as you think about your own thoughts and feelings surrounding your life during the pandemic.

2. Groups of people came to mind and questions specific for them were added to the list. Multiple groups of people are directly affected by this pandemic. I wanted to give them a set of questions that were more directed to their stories. No matter the circumstance before, life has changed. Maybe it was a big change for you, maybe it was a little change. The questions in these sections provide an outlet for you to write out, maybe process a little, and look back on in years to come.
The Parent: Whether your kids are home for the first time or now staying home more than normal, family life has changed.
The Employee: Whether you are an essential worker or someone who has been furloughed or somewhere in between, work spaces have changed.
The Business Owner: Whether you had to shut down or amp up, business life has changed.
The Student: Whether you were homeschooled or in a building, school life has changed.

3. I didn’t have the time or energy or ability to print and ship these books on my own so while I was coming up with questions, I was working through the self-publishing process with Kindle Direct Publishing. Thankfully there is a direct process with lots of guidance (especially when you’ve had a friend that has done the process before!) to get the book out to the people.

A few more days, several dozen more questions, and a lot of work later the book was ready to be released. What had started with a simple printable idea had turned into a guided journal that people could actually write in and keep for when we finally get to look back.

To get your own copy, just click here.

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