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  • Writer's pictureKatherine Ladny Mitchell

The Often-Unpleasant Process of Pivoting

Updated: Jun 25, 2020

In the wake of COVID19, most people have had to undergo the often-unpleasant process of pivoting. Some have faced serious pivots from normality in the loss of loved ones, their own health, or their jobs. Our hearts go out to them. Many have had to pivot from working efficiently in an office to working from a spare guest room or basement corner. Others have had to pivot from sending their children off to school to teaching them at home. Social gatherings and worship meetings have moved to two-dimensional screens. And the virus has pretty much upset everyone’s summer plans.

Change is never comfortable.

And I hope that most of these changes will not last forever.

But at the same time, I’ve been encouraged to see how some people have pivoted positively in these trying times. With all the empty calendar squares cleared of social obligations, many people have slowed down to enjoy their immediate family members and neighbors. Some have cultivated a greater appreciation for the outdoors as most indoor entertainment options have temporarily closed. I even heard of a local Chattanooga cardboard manufacturer switch from making food containers (like those sold at sporting events) to making disposable face shields for those working in health professions.

Sometimes writers need to pivot as well. As publishing companies refine their visions for good business practices moving forward, there’s been a (I hope temporary) pause in the acceptance of new manuscripts. I’m grateful for my agent assessing the publishing climate on a regular basis to give my Kathy & Liz Sister Investigators mystery series the best possible chance at publication.

But in the meantime, I’ve pivoted from the murder mystery genre to indulge in a bit of sci-fi.

There’s a story on my heart that I’ve been transferring to the page these last several months (hence, the lack of blog posts). And ironically, now that we’re all more aware of the brevity of life as a society, I think this story could be timely. Here’s a brief teaser:

Have you ever seen the desert after rain? Plants hurriedly bloom and go through their life cycles at an accelerated rate. Scientists call these plants ephemerals.

In my story, Ephemeral, a group of grad students unknowingly lands on an ephemeral planet for what is supposed to be a sixty-day interstellar internship. But they soon discover that for every day they spend on this planet, they age one year. And the star craft isn’t scheduled to pick them up till the end of the summer -- when they will have aged sixty years! Complicating matters, Earth has at this point instituted a world-wide age limit of fifty to avoid the cost and suffering of aging. How will these students respond? How would you?

Looking forward to going where this new story takes me as I still wait for someone to acquire my mystery series. Hopefully, I’ll have more news soon as I continue to learn how to pivot gracefully.


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