This morning, I said to my resident musician, “Other than the pandemic, the fact your car is up on blocks until it’s repaired, and the malfunction of our home heating system, how are you?” I was reminded of the hackneyed phrase that made the rounds some years ago, “Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln . . ..”
My question for other writers is one I ask myself, “Other than the impact the pandemic has had on you, and the inevitable disruption of your usual pursuits, are you writing?” I admit, I haven’t been. The most I’ve accomplished the last year was to prepare two manuscripts for submission. I am sitting on one trying to decide what to do with it. I finally contacted two publishers on the other (a British mystery). One rejection; one still pending.
I’ve coped with the stress by reading–reading a lot, as it turns out. On the plus side, all those books have improved my at-home Jeopardy score. I now know more trivia than every before. Can I use that in my writing? Maybe. Since March of 2020, I’ve also developed a different attitude toward my writing–more forgiving, more introspective, and, surprisingly, more playful. More of a “What the hell, why not?” attitude.
Many of us, in times of difficulty, reorder our priorities, put aside petty concerns and concentrate on what really matters to us. Certainly, loved one and friends take a larger role in our awareness, as does the general health of our community.
It hasn’t been just the pandemic that has made many of us examine our values, our opinions, and our resiliency. It has, undoubtedly, been a very tough year in nearly every sector of our society. So, it’s no wonder writing is not foremost on many author’s minds. While some people have found solace in Journaling, tackled the novel they always wanted to write, or expressed themselves through poetry, others are too distracted or disheartened to write much of anything.
But is a writing hiatus a bad thing? I initially thought so, beating myself up over not being motivated to make more than a sporadic effort, but then I began to see it wasn’t all negative. If you’ve slacked off on your writing, had a problem with sustaining a creative thought, then take heart. You may have also opened yourself up to new insights, new compassion, and new understanding of the human psyche; all of which will only enhance the words you commit to paper in the future.
Have you been writing? More? Less? Different? I’d love to hear from you.