I think it’s safe to say that everyone who might be reading this is aware of the pandemic that has swept the world. The Covid-19 virus has caused chaos, fear, and heartbreak across the globe and, unfortunately, it doesn’t seem to be going anywhere anytime soon. I live in the UK, where currently we are all in lockdown mode, like a lot of other countries. People have been self-isolating for weeks (or at least, they should be!), only going out for essential groceries and some exercise. Schools have shut down until further notice, many people have lost their jobs, and sadly, many have lost loved ones.
Before the lockdown, I was a writer with a somewhat reliable pattern of work. When the boys were at school or once they went to bed, I would have a few hours to myself to focus on my novel. My pattern has been broken and my rate of work has gone waaayyy down since the kids have been at home 24/7. The constant call of ‘mum… mum… mummy… mum,’ still rings in my ears even after they’ve both gone to sleep. I know a lot of parents can relate to how hard it is to get anything done in this situation.
However, I’ve come to accept that being a writer isn’t always about writing. It’s also about inspiration, learning about random stuff and exposing your mind to new things. What I’m trying to say is, for the first time since I’ve started writing my novel, I no longer feel guilty about sitting on my sofa and watching Netflix. Whether I’m bingeing on Love is Blind (which is the kind of crap I would usually NEVER watch), rewatching movies I’ve watched 10 times before, or enjoying kids shows with the boys, I’ve realized that there’s always something to take from it; good or bad. Seeing what makes for a good character arc or a bad plot, hearing wonderful dialogue and watching the actions and emotions and figuring out a way to describe them on paper, are all essential to being a writer. Watching or reading genres that aren’t often my go-to has opened my eyes to different types of characters and stories, which can be useful in giving my characters an edge and making my own story more unpredictable.
If there are any writers out there who are struggling to get any actual words down on paper during these trying times, don’t think you’re failing as a writer. I put that pressure on myself for years and it doesn’t help. Learning, developing, experiencing, and thinking of ways to continue or improve your WIP are just as important as the writing part.
~ On a side note, I hope you are all taking care of yourselves, and staying home to protect all our loved ones. ~