Writing During Crisis

It’s alright to feel uninspired.

We’ve all heard it or seen it, likely many dozen times, in the last two months. Something something “Shakespeare wrote ‘King Lear’ during the Black Plague” or other sentiments along those lines. The point is that hey, if you have all this extra time because you’re not commuting or even aren’t working or whatever your situation is that you should use it as time to finish that passion project you’ve had sitting around for a while.

That might sound motivational and inspiring, that we can all use the time available to us to create a kind of masterpiece. And I don’t question the intent of those who share it.

It can come off as a crushing kind of pressure, though. Especially during periods like this where there is so much going on, so much to process and so much that we are having to create new paradigms for.

A couple days ago I finally put “The End” on a story I’d been working on and writing since August 2017. It seems like this is the kind of thing that should have been ticked off my To Do List almost immediately after stay-at-home orders were issued, especially given other things that were going on at the time.

That wasn’t the case.

It wasn’t that I was having problems cracking the rest of the story. I knew where I needed the characters to be at the end of things and how they needed to get from where I’d left off to that endpoint.

The issue was that I was just too difficult to put the words necessary to keep telling the story in order. And a good chunk of that was because [gestures broadly at the world around me].

For as difficult a process as writing often is, right now it seems particularly maddening and fraught with roadblocks. It requires the writer to disappear completely into the world they’re creating for some period of time. In many ways it requires the weight of the world to be lifted for a short while so that the fullness of what’s being created can be taken on and dealt with.

All of that is hard to do with so much happening at all hours of the day. And that’s alright.

Let yourself off the hook if you haven’t made progress on your novel, screenplay, comic or other project. Don’t sweat it if you’re not able to concentrate on your blog posts, email newsletters or other regular work.

You’ll get back to all of that, God-willing. For right now, though, there are so many other things demanding all of our attention, so it’s understandable that creating takes a back seat as we focus on a never ending string of updates and developments.

If you can, great. If you can’t, focus on what you *can* do, even if that’s just making it through the day intact.