How Has Social Distancing and Solitude Affected Your Writing?

“’I wish it need not have happened in my time,’ said Frodo. ‘So do I,’ said Gandalf, ‘and so do all who live to see such times. But that is not for them to decide. All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.’”
—J.R.R. Tolkein

I haven’t posted here since June. Truthfully, I haven’t felt motivated to write, and I’m not alone. I’ve heard from many writer friends that they just don’t feel like writing or doing much else. The Coronavirus, politics, civil unrest, all of it has our brains filled to capacity leaving little room for creativity.

One of my clients, an editor at a publishing company, told me that next week, September 8, her team will finally be in the office together after almost six months. They’ve been combining working from home with skeleton staff onsite. I’m sure being together will be welcome, but different. Social distancing, hand sanitizer, masks . . .

Everything is different now. We’ve had to change how we navigate the world and how we interact.

When the pandemic began, as a freelancer working from home I thought not much would change. Solitude and some social distancing were my normal. But after a month or so, I started longing for mornings at the coffee shop, sipping a white chocolate raspberry latte, watching people come and go and listening to the chatter around me. I missed breaking from my work-in-progress to run errands midday and taking my laptop to the lake, writing there, watching the dog walkers and children playing in the park. Summer evenings were eerily quiet without distant sounds from local festivals and concerts in the park.

I’ve realized how much the world around me has a positive effect on my writing. All of the little normal things feed my creativity. A conversation overheard in the coffee shop, a new product on a store shelf, a game children play on the beach, sights, sounds—all of them wove their way into my writing without me even being aware. Now I struggle to write what is happy and bright. I find myself searching for ideas in my imagination or from my memories.

The controversial French author, Collette, wrote: “There are days when solitude is a heady wine that intoxicates you with freedom, others when it is a bitter tonic, and still others when it is a poison that makes you beat your head against the wall.” 

How has solitude affected your writing?
I hope you will comment.

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4 Comments

Filed under CoVid-19, Creativity, Observation, Uncategorized

4 responses to “How Has Social Distancing and Solitude Affected Your Writing?

  1. While I have done some writing, not nearly as much as I theoretically could have! Either distracted or lazy, wanting to do brainless things. Similar for reading. I have done some, but not near as much as I could have!

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  2. It’s been awful. I was supposed to get my third novel out, but when the older kids had to do school online and my hubby had to work at home 2 weeks on, 2 weeks off and no library or coffee shop was open and quiet, my focus, drive and motivation died. I had nowhere to go to be alone, except in the car in a parking lot. I haven’t done any writing, not even journaling. There was too much information constantly changing, schedules changing for my family, homeschooling still to do and a major plot problem with the book. I did read a lot before we moved 2 weeks ago, which also took energy and focus. I’m hoping by January to get settled enough and the holidays over to maybe pick it up again. I’ve been getting author newsletters and have no idea how they are able to do it. I just can’t.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for the comment, Michelle. I’m also looking forward to days with more energy and focus. I just finished three lengthy summer writing projects that were all due on Sept 1. I don’t know how, but I managed to get them all done on time.

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