On not writing during isolation



So I'm not really writing right now.

It feels weird to put it down in stark, black letters to publish on the internet, when so much of the online presence of an author these days is about being cheerful and productive and taking pictures of cute animals. But there it is. I am finding it really hard to concentrate on writing my book.

It's not the book, because I love the book that I'm writing.

Although I am writing a section in which one of the characters is recovering in hospital from a mustard gas attack in the trenches of France, and he's having severe respiratory distress, plus it's 1917 and in a year's time the Spanish Influenza is going to hit my characters' lives... but no, it's really not the book. 

It's me.

I can't concentrate.

For a while there, I couldn't even concentrate on reading. I'd read half a chapter-- no matter how short the chapters of the book were-- and then I'd find myself once again with my phone in my hand and I'd be scrolling, scrolling, scrolling through the news. Or I'd be messaging friends and family who really aren't that far away, but feel like they are on another planet.

One week, I had so many Zoom meetings with friends that I actually started to feel over-socialised and wanted to retreat into watching Sanditon on DVD, which was a good sign, but it still wasn't reading.

And I realised something... it's okay to not want to do those things right now.

I know I'm not the only one feeling this way. I've spoken to many writers who have experienced this rough patch, this lack of motivation, these heightened levels of anxiety. So I know that I'll feel more like myself soon.  I'm already starting to feel more like myself. I'm writing a blog post-- so far, so good-- although it is the second time I've attempted to write this.

I'm quite sick of hearing people say 'It's a weird time' right now, but it is a weird time.

So allow yourself to feel a bit weird, and trust that in time, things will settle once again.

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