Simply moving forward with our lives, in these crazy times, seems to be a challenge for many of us. Beside the tragic loss of life, many people are forced to put their lives and indeed, livelihood on hold. The “lucky” ones (yours truly included) can continue to work from home, for the time being. But there are so many others, including independent small business owners, who really fear for the future. In times like these, art is very likely the last thing on anyone’s mind and considering what we’ve been indoctrinated to think, it’s very understandable. What’s the point, right? Why waste our energy on anything other than survival, or healing?
Well, allow me to suggest another way to look at it.
It is not a new revelation, that there is nothing we can do to change the past. If there’s anything this crisis is teaching us – or should – is that we have no clue what’s going to happen in the future. The only time we can “work with” is the absolute present. Every minute we are in, is the only time we can actually do something purposeful.
With that in mind, why not use it (outside of work and family commitments) to heal? I truly believe that a huge contributor to a healthy body, is the soul. You can call it “attitude” or “positive outlook” or “optimism” or anything that works for you. But our mental state has a significant impact on our physical being.
One thing that helps me, as a writer, go through many kinds of crisis is writing. Especially for someone who creates, these days can be very frustrating if not outright destructive to our work. As it is, we’re in a battle with our internal critic and at times freeze – in fear that what we create is not worthy. In these days, it’s even more difficult to bring ourselves to sit down and write something, when the world around us is “going crazy”. In turn, such refrain may play into the procrastinating nature, fuel the negative-Nancy residing in our brain and get us used to this unproductive state.
“But how can you write about fictional people, when there’s a big bad virus out there?”
Again, not much I can personally do to change that, beyond the self-quarantine and other safety practices we’re already following? So, why not use the time – when I have it?
True. I mentioned I was working from home, and working hours are working hours. But guess what? I figured that the commuting time is no longer spent on commuting. It also means that I’m at home – really at home – with the family immediately after “punching out” at “the office”. So much time I didn’t have before! Also, no sporting events, more time. No social appointments, more time. Waking up at the same time, more time. See where I’m going with this? For people like myself, who write in addition to maintaining a full-time job, there is a silver lining in all this madness. More time to write. More time to read.
And so, I find myself at the end of the second week of quarantine, with almost two thirds of the first act of my WIP written. First draft, sure, but hey – there has to be a first, right?
I am a privileged individual, in that I am still employed, still receiving a salary. I know that this is so far from ideal, and actually – completely disastrous to many people. Keeping in mind that we can only work in the present, and we can only do what we can do, I recommend consuming and creating art, as a form of healing, and of keeping our minds strong.
Please be safe, everyone. I always wish people health first, and that doesn’t change now, nor will it change in the future.
Feel free to share – what are you reading? Are you writing? how is that working for you?
Upon completing this post, I want to add – I do realize that writing or not writing is likely a far lesser dilemma than others, that people are facing at this time. This is not meant to play writing up, or other consideration down. Life is, of course, far more complicated than that. This is but one aspect. One which I hope I can share some advice on 🙂