Writing the Pandemic

A little over a month ago, I posted a question on one of the writers groups I belong to on Linked-In, and no one had anything at all to say about it. I was surprised and disappointed. I had hoped that my question would provoke a lively conversation. Instead, my question was greeted with silence. The question was: How has everything surrounding Covid 19, and the stay at home orders affected your writing? Have your ideas concerning what you want to write about changed? Have the ways you want to express yourself in your writing changed?

Whether or not we believe that the pandemic is real, it has drastically changed our lives, and the economy has gone into a tailspin that may take years to bring back into balance.

Not being able to communicate with many of our friends in person has also deprived us of a very real need; the ability to communicate our ideas in an uncensored environment. We know that e-mails, text messages and cell phone calls can all be monitored by our government, though how much they pay attention to every word we say is anyone’s guess.

When the stay at home rules were first announced in March and April, I thought that I would have unlimited time to create, both in terms of my writing as well as other projects that have been sitting on my shelves, waiting for that nebulous time in the future when I really would have the energy to do something with them.

But, instead of that, I have been going through a time marked not so much by full out depression, as by a sense of immense sadness. Looking at the way things are right now, it does not appear that we ever will go back to the lives we had been taking for granted as normal.

People who were concerned before over their children spending too much time on their computers, are now facing the specter of their children not having any other way to communicate with the outside world except through their computerized devices. All of us are having to deal with this phenomena to one extent or another. I had tried to interest some of my friends in writing letters to each other, sent the old fashioned way through the post office. Letters can be very personal, and they are at least, as far as I know, still private. Even so, very few of us were ever good letter writers, and most of us lost that habit when laptop computers with instant email, entered our homes.

The situation for all of us could get worse. It could get much worse, until we figure out what to do about it, and how we will stand for what we believe is right, no matter what the majority of people say about it.

As writers, we are the story tellers and perhaps even the shamans of our society. Through our stories we can point out what is going on, and I suspect that what we need to say, and how we need to say it will change in order to fit the times in which we live, so that we speak to the needs of the people who will read our work.

I am calling out to you to stay in touch with each other, compare notes, build a viable community of writers who are not afraid to speak and write their truth.

The situation we are in will not last. Stasis is not the way of the world. Change always comes in one way or another, and we are living in very interesting times. It will get better, but before then, we may pass through a time that is worse than anything we have experienced before. Whether we like it or not, the world is at war, and few of us want to consider that we may all be the enemy. We need to change gears in our writing, and learn how to speak to the needs of our readers’ souls, and this may be quite a bit different from the sort of writing we have been doing. Please tell me your thoughts on this.

2 thoughts on “Writing the Pandemic”

  1. I’m sorry you got silence on LinkedIn. I’ve been spending more time on Twitter, where I follow a number of literary agents I have queried or plan to query. I don’t have much of a following there. Most of my tweets are just reactions to threads other people started.
    I have been writing from home for over 20 years. The biggest change it has brought to my life is: 1) My husband and son work from home now, so I end up cooking more. 2) I miss social gatherings. And 3) I’m paranoid about going to the store or doctor visits. The pandemic has not affected my novel. It was done before the pandemic started.
    I don’t like leaving my email address, especially when the purpose of this site is not clear. That may be one reason you got silence.

    1. Thank you for your very thoughtful comment. Then I know that at least a few people are reading these articles.

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