We are ten weeks into lockdown here in Manhattan.
It's been tough. Of course it's tough for everyone - no matter what each persons own unique circumstances are - but I can only speak from my own perspective. And NYC in lockdown, has been tough.
One of my greatest challenges is how to find the space - both physical and emotional - to write. The physical piece is challenging as we simply do not have enough rooms for five big human beings to work from home. The kids each need a private space for cyber schooling, husband needs a private space for all the zillions of zoom meetings he does each day, and Manhattan apartments aren't big, so that leaves me... the bathroom. And not the clean 'girl' bathroom because that one is an en-suite which means it's disturbing to daughter, as the door is too thin, but rather, I work in the 'boys' bathroom - and yes we do have 'girls bathroom' and 'boys bathroom' in our residence because boys are smelly and they sprinkle.
It apparently makes for a lot of humor when I'm on zoom calls.
Then, there's the emotional space.
For the first month or so, I was in editing mode and I found that the proof reading, and line-editing practice of working through a manuscript was actually quite cathartic in helping me focus. Especially on days when the fear and stress of being in the epicentre of the pandemic was enough to render me foetal on my bed.
But now that particular manuscript is going through a pro-editorial workshop, and so I've been turning my attention to other works which are either early drafts, problem drafts, or OMG embarassingly bad drafts.
And I've discovered that my creative output is zilch nada.
I'm suffering from a vast case of creative-quarantine-block.
I know - I'm supposed to go easy on myself. I'm encouraged to accept that though my output may be hindered, I can fully trust that my creative muse within is working away, concocting and building brilliant best selling concepts and plot-lines, subconciously developing voice and intuitive storytelling skills - even while I sip G&T and scroll through twitter for the seventy eighth time today.
But we creatives are notoriously hard on ourselves. Plus time seems not to be sticking to the usual schedule, right? I mean, how is April already three and half weeks ago? That makes absolutely no sense.
And so I have to admit, I've been feeling guilty. Like I'm letting myself down. Like my life is ticking by and I'm acheiving nothing. I'm frustrated all the time. I just want my head to work. I just want to feel that wonderful sublime sense of satisfaction that comes from having been lost in a creative blur for four hours or more - to have lost track due to absolute creative immersion, not just because the days have no structure and "oh, crap, I've been reading BBC news for 4 hours and now there's no dinner," kind of thing.
Anyway. I've decided to try something new this week. I've decided to switch gears and leave all projects that need my creative mind aside. Instead, I am going to engage that other side of my brain - the editorial one - and try research.
BTW I hate research. I hate it because for some reason it reminds me of maths. And I have no good feelings at all, about maths. But I have decided that if editing felt productive, then I should try moving beyond my math phobia, because research might also feel productive.
So this is my plan.
I've been wanting to figure out and learn the craft of writing PB biographies for some time now. So I've pulled out some great mentor texts and tomorrow I shall begin looking for primary sources on my subject. How easy that will be without access to the library I have absolutely no idea, but I figure even if nothing 'grows,' I'll be learning something new and hopefully will spend less time 'scrolling.'
Wish me luck.
This is where I share snippets of my life. Some of it writing related, some of it just - life. It will be mostly ramblings, but if you too are a storyteller and are very lucky, you might occasionally find something useful :)