The post I had scheduled for today got pushed back all the way into late April because I just couldn’t face publishing yet another (sorta cheerful) article on writing and being kind to yourself as a writer and listening to your gut and keeping up the creative output.
So here’s a more ‘current’ version of the exactly same thing, just… written in the now.
It’s what a lot of us are doing, right now, from our own designated place of living and/or working. Mine’s a sewn off half of an old shelf, and it partially covers a very black, very affectionate (if, sometimes, rather loud) dog. My partner was lucky enough to be able to do a relevant amount of work from home, too, so there’s a lot of typing currently going on, and some Kaleo in the background (not everybody can live on all Springsteen, all the time, even though I… can).
Oh, and we’ve recently almost accidentally (and quite inevitably) started an online platform for short stories written in quarantine alongside our writer friend from a nearby city. (Hi, Ana!) And we’ve just finished giving a statement for the biggest local newspaper in our town, who were kind enough to reach to us. So that happened. We’re receiving and editing short stories from Croatian writers, published and previously unpublished alike, on a daily basis. We’re, also, talking to writers. It’s incredible how varied a response you can get, even in a country as tiny as ours, when you reach far enough—and when your timing is apocalyptically perfect.
I’ve started using social networks a whole effin lot more than ever before. (Still hate Facebook with an inconsolable passion. Say hi at Twitter if you’re prone to similar coping mechanisms, though.) Talking to people, in general, is a thing I’m prioritizing quite adamantly right now. (Oh, yeah, and the fact that two of my best friends in the whole world were woken up by a destructive earthquake in out country’s capital last Sunday early in the morning. They’re both well, the same as everybody else I know there, I think.)
The question remains, as usual—how in the seven hells does writing feature in our everyday lives, right here, right now, in a (semi-)unprecedented, global emergency event? How do we keep coming back to the keyboard if walking said black, fluffy (and seriously bored) dog is the only time we step out of our living spaces during the whole day?
I’ve seen several schools of thought floating around out there, in the great wide web, about the current state and both the short-term and long-term future of artistic production in the world. Some seem to think there will be a general pause in production (I’ve seen it mentioned in terms of publishing) after this is ‘over’. Some, though, believe there will be more content than ever—content being created right now. I’ve still no idea how my favourite television company will deal with it (especially since their longtime flagship programme is, um… apocalyptical), but I do believe they’ll do us proud.
I’m somehow not worried for the fiction area, unless some of the self-published and small press published writers I adore run into obstacles even more serious than what’s currently being predicted. That, quite frankly, would be a disaster, especially since four novels by two writers I love have recently been announced as coming soon. (Fingers crossed—toes and paws, too!)
The thing is that, after I was done with the first (few shocks of) fear, I’ve managed, rather determinedly, to escape into fiction writing myself. Not the many current and future novels I’ve been working on, you know, ‘before’—but my very first childhood (and teen) love—short stories. I’ve already written two, and have two more sketched out, but we’re currently a bit overwhelmed with the response to our Decameron 2020 (the Croatian version, which we’ve designed as heavy on the SF/F/H side), and I don’t really feel the need to write them out. I’m having enough fun communicating with the writers and my editor colleagues as is.
(And stalking Yoon Ha Lee’s cat on his Twitter.)
I’m currently putting off any planning sort of activity, firmly, until I feel I can quote Sarah Connor’s Terminator 2 finale in full honesty. At the moment, we’re a bit too close to the final few lines of the first movie. Let’s not reach the third movie’s finale, eh?
Be safe out there. Reach out to people to inquire about their parents, pets and plants. Record all the happy birtday videos you have to during this period and, to quote one of the advice lists I’ve come across in the past few days—pick up an unproductive hobby. (Gasp!)
In conclusion, these days, if you feel like it, write. If you don’t, please, please, don’t try to act like it’s business as usual all around us and bring yourself down because of it. If you feel like rewatching the whole Broadway Princess Party instead (and discovering the Broadway Prince Party and happily proceeding to watch that), please, do. (They’re kinda great, and their Princess Medley is life.)
In the end, we’ll get through this incredible, stupid, overwhelming shit—but only if we do it together.
Right here, right now.