151 words. That’s all I’ve written yesterday.
527 words. That’s how many words I’ve deleted yesterday.
Welcome to the corona world!
While I’m not anxious about the coronavirus (yet), I do feel some healthy concern, and I admit that I find it hard to concentrate on anything. Every day, I sit at my desk from 9 to 12 and write, mostly my new book, sometimes the blog, sometimes a poem. Some days everything is easy, the words flow, and I feel on top of the world. Some days … not. And that’s OK. As every creator knows, ups and downs are part of the creative life. We muddle through those days and hope for a better day tomorrow.
But this is new. It’s not writer’s block or lack of inspiration or ideas. This is just staring at the monitor while wondering whether I should check the WHO site or the corona tracker for updates, call my parents to check they’re still fine, talk to my sister who’s, of course, working from home, or just work in the garden and escape from it all.
These are unsettling and, for lack of a better word, weird times. The uncertainty, not knowing what will happen, not knowing how long it’ll take or what the long-term impact would be, take its toll. And it will get worse before it gets better. This is just the beginning.
So how are we to live through this unreal and frustrating reality? Holed up in our homes, social distancing and binge-watching all TV series?
I don’t think so.
Granted, there are certain constraints that we simply have to live with (sorry, grandma, no visits!). However, I think we should try to hang on to some degree of normality. Working from home? Get out of pajamas and dress for work. Then work, not check Twitter for “a five-minute break” and be gone down the rabbit hole of social media for an hour. Have a set schedule for work and follow it. Do your chores as you would normally do. Do your laundry on Fridays as usual. Get out the trash on Wednesdays as usual.
The mundane is the new black. We shun the everyday life, dreaming of adventures in faraway lands, but in a crisis, we find ourselves longing for that everyday. We wish to be able to sit in a traffic jam again; to rush breathlessly from work to the kindergarten before it closes and be greeted by a teacher giving you the evil eye; to quarrel with the neighbor about his tree leaning dangerously over the fence.
So, what now? How do we keep writing? How do we keep creativity alive in the times of corona?
The worst thing in a crisis is to be idle. It just gives you more time to feel anxious. The danger is that anxiety spreads faster than the virus.Creativity is your butt on the hard chair, every day, whether you create or not. Creativity is hard work, whether you feel like it or not. Especially if you’re not feeling like it. Do the work. Show up. Every day. Click To Tweet
Me? I’ve done my time, written some paragraphs in my book, and a blog post. Now I’m going out to work in the garden. It’s a whooping plus five degrees (that’s 41 Fahrenheit) here in Stockholm, and the sun is out!
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay calm and soldier on. And don’t forget to laugh.
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