Taking my own advice, I continue writing, despite alarmist media reports, gradual movement restriction in Sweden, and my own distraction. Creativity is hard work at any time, not only during a pandemic. So, I sit down every morning, turn on my computer, and start typing.
I’m writing a short story at the moment. I was working on a novel but decided to pause it for a while. With a story, I can (hopefully) be done quickly, and that would give me a feeling of accomplishment. It’s also good fun writing it, and fun is a good thing these days.
The funny thing (see what I did here?) is that I had completely forgotten about it. I had a few loose ideas, but I was working on a different thing at the time, so I just wrote them down, saved them in a “Writing Ideas” folder for later, and then promptly forgot about it.
A few days ago, two years later, I was looking for something else and came across this file titled “The Author.” I had absolutely no idea what it was. I opened it, read the couple of pages it consisted of and, not to sound my own trumpet, but they were good! With a few funny twists thrown in for good measure. So, I grabbed the file, got to work, and ended up in that creative bubble where everything seems far away, even the coronavirus, and the world is warm, and nice, and fuzzy.
1) Always carry paper and pen with you and jot down any idea that you get. You will not remember it later. I’ve placed small blocks of paper and pens strategically everywhere in the house and my pocket when I’m out. You could argue, of course, that you can use your smartphone, but I favor paper and pen. I enjoy leafing through the pages, slowly, back and forth, for the incommensurable joy of the unexpected connections that sometimes may jump at you from the pages.
2) Use a folder to organize these loose thoughts so you can easily find them later. Whether the folder is digital or analog doesn’t really matter, it only needs to suit your organizational system. You do have one I trust?
Then let them marinate for a while, while you can carry on with your ongoing projects. You can come back any time to look for some ideas when you’re stuck or ready to kick off a new project.
Chance, or fate, or just the butterfly effect may sometimes lead you to the end of the rainbow too. All you have to do is trust your creative genie.
Stay safe. Stay healthy. Stay calm and soldier on. And don’t forget to laugh.
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