Author’s Corner: Are You Wandering Aimlessly?

The COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic has been unbelievable, on so many levels. From the speed at which it spread, to the closing of borders, stores, schools and universities … and the cancellation of conferences, seminars, and businesses in general.

It’s been a long, dark road.

The discussions about opening up again are all interesting, but they are split between encouraging massive bursts of productivity and gentle, realistic spurts of things that are more manageable.

So many authors I connect with are struggling these days to write and feel productive, because they’re home with cats, dogs, kids, partners and noise. However, even those without all of the noise and distractions are struggling, because being alone is not easy either.

This begs the question …

What do we need to make the work of writing possible? What makes us feel like we’re productive in terms of creating finished pieces of writing?

I’ve written many posts over the last few years about mental blocks to writing and how one can work through those blocks. Some of the posts I come back to often remind me of this adage …

We don’t find time to write, we have to make it.

Herron sits at a table with his books displayed
Author R.L. Herron

It’s not just physical time but, more importantly, mental time that we need. That space in your mind that can be focused just on writing … and not everything else that’s going on. This is often hard to do when your head is full of uncertainty and anxiety.

Despite all the rhetoric, we have no idea when we will be allowed to travel again, how long things should be closed, or what kind of ‘normal’ we’ll return to when everything re-opens. As an indie author, if I don’t go to book-signings or put out new work, I am not paid. Therefore, I need to keep writing and being productive.

Nevertheless, like a lot of you, I’m listless, both figuratively and literally. The emotional toll of all of this should not be under-estimated. Stress has a significant effect on our ability to focus on tasks that require concentration and cleverness.

The uncertainty of the extraordinary emotional strain is perhaps the worst of it – how long is this going to last, and what will the world be like when the pandemic is past?

Talk About It

Don’t just quietly acknowledge it, but make a small space in your online engagements with colleagues and friends to voice some of the anxieties we all feel. We’re not alone in this, but we often feel like we are, and what we feel creates both emotional and mental static that can be hard to work around.

I’ve mentioned it to some old friends recently. I shared anxieties with several of them, found it was mutual and, surprisingly, it seemed to help (me, anyway).

We all need to seek a new balance, allowing ourselves time to work through the other stuff in our head right now. We need to acknowledge our own stress and anxiety, and be kind to ourselves by creating a work routine … pushing to get things done every day, so we don’t meander around aimlessly, feeling like we’re not doing anything useful at all.

This is not business-as-usual, so we need to let ourselves have a few more moments of listlessness than we usually allow.

I’m certain it will jump-start creativity; and I’m sure my writing, and yours, will start again soon.

Stay safe.

About R.L. Herron

R.L. Herron, the author of multiple works of fiction, including several Readers' Favorite medal winners, lives and writes in Michigan with his lovely wife, an ugly mortgage, and one extremely large cat. His books are all available on Amazon and online with Barnes & Noble. Visit Author R.L. Herron's Website, Broken Glass.

Comments

  1. I appreciate your thoughts so much! Agree totally! I do multiple works and it’s so difficult to focus! Thanks for writing what I am also going through!

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