Now hang on a sec – aren’t I already a writer? Am I not self-published? Have I not been writing for years and years and years? Am I not known for being a writer? Novels, novellas, short stories, microfiction, some poetry (a long time ago), even a few screenplays?? Blogs, diaries, articles?? Editor, proofreader, manuscript construction??
Well, yes. But here’s the thing: my beingness as a writer was eaten away during the events of 2020. Anxiety levels as a result of the pandemic eroded my imagination until it felt as if I couldn’t write anything except the dingiest, greyest, grimmest stuff with no space or scope or life in it at all. My creativity, it seemed, was in its own period of lockdown. Another factor that affected my creativity badly was working from home. Don’t get me wrong – I actually liked working from home! I found the admin work, which I hardly got time for when in the library, quite relaxing in its own boring, repetitive sort of way. But in order not to be glued to my computer for eight hours a day, I arranged my work hours differently, which ended up eating into my writing schedule. Also, I found myself checking work emails every single day, not just when I was strictly “at work.” Add to this a whole world of other problems I had to deal with: my eyes, my daughter’s uni problems, the stupendously awful heatwave that hit central London in August, returning to a customer-facing job while others were still working from home, then the shock of redeployment…..
At the end of this, it felt as if the writer part of me had all but expired. It was rising to the enormous challenge of editing a difficult novel that got me back on track. Some time over Christmas to relax a bit helped me to work out how to reconstruct my life around working from home. And how to Be A Writer again.
This is what I’ve come up with so far:
- Made a list of how to separate my WFH job from my writing (I’ll write about this list in another blog).
- Changed my desk area completely so that it is now completely writer friendly (I’ll take a picture of it as soon as the sun hits this part of the room).
- Using a different diary to reshape my thinking.
The third point has turned out to be quite important. I’ve been using Moleskin diaries for years, usually the small one with a week-per-view. Then I got a big one, also a week-per-view, but with more space, which I liked. This year I went for something different: it’s a big one again but with a full page-per-day. NO WFH stuff is allowed on these pages. All library work has been relegated to pages near the front of the dairy which show a month-per-page, the days divided up into little blocks. That’s it. That’s all the WFH job gets! The new big pages are my life, my writing, notes, ideas, microfiction, single lines of writing……absolutely anything that is part of my creative life.
Compartmentalising my life, creating a beautiful workspace, and encouraging myself to write down ideas will, I hope, help me on the road to recovery. I want to BE a writer. I don’t want to just “have written.” There is a whole beingness involved in creativity.
That’s what I’m aiming for.