This blog started with writing more than 10 years ago, 12 to be exact.
Writing used to be a way to let off steam in those distant days. I often started typing on this blog just to get the muse going again, and more than a decade later, with a novel published last year, I find I’ve stopped doing that. Writing is a much bigger part of my life now, but other than the occasional burst of flash fiction (like this one), I hardly ever give in to impulse any more.
To people like me, who write professionally, it is important to keep the fun aspect going.Writing is hard enough, without becoming a chore.
In these covid times, some of my friends have finished entire novel drafts, others have completed blog challenges, yet others have submitted and published many stories. I’m working on the edits of my WIP, but have decided to cut myself some slack. The lockdown measures are all of us trying to survive a threat. It is all right if productivity dries up in times of crisis. Sometimes it feels as if all of human endeavour is to feel safe–we go about it the best we can.
I’ve been writing bits and pieces, snippets and stories and articles, flash fiction on the blog. but basically following wu wei–my word for this year: effortless effort. I take what words come to me–the only compulsion is to make time to sit down and write or edit. If things work out, great. No harm done if not. I’m targeting mid-May for the next draft of my novel, and am hoping it will get done.
In between, some days are better than others, and it doesn’t help that on some mornings I have this mad urge to take the laptop and walk out and write out of doors, which is no longer an option. I do not know when I’d be able to take a quiet seat at a cafe like in the pre-covid times, wrap myself in white noise, get a pot of tea, and let the hum and buzz of people around take me to a quiet place inside of myself in to a world I’ve created and let the words pour out, writing up people who have no existence beyond my imagination, and hopefully between the flaps of a book (like Jatin and Anjali from You Beneath Your Skin, and their story).
All my problems are privileged problems. My pantry is well-stocked. I live in a developed nation and I have enough to eat (and drink, if I so desire). I can still go for walks in the parks, and I have a roof over my head. I can afford to stay home. So far, all my friends and family are safe (I can’t say the same of their friends, though–the virus has not been kind to many).
Blessings that I was aware of, but perhaps did not appreciate enough. I have other privileged friends, who have money, but you can’t eat money if you’re in a containment zone and the groceries are not delivered. I have underprivileged friends who are (rightly) panicking at the thought of jobs and livelihoods lost. (I’ve also got friends who do not believe there’s a virus, that it’s a huge conspiracy theory that originated in China, but that’s another story!)
In all this mayhem, it feels strange to long for some of the privileges of pre-Covid times. Times when we could walk into crowded places without a second thought. When writing at a cafe was one of the most every-day things–privileged, sure, but still, a commonplace activity.
It makes me feel guilty to long for things when I have access to so much–a guilt that has not been assuaged by donating to orgaisations like GOONJ which are feeding migrant workers. (One of my friends is a trustee of Project WHY and she’s walking to raise money to feed 100 families in India–check it out to support her cause.)
Tell me how the covid is treating you. Do you long for the days before Covid? Are you getting any writing done? Drowning in housework? Worried about the future, or groceries, or the kids’ education? Anyone else miss writing at a cafe?
It is available in India here.
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