During the time of the Great Lockdown, I haven’t been doing anything. You might think that’s an over exaggeration, but I assure you it’s not. I’m a writer – with one book published and determined to make a living out of it. What does this mean? This means that I need to write. Everyday. I need to be figuring out ways to get better at my craft. I need to read books by other authors to learn different stylistic approaches. I need to be watching every Masterclass by every writer ever. I just need to constantly be getting better. Ideally, there will be marked continuous improvement.
But improvement of any kind is near impossible if you’re simply not doing anything to hone said craft. The biggest difficulty (a wanton lie because I know the only difficult is within not without, but I’m not ready to take a spiritual deep dive so I’m going to keep blaming things outside of me) is the amount of noise in my house. I share 1400sqft with five other humans and one beautiful dog. It gets noisy.
Before the Great Lockdown, I would write in the day at the dining table. Everyone would be out or sleeping and there will be a good amount of silence. I simply cannot write with noise. Not in the way that real writing occurs. Where you write a good thousand or even two thousand words that feel somewhat forced and then some underground well of creativity is tapped and it starts flowing. The words come out naturally and I don’t have to think. I don’t have to question word choice. It just comes out. Letter after letter, word after word.
It’s perfection, truly. It’s the closest I get to feeling the air alive around me. Thrumming along with my heart. I don’t know if it’s great or even good writing. But that symbiosis cannot be a bad thing. It just feels right. Some of my favourite things in the first book I wrote were things that just appeared in my brain. As if I had been pushed into a dark room with a flashlight and discovered words strung together, ready and waiting.
But now, with all this noise and my family around, it’s a lot more difficult, sometimes impossible to access these hidden rooms and wells in my mind. I feel stuck and it sucks. In an effort to combat this, I’ve flipped my schedule completely on its head and started staying awake at night and sleeping during the day. I’m not a fan of this way of living. For one thing, I like the sun. For another, it means I see my dog a lot lesser than I’d like. I also worry about this will affect me when the Great Lockdown is over.
I recognize that perhaps I’m just being bratty and complaining about things that are pretty benign compared to what the rest of the world is going through. After all, I have shelter, food, a comfy bed. I live in a really pretty neighbourhood with plenty of places to walk and workout in. But again, these too, are teeming with people. I think spending time with yourself is easy to do if you live alone but right now, during the Great Lockdown and living in Singapore, it feels almost impossible to get even a sliver of alone time. The only way that that seems possible is to become a night owl and enjoy the emptiness of the streets at four in the morning.
I think the point of this long, grossly self-pitying post is the recognition that this time had affected me in way that were really unexpected. I mean, we all expected to experience things that we didn’t see coming…but this was something that really feels out of left field. It also makes me question why my self-worth is so tied to my productivity.
This Great Lockdown is rudely pointing out the numerous holes in my inner self.