So the Novel Corona Virus Quarantine became real mighty fast, didn’t it. A few weeks ago, we all went about our business with blissful ignorance as to what was coming. Today, we’re all sheltering in place. Amidst all of the uncertainty, people are anxious at best. So I have a true novel idea for writers!
You may be furloughed from your job now, or, working from home. Either way, you’ve received the gift of time (even if it’s not having to commute!).
And time, for a writer, is simply manna from Heaven.
But you know what happens? They talk about it. And talk about it. And talk about it. Even some of my clients do a whole lot more talking about their stories, than they do writing.
My prescription is always the same: Close the mouth and let the fingers do the talking over your keyboard.
Because the more you talk about your characters, describe them to others, tell how the plot evolves, the more you’re actually losing the creative thread that your right brain is screaming to write. You know, that side of the brain that is just bubbling with scenarios you didn’t *think* up, but rather, came roaring into your consciousness from your subconscious self.
Talking about what happens in your stories walls off that creative side.
So, what is the antidote? That novel idea for writers and those aspiring to be?
Write that book!
Just begin it. Carve out some quiet time (and yes, I realize the kids may be running amok in your home, quarantined as well!). Get up an hour earlier. Go to bed an hour later. Find that time that is yours, and get cracking.
The only way to begin is to begin it. Commit to it. And then write every day, even if for thirty minutes.
There really isn’t a right or wrong way to go about this. Whether the goal is 1,000 words per day, or a set time no matter how many words, your process is exactly that—your process. Find what works for you, and do it.
The only thing that matters here is that you write.
Two reasons exist that now, more than ever, this is of paramount importance.
First, writers write to make sense of things, as catharsis for their own traumas, and to find the meaning in the events around them and those that happened to them. Not only does this build bridges to new understandings, but lightens the emotional load, which can be a heavy mass indeed.
Hemingway said, “If he wrote it, he could get rid of it. He had gotten rid of many things by writing them.”
As a bonus, no matter how far along you are in this craft, one thing always holds true: you get better at writing by doing it.
The flip side of this importance is just as meaningful. Our world is anxious now. We are in unchartered territory. Maybe this will pass in a few months, maybe not . . . We’re all muddling our way through it, hoping for that silver lining.
And who better to make sense of all of this than novelists? Artists of all ilk have always been the ones to drill down the essence of things, and I would suggest that authors are the masters. We take the complex, the numinous, the seemingly unknowable, and create characters and stories that bring understanding to the surface for everyone to experience.
The best novels bring not only entertainment, but a shift in the reader’s perceptions, so that a new way of seeing arises.
What it boils down to is that by giving voice to your emotions, your insights, you’ll not only be reaching a personal goal but also experience relief in doing so.
And, you just might provide some relief to others in the process.
So from a book editor, my novel idea for writers and those aspiring to be is Write that Book!
Start today. Just begin it. As Goethe said: