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Writing in the time of COVID-19

Amy Leibowitz COVID-19 writing writing encouragement

These are strange times we’re living in. I wouldn’t have thought this would happen in my lifetime. And yet, here we are.

Because I have teenage children, our house is usually a flurry of activity. Someone always has somewhere to go. I work from home, but everyone else is usually out of the house by 7:15am (if not earlier some days). Then there are after school sports and theater, plus evening activities. It can feel as if we don’t rest at all!

Now we’re all home, all the time, aside from walking our dog. Everything happens via video conferencing. We’re still busy, in a way, but not like before. For the most part, things have slowed down a lot.

Over the past year, I’ve been struggling to write. I can’t speak for anyone else, but I find it hard to breathe, let alone create, when I’m constantly in motion. My hours were limited to match my kids’ schedule, and I was dividing my time between writing and my other work.

During the past month, as one thing after another dropped away, I felt...relief. I miss my activities; don’t get me wrong. But the constant running, the stress of holding everything together, melted like snow in spring. From the thawing earth, my creativity began to sprout again.

Many people are finding it hard to write with the stress of the pandemic and the uncertainty of the future. We’re all grieving the loss of our life as usual, and too many of us are facing job loss and/or economic hardship. We are fearful that we or the ones we love may fall ill and perhaps die; a lot of us have already been in that situation.

On the flip side, many people are finding it easier to write. Some may be driven by the heightened emotions and the need for catharsis. Others (like me) have more free time, either due to not working or not having a commute or (like me) having other activities canceled.

Neither way is correct or superior to the other. Everyone handles these situations differently, and that’s okay. Those of us who might find it easier to write need to extend grace and empathy toward those who don’t. It can be heartbreaking to see our fellow authors thriving while we feel as if we’re shriveling. I know because that’s how I felt for over a year. We should look for ways to support our colleagues, not tear anyone down or pressure them.

I don’t know what season you’re in right now, whether it’s muted creativity or blossoming. Either way, I wish you strength on your journey. May we all come out of this safely on the other side.

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