… not necessarily for one hundred years.
News items are measured by their novelty factor, to attract attention. The pandemic over the last two or three weeks has provided plenty of unusual and novel news items.
And we writers, we novelists, are all about novelty. We invent and romanticize and conjure up tricks with our keyboards; we escape into fertile worlds of fantasy and imagination, of dreams and hallucination, filled with false truths and make-believe. We tell lies all the time and get away with them. We invent creative journeys of entertainment.
And we already know about self-isolation – after all, that’s what writing involves every day. We seek peace and quiet, away from the hubbub of daily life, either shut away in a separate part of the house or rising at ungodly hours of the night to tap away in solitude before the family rush begins; or we scuttle off to a remote country cottage, with no central heating or mobile connection, miles from civilization, to wrench those novelty plots painfully from the deep recesses of our imaginations.
Until eventually our product, our baby, is ready for daylight, for public attention. Even then, we will polish it and scrub it one more time. Then we have to sell it to our waiting audience, without sounding like a persistent second-hand car salesman or a tricky scam. But isolation we do, we have to. We sometimes forget to eat. We forget to communicate, we are living in our little world, being antisocial. Social distancing is merely an extension of our normal existence and now with even more time to really ramp up the output.
The impact of the pandemic, much like the coronavirus itself, will affect everyone differently. For us it is a perfect time to push ahead with those ideas, with those plots, to get them down on screen/paper; to get the stories out there, to a bored public desperate for some novelty. Perhaps they will discover they like something that they never knew they wanted.
Remember: know your audience and give them what they want. Never sell a copy of your book to someone who will not like it. Categories/genres are so important.
Let’s try to be as understanding and supportive of one another as possible so that we’re all in a stronger position when we come out on the other side.
God, but it can be lonely.