Saturday, January 22, 2022

COVID and Writing

This month's topic is how I am dealing with this COVID pandemic in my writing. My problem is I'm not...writing that is. Although fully vaccinated, for most of late 2020 through June of 2021, I've been at home.
While I've got books in progress, I have not made much writing headway. Generally speaking, I had been home in front of my computer most of the time during the last decade, even teaching online, but somehow it now felt different, isolating. 

Then a Dollar General opened up a mile down the road. I applied for part-time on the weekends, and because few want that time, I got the job. For the first time in two decades of living in Luther, I'm meeting many of my local neighbors, people I never knew. And I enjoy talking with them although I'm having a terrible time remembering all their names. As an added benefit, I'm walking two, three, or four miles within the store whenever I work. Since my local road is too icy to walk and the weather way too cold, I'm still staying in good walking it gets me out of the house!

With the suggested topic for this post, I began thinking about the idea of writing a story with COVID as part of the setting or topic. This led to some convoluted ideas, and I concluded that I don't think I would write a novel with COVID in the background as so many are dealing with the issue day-to-day and might be reading to escape the reality of COVID. As I wrote that down, I thought, but then again, maybe it would help them deal with this new world, its COVID threat, and the resulting social issues of the illness: limited healthcare availability, death of family and friends, isolation, vaccination, masks, and other disease-induced pandemonium. 

Any contemporary story would be marked historically by the mention of the pandemic, yet all contemporary stories are marked by time. Jane Austen's novels were contemporary romance stories (maybe the first?) as were Betty Neels, but today those stories are historical romances, so any contemporary story should mention COVID, right? Any mainstream story would probably be dealing with COVID, and the resulting social defiance and unrest. I couldn't do it as a historical novel yet, because the ultimate effects are not yet known. Then again, maybe a setting using the 1918 pandemic might work. What other genre might work? Horror? Mystery? Those are both out of my writing realm. Maybe I could translate the pandemic into a science fiction story? 

As you might note, I'm a little confounded by current times and issues. I hope this pandemic ends soon. Maybe I can return to normality, but I'm thinking a different normality lies ahead. So maybe just a short story...or two...or three?

Please visit these authors and read how they would deal with this topic in their writing:

Connie Vines

Skye Taylor

Anne Stenhouse

Marci Baun

Diane Bator

Dr. Bob Rich

Judith Copek


  1. The very last thing I ever want to do is get another job with an alarm clock involved, but I'm glad it's helped you to weather this storm. I am fortunate to live on a little barrier island in St. Augustine Florida - not only that, I live on the corner everyone passes on their way to the beach so I get to talk with folk all the time - out of doors and 6 feet apart. I did lose my faithful, 15 year old, four-legged buddy half way through the first year of this blight. It was so awful my initial reaction to the pain of losing him was "I'll never have another dog." but that lasted just a few weeks before I knew that my empty house would rattle unbearably and just maybe it was doing Duffy's memory and injustice to decide that the pain of losing him outweighed all those wonderful years of companionship. Sooooo - Three and a half months later, I brought a wriggling bundle of blond fur and eager tongue home. It's been a year of rediscovering all the joys and trials of brining up a puppy, but it's been so worth it. As I started this comment - I've been blessed. Jessi fills my days with so much fun, love, cozy sharing and more. She's elected herself welcome wagon for our little community and I get to meet every single person, full time resident or temporary renter, because Jessi includes me in her duties.

  2. Dogs are wonderful creatures--loving, engaging, and protecting. I'm glad you now have Jessi.

  3. Thanks very much for setting another thought-provoking topic, Rhobin. You paint a great picture of your work outside the house, and of getting to know your neighbours. This pandemic has changed us in that we must surely now think a lot more about how we need people around us in real life, and not just online.
    Wishing you all the very best with your writing.

  4. Funny, the lockdown and stuff hasn't affected my writing: I have 5 books in progress. What gets in the way more is political and environmental activism.
    Do stay safe in your store!

  5. Hi Rhobin, What a good ploy to get out and do something quite different. I wrote fine during year one and part of year two. am now feeling a little stuck. Good luck with it all and Stay Safe, anne