One night next week I’m running a course on productivity for writers. I think it’s billed as being encouraging people to find time to write, but I do versions of this course a lot and really they boil down to showing various ways you can pull your finger out. I know there is actually helpful, useful stuff in there, but if you can give a writer their own “get on with it” attitude, you’re set.
Except if I were running it today, right now, this minute, I have an awful feeling I’d tell people to make some tea and put their feet up instead.
Friends who aren’t writers have said to me that this must be a fantastic time for us. We get all this free time in lockdown, plus there’s so much to write about with the coronavirus and the US attempted coup.
Leaving aside the free time aspect, and just casually ignoring the loss of income, there are writers I know who do agree. Who are inspired by everything.
I don’t want to even read another syllable about coronavirus, I can’t see that I’ll ever want to write about it. If you’re the opposite, if you disagree with me, good luck to you. I just heard a BBC Radio 4 play set in these times –– Personal Shopper by Hugh Costello — which worked very well.
And I might be reading the news a bit too avidly in search of the 45th facing the 25th, but I long for when this chapter of US politics is a chapter in a history book that I don’t have to read.
So here I am, saying good luck to you if you’re writing a coronavirus drama and extremely good luck to you if you’re attempting to write a history book that has all of this make sense.
The point of that course next week is to get people writing for publication. I don’t mean there’s a book deal at the end of it, I mean that so many writers see writing as this hobby and they’re frustrated that they don’t have enough time to do it. And if they instead would take it seriously, if they’d see it as part of their working life instead of a stamp-collecting afterthought, they actually would get more done.
This course is not for people who just write for themselves. None of my courses ever are, they are usually about reaching deeper inside yourself as a writer, but they are always also about the practical business of getting writing done and read.
I’ve actually ignored people who write just for themselves and while I’ve claimed I understand why they do it, I think really I haven’t. I think I’ve been a bit dismissive of scribbling.
And yet here I am, feeling better about the world because I’ve scribbled to you. Focusing on writing has today meant focusing on how dizzying everything is and that’s made it just a significant little bit less dizzying.
So good luck to you with the play, very good luck with the history book and plenty of good luck if you’re going to spend today writing for yourself, writing to a friend like this, or putting your feet up and finally finishing watching Tenet.
I keep getting interrupted by phone calls. I’m currently on about Sixet.