Writer’s smorgasbord or writer’s scruples?
As you may have guessed there’s a lot of panic ‘choose your own word here’ sweeping the world. I want to say I understand why that’s occurring and at a skin-deep level – I do get it. My own fears aren’t the virus they are will I be able to buy toilet paper? And pasta? And flour?
I’m still working full-time at work so my ability to go out and shop (line up and wait) are tricky at best. I keep telling myself I’ll manage, we’ll manage. None of this is a complaint but just my own juggling of thoughts, worries and attempts at self-bolstering.
As a writer I’m entirely at ease as I ask myself, ‘What can I learn here and what can I use to enhance my stories?’ There is an opportunity here to give my characters some further depth. I use my worries, fears and trying to see the opportunities to provide depth and connect to readers in a way I haven’t been able to previously. I mean, we already have hundreds of stories and shows around the end of the world stuff or life-changing events so it should be okay, right?
The way I try to view it is at the least I’m watching these shows with more enlightenment – no longer is that actor in ‘The Helix’ or ‘The Strain’ (for two examples) annoying as they pace up and down, now I totally get it. I don’t write this type of material normally, and didn’t understand some of the character ‘ham’ (ok, just maybe a little melodramatic) reactions, but now my experiences have given me more ingredients to mix into my story and certainly helped my perceptions.
As a human I’m not at ease with using what I’m learning, I’m actually balking. I’m sick of sensationalist headlines as some media people are using it for attention. I feel deeply for those who have high rates of sickness and death (and this is added to problems that already exist).
And yet again I know I can use this side of my thought processes within my stories.
Familiar vs newfangled
My advice is even if as a writer you don’t want to write – at least record your feelings, observations of how people and the world reacts (including media responses) and reflect on it. For many, experiencing this level of trauma may be a known paradigm (but no less heartbreaking and shocking) while for some it’s triggering emergent responses, new and startling.
Be safe 4mel2
Image – © Can Stock Photo / Vlue