Moving away from love and fate (well, somewhat sort of), I am currently writing something more dark and sinister. I’ve recently received notice that my workplace (I’m a barber) has been ordered to shut down for the next 30 days for the corona virus pandemic we are facing.
My first thought – before assessing my finances and refrigerator – was: Thirty days of undisturbed writing??? Yessss!
For the last month I’d been gathering info, creating charts, getting to know my central characters (Jessica and Meghan), and researching the hell out of things I can’t tell you about yet.
It takes mental exercises to get oneself into the mindset of writing about things that make people cringe, shudder, and shake. And I haven’t even gotten to the scary parts yet. But in-spite of all the prepping, there isn’t much going on outside my window that feels all that better from the mode I put myself in while writing my book. Yes, it is two different ‘genres’: the real world pandemic and my made-up disturbing story, but I confess the weight of both sides of my universe is heavy.
So I am blogging to see how other dark writers are maintaining mental balance in this time?
My personal actions have been this:
Create a schedule: Organize free time by scheduling writing time -and all else. When you have the whole day to yourself (as I do), it is helpful to separate ‘creative mood’ from ‘the rest of the day mood’. Normally going to work or pottery class does this for me. But now I found myself not getting out of ‘creative mood’ and going to bed with feelings of burden and my stomach in knots. Not a good way to fall asleep or start a day.
I’m not getting any kudos or am affiliated in any way with her, but this girl is saving my life in so many ways. 30 Days of Yoga is so cool!!!! And I suck at yoga, but it’s ok! So if you are worried that 14 days of isolation is going to turn into 14 lbs, try this video as she teaches you yoga and helps improve your mind and body. Namaste ya’ll.
Super cleaning my house: Fun, right? Well, believe it or not it really can be in a time like this. I have scheduled an hour a day of cleaning (along with really loud music) and it’s a great feeling when I walk into an area that I know has been cleaned from the floor up. Every table and chair leg, every inch of anything in view… just one hour is all I spend so it’s not overwhelming. It’s a nice feeling of accomplishment.
Fresh air: If there is a place to walk, I walk it. A school track, a trail in the woods.
Vitamins!!! I can’t believe how good I feel on those. I was never a vitamin taker and started doing so to boost my immune system. Good stuff!
Watch movies, read, listen to audio books: I love movies as much as I love writing. It didn’t take long for me to fill up on movies, so during my time home so far, I have been setting aside two hours in the evening (which means going to bed earlier than usual) to read from one or two books. It’s been fun to see what my indie family have been writing about and supporting them. I’m also including well known books that I never looked at before. I have to say it has been a rewarding experience to get involved in another author’s works. I’m going to confess something I feel embarrassed about… growing up, I avoided reading books while I wrote because I feared that I would see something similar to my own ideas and I would become disheartened that I hadn’t thought of it first (or that someone would think I stole the idea). Silly, I know. I didn’t want to know if others wrote about the same thing, and I didn’t want to have their stories in my mind as I wrote mine… But that’s not my case anymore. I have a lot of reading to catch up on 🙂
Turn off the news and stay off of Facebook: This is probably the smartest choice I made. I can fill my space with better things right now when I stay off or severely limit my time on FB. I refuse to watch any big news stations and keep everything local. Politics has no business in this health crisis, yet “some people” can only give information coated with a political opinion. I’d love to see a huge boycott of the big news corps until they stop their b.s…
So, writers of the dark and deadly… what are you doing to manage your psyche while writing of dark and creepy things during this time? Even without the pandemic, what are your secrets to keeping a healthy mind?
I was wondering – and maybe this is a common topic, but I have only recently begun to get more involved with my fellow writers – do you feel a little blue when you finish your book and it’s out there, and there is nothing left but to…I don’t know… read it for yourself? Do you miss your characters? The intimacy you had with them, creating or solving their problems? Breaking their hearts, or introducing them to the love of their life?
I remember one evening I had hurt one of my characters – ripped her heart out – just as I was going to bed. I even cried as I wrote it. I woke up very early the next morning and the first thing I did was make it better for her. And for the whole day I felt a little wrecked about the incident that was undoubtedly “my fault.” I just laughed at myself for even admitting this. The thing is, her heart was supposed to remain broken but I couldn’t. I literally had to go back and fix it for her.
A week ago I self-published my first novel length book, The First Love. While I was writing it I was so consumed by my characters that I missed them whenever I was away. There was a constant longing to be back with them as soon as possible, and I remember even feeling grumpy when forced to stay away too long.
But now that it’s out and even as I prepare my next story, I can’t stop thinking about Calli, Justine, and Fenne. I miss them 🙂
Currently I am working on my second novel, The Wife App. It’s been an interesting process because initially it was meant to be something disturbing combined with a love story, but I ended up overhauling the entire theme and went straight for true love.
Something I am learning about myself is my sense of protection to the characters I am creating. It’s difficult to break their hearts or harm them, even when they are minor characters. I couldn’t believe how much I missed those created in The First Love, even.
I don’t have a “finish” date set, but I hope The Wife App will be published in January 2021.