We are quarantined. We are isolated. We have time to write.
Some might say this is a writer’s dream. Isn’t this what we seek when we set out to work on our script?
But it’s not the same and we know it. Without a doubt, we are working in a reality where our fellow human beings, the folks we write for, are facing tragedy.
Why should we even think about working on our scripts? Is it selfish, clueless, insensitive, to work on our projects during this time?
Absolutely not. It is essential that we keep working every day. Think about how people rely on what we write during this time. People on the front lines, along with people quarantined to slow the spread of this virus, rely on the diversion and entertainment that only you can create.
You help people with what you write. You provide great relief during all times in the lives of millions. Soon, there will not be a virus killing people. Soon, we will be back to our normal lives. Yet, audiences will still seek and rely on our stories to appreciate the meaning of their existence.
It might even be more important after we’re on the other side of this dark time. People will see their lives differently, and continue to seek the work of our artists to reaffirm our values.
It is my duty as a writer to work every day of this pandemic. I need to set aside my ego. I need to set aside what I think the industry might look like going forward. I need to write for people.
I cannot get caught up in the idea that I need to create a brand new pandemic idea—-that there is an opportunity to write something out of whole cloth.
Of course, you can write something brand new. You can write about the pandemic. You can write about quarantine. Do it!
But most importantly, write what you want to write. What is your favorite idea? What is the idea everyone loves that you discovered two years ago?
Don’t feel like you have to write fast. You don’t have to write fast. Don’t feel like you have to write perfectly. You won’t.
Do not think you need to write a certain amount of pages because you are quarantined.
You might actually write less. You will write less. And that will be perfect.
Why is your script so special to you? Maybe you are rewriting something for the 20th time.
It’s okay to rewrite in the pandemic if you find a way to love it all over again.
Sit with your work, people. How many times do we have to hear that a writer wrote what they wanted to write, what truly interested them, what broke their heart, what drove them into a thousand pieces, and that was the script that finally connected to people and became their best work.
This is writing in the Pandemic of 2020. When we are quarantined, we have time not to write a million pages but to look deeper into ourselves than we have been. We can take more deep breaths. We can hear the silence of the house. The street. The town. And in that quiet, we can see what we might be scared of. What we tend to lie about when the world is normal. We can think about what others feel and feel exactly the same way.
If you’re a writer, your job is writing today. Set aside the ridiculous expectations from another chapter in your life as a storyteller. They mean nothing now. Our fellow human beings need us to keep working, writing the beautiful love and laughs we all share.
Even if you write a scene. Or describe a moment between two people. Or speak one word of dialogue from one soul down by the road.