2 Valid Reasons for Writing in the Frantic Times of Corona Virus

Writing in the times of corona virusHow can anyone be writing in the times of corona virus?

Just like you, I have followed the rise of the this virus over the last few weeks.  And it’s been a scary ride.

I’m German. I saw the virus explode in Italy, and saw it drift into our country and all the way into the city where I live. Mostly by people who had been in Italy and Austria to ski.

I’m working in Home Office now, for the day job. I was literally ordered into it by a txt message on a Sunday night. “Do not come in on Monday.”

But I’m not going to talk about that much. You can find plenty of information about the corona virus and the changes in life style required to keep it at bay.

No, I’m going to talk about writing in these times.

Writing may feel wrong these days.

Because there is a train wreck happening in slow motion, and our world is changing massively in unheard ways, there is a part in us that has a need to witness this.

But honestly, whether you sit in front of the news all the time, constantly reloading pages with the latest numbers of positive cases or not – nothing will change.

Your attention to the news has literally no influence whatsoever on the way this pandemic unfolds. Staying inside is what matters, and we authors tend to be good at that anyway.

There is no need to constantly watch the news

While things do change rapidly and sometimes literally over night, you can still catch the news every three hours and be well informed.

So the best you can do is go back to what you are doing best: Writing.

Give yourself permission to do that. There are two reasons why writing is a good idea in the times of corona virus, and I will explain them in some detail.

Reason #1 for Writing in the Times of Corona Virus – the Market

Right now, book sales are down. They are for me, and most likely for almost every author. That’s normal, because readers are watching this slow motion train wreck, just like we are. They are glued to their screens.

In 2-3 weeks, however, boredom will set in. Cabin fever will set in. And people will crave entertainment of all kinds.  Kris Rusch has a good, thoughtful article about that.

And they might have watched all the series they can stand on Netflix. They might be fed up with Disney Channel. They might go crazy with nothing to do.

And they will (re-)discover ebooks. (I kind wish they’d be mine, too.)

When readers flock back to their books, you want to be ready. You want to be able to offer your fans something new. So keep writing and getting those books out. The market will explode in a few weeks. Seriously.

Reason #2 for Writing in the Times of Corona Virus – Staying Sane

Just like our readers, we are being forced to stay home.

That’s a huge change in routine for most of us, even if we have been working from home for our writing career. But now the kids are home, the spouse is home, and the entire situation is new, confusing and scary. Or simply trying.

Adjusting to that is hard.

We need to find new systems, try out new ways of handling ourselves, the kids, the household, cooking, getting groceries and doing chores. That’s a lot of change.

And if you’re just a bit like me, the news is also scary. Maybe you are also worrying about loved ones who are in a risk group.

And to be honest, we all need to escape from that once in a while.

Writing can be your regular, familiar escape. What better way of leaving corona virus behind than by diving into your own world? Where we are in control (mostly, ahem), and where we do have influence.

And no, that’s not being a coward. That kind of creative escape actually gives us strength and energy, and we can bring that back to our family and life situation.

So if writing is your place of joy or your genius work – go for it.

Keep writing. And stay safe.

And of course, stay safe, stay healthy, and keep your head up.

This, too, will pass.

And hopefully, the world will have changed for the better at the end of this disruption.

Let’s make it so!


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About Hannah Steenbock

Hannah Steenbock is an author, dreamer, and coach. She has published several short stories in English and German, as well as one novel in German. In 2013 she started self-publishing her work. In 2014, she has won two awards for her short story "Sequoia".
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