I’ve been reflecting on how 2020 shut everyone down in so many ways. No graduations for students. No parties. No Thanksgiving or Christmas for others. Businesses shuttered. Many going bankrupt.
For writers, in some ways, maybe it might not have been too bad to social distance and be shut-in. Authors are solitary people and writing is a (mostly) solitary undertaking. But the ramifications of the pandemic reached its tentacles into many an author’s life. Some were called on to provide childcare and/or virtual learning when their children or grandchildren’s daycare and schools closed their doors.
And for those who didn’t become caregivers or teachers, just the stress of the pandemic worked on their psyche, making writing difficult. But if 2020 seems like a blur and you look back and can’t think of one thing you did to further your writing career, don’t despair.
One year doesn’t a writing career make — or break.
Did you know there were 22 years between Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina and Resurrection? Or that James Joyce remained silent for 17 years between Ulysses and Finnegan’s Wake? Supposedly, Joyce was so exhausted after finishing Ulysses that he didn’t write a thing for a year. And when he did start writing again, his production slowed to a crawl due to more trauma in his life. His father died, and he had to deal with the health of his daughter, Lucia, as well as his own health issues. (Sound familiar, anyone?)
Do you need more? Pynchon had a 17 year time-out. US writer Harold Brodkey, 33 years. And 60 years … SIXTY YEARS … between works for Henry Roth. I am not familiar with these last authors’ works, but just making a point that 2020 is ONE YEAR in your writing career. ONE YEAR.
Take a breath.
Take a break.
Take a page from some writers who took a lot longer than a year to get back in the game.
Take care of family and take care of yourself.
Then, when the time is right, pick up your pen, or open your laptop, and begin again.
CBA Bestselling author PAM HILLMAN was born and raised on a dairy farm in Mississippi and spent her teenage years perched on the seat of a tractor raking hay. In those days, her daddy couldn't afford two cab tractors with air conditioning and a radio, so Pam drove an Allis Chalmers 110. Even when her daddy asked her if she wanted to bale hay, she told him she didn't mind raking. Raking hay doesn't take much thought so Pam spent her time working on her tan and making up stories in her head. Now, that's the kind of life every girl should dream of. www.pamhillman.com