Last March when events were canceled right and left, I figured quiet weeks at home should be a great time to write. Instead, my fiction writing has ground to a halt. The hours disappear into reading and long forest walks. Oh, there’s time in abundance. I just don’t have the focus.
Some writers and artists tell me they find the opposite, a relatively empty calendar letting creativity flourish. Others face constant interruptions with their family always home. Still, I may not be the only one who peacefully stretches chores and puttering to fill the day.
Beyond the drabness of my inventions compared to this year’s real life, I suspect the cause is also neurological. Much of the world in 2020 is experiencing heightened levels of threat perception. The chronic fight-or-flight response redirects brain and body to survival, at the expense of calm, clear thought. The rate of mistakes is up. Part of my week goes into correcting errors and making amends.
How is your focus these days?
I'm a historian who writes novels and literary nonfiction. My home base is Madison, Wisconsin.