Most of us are in some level of quarantine right now, and QuaNoWriMo has become a thing.
“You have all this extra time to write.”
Well, I’m here to tell you: It’s fine if you aren’t writing.
It’s fine if you aren’t writing any more than usual. It’s fine if you’re writing less than usual.
Because we’re going through something called collective trauma right now. All of us. And it really sucks.
What is Collective Trauma?
Collective trauma is trauma experienced by an entire community. It’s the trauma that comes from things like Hurricane Katrina or the Paradise fire.
Collective trauma produces symptoms like rage (how about the guy who tried to drive a train into a hospital ship?), depression, denial (the virus is a hoax), survivor guilt (It’s not fair that I still have a job), anxiety (this is never going to be over).
Just to make things even more fun, physical symptoms of trauma can include lethargy and body aches…which can make you think you’re coming down with the virus (if worried, take your temperature. Trauma doesn’t cause fever).
And this particular trauma is all the worse for being ongoing. And a lot of us are currently denied our personal coping mechanisms. Oh, and one of the things you’re supposed to do with trauma? Reach out and connect to others, and avoid spending time alone. Do normal things. All the stuff we can’t do right now.
How Can We Deal With It?
There’s no easy answer. You can try exercise and meditation. Please don’t drown your sorrows; alcohol can make this worse. (I don’t mean a beer during virtual social interaction, I mean sitting alone while the bottle gets lower).
But above all? If you can write, write. If you can pour it into your art, do.
If you can’t, then you are not broken the world is broken.
The world will be fixed, eventually. But right now it is broken. Not you. Don’t let anyone make you feel guilty about your lack of productivity.
And if writing cathartic fan fic, pandemic fiction, cosmic horror, etc, makes you feel better, do it even if it’s not what you normally do.
Just do you.