As we begin to come through the pandemic, and we become more confident due to vaccines, our schedules may be returning more to normal -- especially as we move toward the warmer months. We will be able to be outside more, and even get back to visiting our extended families or attending the writing groups in person. In other words, some of our lives will return to normal.
In preparation for that, this may be a good time to look around at what changes we might want to make in our writing lives. Do we want to go back to all the old bad habits or do we want to change and perhaps develop some new good writing habits.
One thing that has happened for me is the the loss of attending regular writing groups. Critique groups were no longer meeting in person and our weekly critiques turned into online critiques. Our regular writers' organization meetings were held virtually, which to me was actually a wonderful opportunity. I was able to partake more easily in the discussions from my comfortable writing chair as opposed to spending an hour or two driving to the meetings and looking for parking.
Perhaps what I missed most was the opportunity to check in with others on their writing during those breaks in the meetings or when we were waiting for the sessions to start. But the online sessions have also given me a chance to attend Zoom sessions with writing groups all across the country.. I've even attended one that was given by a group on Canada, which was very worthwhile since I am working on a book that is a sequel to one of my early books set in British Columbia. While I didn't get the chance to visit my favorite spot in Vancouver, I was able to learn about the court system given in a lesson aimed at helping writers get their facts straight.
The pandemic and Zoom meetings have also given me the opportunity to connect online with other writers who are also stuck at home and looking for ways to keep their muses busy while so many things around us are unpredictable. Writing a book set in a dystopian world where half the popular has fallen victim to a pandemic no longer seems like a subject I would want to tackle in a book.
At the same time, it also has given me time to go back and look over old projects and go back to work
on sequels I might have wanted to do -- hence that plan to bring back some of my old favorite characters and place them in a new setting or a new story.
As writers, we often live in our own little worlds, worlds we create and it's sometimes easier to retreat to those places to dwell among our characters. I was always stricken by a comment made by best selling mystery author Robert Crais at a writing convention years ago. The convention was held in Los Angeles where he lives and the scene of his popular Elvis Cole and Joe Pike novels, and one of his comments to us was that he was a little late because he'd found it difficult to leave the world of Joe and Elvis.
Sometimes I know exactly how we feels. As writers we need to take ourselves into those worlds and see and feel the world about which we are writing. I guess that's part of why I'm feeling bad about not being able to visit that world in Vancouver that I am creating on the written page. But I take myself into it to get the feel and that in the end, may give me a better story. By taking myself there visually and emotionally I will be better prepared to take my readers there.
It's a lesson that we can all learn -- put yourself in that other world in your mind. It will make your story stronger. Use all the senses -- whether it's what you see, what you smell, what you feel about your location. Putting yourself there can help you to put your readers there.
In the meantime I'm going to enjoy being able to get out more as spring comes and I'm going to soak up every part of what I feel so I can put it into my next story.