I’ve had change on my mind, and it’s no wonder why.
As vaccines are distributed, perhaps you, like me, have found yourself with more questions than you would have expected.
What will the world look like in the coming weeks and months? Who will we be as people? How will we interact with the world alongside which we changed?
The conclusion I’ve reached? We’ll be the same as before, but different.
Lessons from Writing
The more I considered this notion of as before, but different, the less surprising it became. Change underwrites all storytelling, after all, and for me it’s been the foundation of arriving at a better understanding of myself.
For example, someone in my circles recently mentioned one either writes to music or one does not; there is no middle ground. On its face, I understood the motivation for this statement. It’s oft-repeated, and whether you’re a writer or not, you likely know whether you embrace music as the backdrop to your toilings or if silence is more your speed (or sound, as it were).
But then, I remembered.
Years ago, particularly when I first started putting pen to paper for my earliest works of fiction, I required absolute silence to get words on the page. Over time, however—and I’m not sure when, exactly—the need to drown out other noises (mewling cats, most likely) drove me to start playing music, softly, in the background.
Now? I can’t write without music of some kind directing my focus.
The same has been the case for me where writing on a schedule is concerned, what with my having spent years writing whenever I had a free minute before finally instituting a regular routine.
Then there’s the Multiple Manuscript Mystery. How does one go about actively working on more than one manuscript at a time? For so long, I never had an answer to that question.
I could, of course, draft one manuscript in the morning while querying another in the afternoon, but actively revising two manuscripts across back-to-back hours? Unthinkable!
Or, well, it was unthinkable until I gave it a try.
As Before, But Different
When first undergoing these mindset shifts, I struggled. In no case was it as if a switch flipped overnight, and the process is, in so many ways, ongoing. Even for these now long-entrenched habits of writing while music plays or doing my daily writing duty at dawn, I must sometimes make exceptions.
But in the end, it all integrates. The writing goes on, but at a different time of day, to a different soundtrack, and with any number of manuscripts in any number of stages. What changes, really, is not the routine so much as my outlook, and it’s for this shift that I’m most grateful.
No matter the scale, these changes tend toward a new balance, and though one might be discomfited to know balance is ever-fleeting—that future is never truly certain—I take solace in this—
What comes next is always, in some way, that which was before.
So, what will the world look like in the coming weeks and months? Who will we be as people? How will we interact with the world alongside which we’ve changed?
No one knows the answers to those questions—not precisely—but what we do know is the world will be as before, but different, and I’m very much looking forward to the latter.
"Reminiscent of Hemingway and De Lillo. I highly recommend this collection."
-Award-Winning Author Ivy Ngeow