Welcome to Catherine Fearns, my next guest on my new feature – Isolation For Writers. How do writers, creatives, artists and bookish souls cope with isolation? Is their capacity to cope different from the rest of the population? It’s an interesting question and one that fascinates me.
How is Catherine coping with this enforced isolation?
Here is her answer:
Hi everyone, I’m Catherine Fearns and I’m a writer. I have published three Amazon best-selling crime thrillers with Crooked Cat Books/Darkstroke, and I also write as a music journalist.
Thank you very much to Marjorie Mallon for hosting me on the blog today to write about my personal experience of writing during coronavirus lockdown…
For many people, coping with isolation has been the hardest challenge of these times. But some of us have had to adapt to the loss of isolation. With four school-age children and a husband who worked long hours and travelled extensively, I was used to spending long days, and long evenings, alone in my own world. And I loved it. Now I have a house full of noisy people, twenty-four hours a day, all needing a lot of attention. Not to mention home-schooling. And it’s wonderful too, so much so that I feel guilty about all the terrible things happening in the outside world when we are safe in our family bubble. But finding time to write is a challenge.
Before corona hit, I was finishing the edits on my fourth novel, and at the exciting stage where I had just come up with the concept for my fifth book and ready to get started. Then I was suddenly thrust into this new and very confined world. It’s difficult to get into the right headspace for novel-writing when you can only snatch a few minutes to yourself here and there – you really need long stretches alone to think. But even for writers without children, concentrating is a challenge at the moment.
Are you finding it hard to focus on reading a book? To tear yourself away from the news, from social media?
Low-level yet constant anxiety has become a way of life for everyone. When you’re living with such uncertainty, worrying about vulnerable family members, friends losing their jobs, wondering when this will be over and what the world will be like afterwards…
I found an experimental strategy to keep myself writing. I decided to start writing my new novel as a serial, and to let readers experience the process in real-time. I post two new chapters every week on my website, bite-size so readers have time to read them, and I have time to write them! Readers can even interact if they wish, by adding comments and suggestions. This concept actually works perfectly for the dystopian theme of the book, and I have been using a variety of media to tell the story, including audio files, images, video and letters.
I do feel a little reckless, posting my unedited work for readers to see, but it has also been liberating and confidence-building. Most importantly, putting that pressure on myself means that I have to get the words down every day. I try and wake up an hour before the kids, and if I still need more time, I suggest that we all have a reading and writing hour after lunch.
I’m aware that none of this makes financial sense. I may be shooting myself in the foot by making a whole book available for free when I could have waited and published traditionally. But I don’t think I would have had the discipline or concentration to write during this period otherwise. And I wanted to offer something, however small, to readers who might just need an extra little activity in their day.
Nobody should feel they have to achieve things during this time of corona. It’s ok to just be – to stay safe, spend time with family, read and relax. But my personal coping strategy has been to create a little something every day. And I have to admit that one of the things I’m looking forward to most when this is over is to spend a day alone!
Link to #VIRTUE, the novel being serialised on my website:
Buying Link: mybook.to/reprobation
Buying Link: mybook.to/consumingfire
Buying Link: mybook.to/sound
I’ve really enjoyed finding out more about you and your creative work.
It is so kind of Catherine to offer her serialised novel Virtue for free at this time.
Thank you so much for being my guest, Catherine and wishing you much success, good health and happiness.
Authors/creatives/artists/book bloggers who might be interested in sharing their thoughts on quarantine life, please do get in touch.
Topics such as:
Writing, reading, creativity, productivity/isolation during this time.
Home life, thoughts and fears.
Coping with anxiety and stress.
Hopes for the future during these strange times.
If you are interested in taking part in this new feature on my blog please email me on: firstname.lastname@example.org, or comment below.
Please share any photos you would like, thoughts, reflections, and of course your book links, book descriptions/photos, author bios and the like. All welcome.
Stay safe and well my lovelies.
Social Media Links:
Authors Website: https://mjmallon.com
Twitter: @Marjorie_Mallon and @curseof_time
#ABRSC: Authors Bloggers Rainbow Support Club on Facebook
My amazon author page: https://www.amazon.co.uk/M-J-Mallon/e/B074CGNK4L/
Very interesting… thanks Marje and Catherine. I do think that after this has passed that writers will have gained some interesting insights into life in isolation and it will bring an extra dimension to their characters. We all face trauma and loss in our lives and around us with family and friends, but seldom have we had a front row seat for a global catastrophe.. stay safe.
Thanks for popping by Sally. Yes no doubt that will be the case. Sadly we will have a lot of material but some of it will be positive too. The human interest stories are everywhere.
Yes I’m sure this unprecedented scenario will give writers new insights and inspiration. Although I wonder what publishers will be looking for in the months to come… there may be a rush of apocalyptic manuscripts, but I suspect there will be a demand from readers for feel-good literature. I know my next book to read will be something relaxing. By coincidence I was half-way through Stephen King’s The Stand (a classic horror novel about a global pandemic) when the corona lockdown started, and I’m determined to get through it but it’s not good timing!
Apparently, a scottish bloke, his name escapes me wrote a novel called Lockdown that was turned down by publishers. They said it was too implausible that London would ever be in Lockdown! Now that it has become reality he is being published. Do share your thoughts on The Stand when you finish it Catherine.
Very good points. I think it will be dependent on how it all plays out as to our desire to read novels about it. Up to now the books like On the Beach, The Stand and other post apocalyptic novels where ‘what if’…
I initially found it hard having people around me all the time too, but I have become used to it and it is easier now. The home schooling is tough and intrusive when I am working but that is life and it isn’t really worse than being in an office and having all those irritating interruptions when I think about it. I think keeping going is the main thing, maintaining momentum in any way that works for you.
I don’t mind having people around me but it seems to bother my hubby more. I’m on furlough from work but even before that when I was working from home I didn’t mind it. But I have grown up kids. No home schooling needed! Keeping busy is without a doubt the key to keeping anxiety at bay.
Yes you’re right, you do get used to it, and the house is going to feel very empty and quiet afterwards! I’m also enjoying this extra time with my children and having this unique opportunity to get involved with their learning. Good luck for the weeks to come!
Fascinating post! Thank you Marje and Cathering. The books are super intriguing. I’m going to check them out. 😀 xo
Good to know Vashti. Thanks for popping by. 🙂
Reblogged this on Have We Had Help? and commented:
Some5thing from our Marje…
Thank you for sharing Jack. 🙂