I feel like every writer in the world is going to be pumping out stories about plagues and disease for, like, the next three months. Or however long we’re going to be stuck in this mess.
And I don’t know if that is a great idea. I, for one, am really hoping to not write about disease or outbreak. I think it’s actually important to write about something other than the current reality that we face and I have reasons why.
The biggest issue I have with plague-writing in our current moment is that it feels like we are just obsessing over our reality. We need to be socially distant, we need to be making sure that we are considering others over ourselves, and we need to be aware of the news and updates. We are literally in a situation where there is no choice in the matter. To keep ourselves and our loved ones safe, we need to be invested in this situation.
That does not need that we also need to be writing about it.
Look, you are free to not listen to me. That’s cool. Write a shit ton of stories about disease if that makes you feel better. Do what makes you feel better. You need it. The world feels like it’s falling apart.
However, I would guide you to not obsess over something more than you already have to. I spend a good deal of my day refreshing the news trying to see what is coming down the pike. And I refuse to spend the little time I have away from the news and the world, aka my writing time, further thinking about the doom and gloom that we are currently facing.
I encourage you to indulge in other doom and gloom.
Watch horror films and tv. Read horror novels and short stories. But leave the pandemic sub-genre alone right now. Come back when we’re out of quarantine. Give yourself the freedom to enjoy yourself.
Listen, I’m a horror writer and fanatic. I love the genre because it is literally a horrific take on society. Yeah, it’s scary. But it’s also fun to see how social conventions and structures can be challenged within a genre that is usually written off as trash cinema.
Again, do what’s best for you.
For me, I am hanging back, working from home, and still writing. That doesn’t stop either. Give yourself the space you need, but never forget that the work keeps going. If the work keeps you sane, like it does for me, than it can’t stop.
Right now, you’ll need it more than ever.