Isolated Thoughts

The combination of the rainy weather and the self isolation that we’re practicing to try to avoid the potentially deadly effects of COVID-19 has found me spending more time than usual at my computer. I started working from home on Thursday morning, well in advance of the beginning of the exponential growth of infection. I hope the measures that have been put in effect manage to help us avoid the potential devastation that the virus threatens. Only time will tell.

I have been thinking a bit about creativity in general and writing in particular. As I was writing an entry in my journal while listening to a livestream on the Reina del Cid channel, I recalled something that I’ve known for a long time but haven’t thought about recently. The best lyrics tell stories. They are more constrained by their form than prose stories are but the same principles that I’ve been studying to improve my short stories apply equally to writing songs.

Another thing that I’ve known for a while but keep forgetting, the more constraints you place on yourself, the more your creativity seems to be stimulated. Constraints come in all sorts of varieties. You may be constrained by the length of the piece or the audience. You may be constrained by the genre or the vocabulary. The list of possible constraints is virtually endless but the more constraints that you put on yourself, the better the results seem to be.

Even though my commute is only twenty minutes each way, I find those forty minutes give me time to play my guitar and other things that have been falling off my plate lately. I’m lucky in that I am working on a project that is already widely geographically distributed so that it is just as effective for me to work from home as it is to go in to the office. I expect after a week or two of this I may start to get cabin fever and miss seeing my other colleagues but being able to reduce my chances of getting sick are much appreciated.

I have a number of writing projects that I’m working on but I’m going to reward myself when I meet my writing milestones by spending time writing songs and recording them with Garage Band. It’s been a long time since I’ve done that. I’m looking forward to it.

I don’t usually think of myself as an introvert. I get lonely when I’m stuck for long periods of time alone on a project. But in this case, I’m looking for the silver lining. Spending time on my computer writing, composing, reading, and all the other things that I don’t usually have enough time for is going to be a good consolation prize for having to be isolated for a while.

This will give me an opportunity to get ahead of my publishing schedule and get a couple of blog posts ready for weeks when my schedule makes it difficult to write a post. That will help me meet my goal of posting a new post every Monday. I was going to say for a year but I don’t intend to stop then.

This pandemic is not the first that humanity has faced. We are better informed and in many ways better equipped to deal with this one. Maybe we don’t have enough resources to meet the challenge of the worse case scenario but if everyone keeps calm and avoids crowds and washes their hands frequently, perhaps we can curb its severity.