Lockdown unlocked my writing mind
In this guest blog, Robert Spencer describes how lockdown helped him get those words – lots of them – onto the page
Pandemic, people dying, a microscopic virus lingers in every breath. I didn’t need a Lockdown Order to keep me off the streets, out of non-essential shops – even, gulp, out of the pub! I retreated to my newly made study now that my son had gone to Uni and didn’t need that spare bedroom when he visited Dad. (Separated parents!)
Order, calm, new PC and big screen, tiny metal keyboard, large comfortable mouse, a printer that worked all the time, which you feed with a large bottle of black ink. What could possibly go wrong? Nothing so far! (Yeah, yeah I know, that’s done it!) Discovery of internet radio and five stations that put out uninterrupted classical music. No gushing voices and certainly no ads, heaven! (Venice Classic Radio is one. Try it.)
Let the writing begin.
And it did. No sitting looking out of the window. The ideas just flowed, the fingers flew, the words piled up. Whether they are the right kind of words in the right order to make a compelling story will be for others to judge. But there are enough of them: over 250,000 in eighteen months! How did I do it? I have often asked myself that very question. I suppose because I am an avid reader, have led a varied and interesting life by making crazy changes (computer expert to fisherman for instance) and being nosy and gregarious. I have experienced some wacky times. Oh, I am also a people watcher and of course an eavesdropper. Nothing you could make up is as incredible as what you can overhear. A favourite was: “I think children are just little grown ups, really.” Yes it was the ‘really’ that really got me!
But the main thing is I have a strong work ethic – always have – and retirement doesn’t quell it. So after breakfast I do some exercises, then sit at my desk and get on with it for at least four hours without breaking off to distract myself by doing something else. Then I do it the next day and the next. It’s like exercise, it gets addictive. You are in your own little world, with no one but you to tell you what to do. Well, so far. I am not published yet. Haha!
But strangely enough (no, not really – remember I am retired), I don’t actually care if a publisher isn’t interested, I have enjoyed myself and kept my brain amused. The downside is when I do get to talk to real people, I tend to talk about my imaginary characters as if they were real too! Perhaps a friend who writes isn’t always your favourite friend. Oh dear! Unless of course they have actually read one of your stories… and enjoyed it!