There aren’t many words to describe the events of 2020, not least for the mass movements, one particular world leader’s disaster of a final year in office and of course Coronavirus. Yes, the scourge of the 21st century, the worst plague of modern times and a force so great it has kept most civilised people locked away in their homes.
With his own very unique view of the world, everyone’s favourite cubist artist extraordinaire, Pablo Picasso said that ‘Without great solitude, no serious work is possible’. Of course, while forced isolation is not quite the same as self-imposed solitude, time waits for no man and should not be wasted.
Like a special birthday off work or a well-earned scheduled holiday, the best use of one’s time could be used for deep inner reflection. One of the greatest writers of our time Deepak Chopra had this to say: ‘Yes, in all my research, all the great leaders looked inwards and were able to tell a good story...’
For all the horrors that the worldwide pandemic has brought to the fore, it isn’t the end of the world and the worst might be past us. As we use our time in isolation, we could reflect on the past, the present or the future.
One’s failings could be considered but it isn’t really the past that defines who we are, it is what we do right now with our conscious choices. That is the only moment where we have any real control. The past cannot be changed and the future is unknowable.
Subscribing to Jung’s archetypes could offer some freedom in reflection. The persona is how we present ourselves to the world outside, and while reflecting upon this during isolation, it might be a good time to observe any changes that your persona might require.
Although we might be in an isolated state right now, this won’t last long. Perhaps your persona hasn’t been an accurate representation of yourself, because it rarely is. But ask yourself, can you make it better?
Knowing yourself even a little bit more will do wonders for your creative writing process, no matter your discipline. Be it non-fiction, fiction or ghostwriting, like any artist the culmination of all your works from beginning to end is a black and white representation of your true self.
Looking back at your life and work, you shouldn't be afraid to revisit the emotions you were feeling at the time. It might be a good idea to ask what was happening when you wrote a particular piece. Did the events of 9/11 affect your writing? If you are old enough to have been writing when Kennedy was assassinated, how did that change your style?
We might think that world events don’t affect us directly but they do. The collective unconscious, or “Zeitgeist” as it has become known, has a funny way of shaping world perception. Reflecting upon your work and your life right now during the worst pandemic since the Spanish flu will undoubtedly impact your future pieces as you and indeed all of us begin to put this behind us. Although the humanitarian impact of Covid-19 is tragic and horrific, you can use it. Inspiration comes in many forms and we may have just found an abundance.