• Madeline Oliver

Writing in Covid world

I think most Australians have been knocked sideways by the pandemic, particularly in NSW as it followed a summer where our world had been burning. Dusting ourselves off, it was tempting to make a resolution to do a lot more writing, since work and social life had rapidly declined for many of us.

But it wasn't as simple as that. For weeks, anxiety was sky high, as we tried to assess the true risk of infection and do whatever we could to contain it. My facilitated writing group, the Writers' Gym, moved to Zoom, which was a big learning curve for all of us. We didn't want to leave our beloved Gleebooks, where we'd been welcomed for so many years, and where we felt at home. But from one week to the next - it happened. The upside was that the Zoom seminar was easier to access, so that more people attended more regularly and the better regularity did seem to support regular writing among group members.

Other upsides I've noticed include better access to the seminars my other professional organisations offer, such as the AWG and AFTRS. I've moved into tv writing in the last couple of years and have been Zoom-meeting my tv writing partner a couple of days a week, barely missing a beat. And I've been able to access some of the seminars that Sezzajai, the facilitator at the NT Writers' Centre, has offered - impossible before.

So writing in the pandemic has been a matter of 'swings and roundabouts'.

For me, the pandemic has thrown my professional trajectory into question. What am I doing, and why? This question now seems more urgent than before, and it's still not settled, though the figures in Australia are now encouraging and 'normal life' is returning whether we like it or not. But for me, my writing life won't be the same. In some ways, though, I expect it to be better.


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