This whole lockdown situation actually already started for me in January. I was newly pregnant and terrified of getting the flu - and equally terrified of getting a flu shot while pregnant. Therefore, I chose self-isolation and reduced all human contact to a minimum. My husband had to shower off and wash hands every day when he came back from work and I washed my hands frantically whenever I'd left the house - in short, I prepared splendidly for these times of corona virus.
In order to get informed about the flu shot, I visited my doctor and told her I would hardly get the flu with the limited access I had to people. I work from home, I don't have kids in school or kindergarten, etc. butshe said, "All it takes is one person, though."
Her message concerning the flu is now permeating the toxic air around the corona virus as well. Just one person suffices to spread the disease - you may not have contact with anyone for weeks but then meet one person and you've got yourself a virus. This is what we're being told (and it is true), which is why social distancing is so important.
Considering my doctor's statement regarding the flu, and now the corona virus, it is a rather scary thought and makes everyone around you the potential anti-Christ, but looking at this idea from a different angle might also bear a hopeful note.
As a writer you are used to constant rejection. I could plaster the walls with rejection letters from editors, publishing houses and agents, as well as potential new clients. Being a writer means going through the humiliating job hunt and interview process again and again and again. It is a constant aspect of your career and can cause depression in the best (you may be interested in my post on writing and depression here). When sifting through the mass of agents who say, "thanks but no thanks", you wonder how you could ever believe in yourself and start doubting yourself vigorously, at least I do.
And you may read the stories of other writers to cheer you up - for we all know them. The world-acclaimed Harry Potter series landed on the agent desk of Christopher Little who actually does not publish children's books. His assistant skimmed through the first chapters of the first book in her lunch break (or so they tell) and loved it so much she encouraged Little to read it. Little then took it home and his little daughter found it, read it, loved it and demanded to know how the story continues. Then the story was rejected by twelve publishers before a relatively new publishing house agreed to give it a shot.
Stephen King's world bestseller "Carrie" was tossed into the bin by the author himself until his wife Tabitha, after fishing it out, encouraged him to continue writing it. However, over thirty publishers rejected the bestseller before it finally hit the shelves. And I could go on with many other famous books, but to sum it up, these books wouldn't sit on our shelves and have a readership of millions of fans, hadn't it been for this one person who believed in them - contrary to all trends and purposes.
When I sift through the writer's guide with all the agents' names in them, I think that from all these hundreds of names in there, I just need ONE to believe in me and my story. Now, finding this person can be a Sisyphus task and getting published quickly only means you had the sheer luck to stumble upon someone soon who believed in you - much like when you find the love of your life with nineteen while others search and search and search for years.
I know that my doctor had to inform me about the risks of the flu, but considering my remote lifestyle and precautions taken, I guess the chances of me actually catching it were incredibly low. But I could have swiped hands with the wrong person, could have forgotten to wash hands and would have fallen ill.
Equally, I might send my next email to someone who happens to be the right person, loves the stories I write and wants to work on them - for it only takes one person. Jo Rowling has worked with Christopher Little ever since her publication success and, to my knowledge, they have become something close to friends. It lay in Little and one person in Bloomsbury Publishing to turn a wonderfully quirky story of a young woman into a mass phenomenon that we cannot think away from contemporary literature anymore. Same goes for Stephen King. It took his wife and a publisher to encourage him and believe in his new way of storytelling, and today it has become a canonical work.
When you as a writer get blue about the many rejection letters fluttering into your mailbox, you may want to think that, in these times of virus spreading, one person can make a huge difference. One person can stop the chain of spreading, but one person can also be the link to your success, so the only thing you have to do is keep looking until you find them - and catch them.
Writer. Editor. Blogger. YouTuber. Freelancer. Traveller. English fanatic.