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How to Not Write in the Pandemic, Early Days

Novelist Rebecca Hardiman gives us an insight into the obstacles that cropped up for writers at the start of the 2020 global pandemic.
How to Not Write in the Pandemic, Early Days

Sit at desk excited to work on new novel. Hear “Mom!” 12-year-old, on virtual school recess, is looking for drill bits to fashion a hook for his gaming headphones. Go to basement for drill. Basement stinks of cat piss and is flooded from last night’s rain. Clean up cat piss, ignore puddles of water and bring drill to son. Dog dumps foul tennis ball at my feet. Ignore dog and return to desk. Ponder the question: What makes people change? Hear “Mom!” Blonde twin can’t find his phone and can I make him blueberry pancakes? Blonde twin is wearing boxers and a Pokemon blanket. It’s noon. Tell him to make his own lunch and he says, “I haven’t eaten breakfast yet.” Return to desk. Need a plot. Google “common plots for novel” and rabbit-hole down the top 10 tropes for fiction. 

(We all have bad writing days, but isn't something better than nothing?)

12-year-old calls “Mom!” He is looking for baking soda. He wants to bake a cake. Go down to kitchen. Dishes are still in sink from dinner last night. Whose turn was it to load? There’s a mixer with gunk all over its blades, the oven is at 350 and smells of old Brussels sprouts. They rebake every time the oven is switched on. Hear a crash and grunts. Brunette twin and blonde twin are upstairs wrestling. Give 12-year-old the baking soda and ask him to clean up after himself. Upstairs, brunette has blonde pinned to the floor. Both are heaving…and smiling. Step over their bodies. Tell them someone’s going to get hurt. Tell them to stop or I will take away their screens forever. 

Return to desk. Husband puts a finger to his lips indicating a conference call. Hear twins bickering loudly. Go to hall and hiss “Quiet” at them. Close office door. Come up with a premise: A child never gets picked up at summer camp. Realize it’s 2 p.m. and we haven’t eaten lunch. Go to kitchen and spread avocado on rice cakes. Husband and I watch three hours of Better Call Saul without meaning to. Remove a hunk of meat from freezer for dinner. Return to desk and type one sentence and delete it. Dog drops filthy ball onto lap. Put on slippers and hat and clip dog into leash and walk him around the block. See neighbor who owns a local restaurant. I worry for him. He’s growing a beard. Everyone is growing a beard. 

Good Eggs

Good Eggs by Rebecca Hardiman

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Home again. Brunette twin is looking for Doritos I hid. Have hidden all treats or children eat them within hours of returning from two-cart, $700 Wegman’s trip. Everyone is eating at all times. Tell brunette twin I’ll disclose the whereabouts of Doritos after he cleans up the flooded basement. He says, “Not worth it.” I say, “Clean the basement anyway.” Blonde twin says, “Mom can you film me ollying on the skate ramp?” Tell him “In a bit” and rest head on desk. Wake up and it’s dinnertime and brunette twin has spent the day beating up his best friends online. Tell him to go enjoy the beautiful outdoors. He laughs. 

Put on mask and vinyl gloves and drive to liquor store which is really just a convenient store that sells cheap wine. Purchase multiple bottles of cheap wine and pack of Newports. Quit smoking years ago. Don’t care. Head to the only green area the cops haven’t cordoned off yet. It’s more of a field than a park. It’s really a parking lot with a small field attached. Get out of minivan, remove mask, sit hiding behind the bumper, unscrew bottle of wine, swig directly from it, and light a cigarette. What makes people change? Must remember to watch blonde twin do skate tricks. Exhale.

Research, interview, and explore the subjects that interest you. Then write about what you've learned in Writing Nonfiction 101: Fundamentals. Writing nonfiction is a great way for beginner and experienced writers to break into the publishing industry.

Research, interview, and explore the subjects that interest you. Then write about what you've learned in Writing Nonfiction 101: Fundamentals. Writing nonfiction is a great way for beginner and experienced writers to break into the publishing industry.

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