Samuel Smiles famously said, “Lost wealth may be replaced by industry, lost knowledge by study, lost health by temperance or medicine, but lost time is gone forever.”
Smiles was a Scottish reformer and author of the early 1800s. His saying stands through time, as we slowly begin to recover from the global pandemic. The lockdown, now in its last leg, gives hope for a return to normalcy slowly but steadily.
But as we gradually inch towards the end, we must analyse how we used our time under the lockdown.
The bright side is that it has given all of us a much-deserved break. Some of us used this time to learn something new, whereas a few have used this time to pursue their long-lost passions. A few have also rediscovered their true calling and have been working towards it.
Isn’t this supposed to be the worst time to be a writer? Writers look for the outside world for inspiration. Aren’t these unprecedented times supposed to lock down the creative minds? Also, aren’t these times of economic crises challenging on freelancers? But it’s not always what we expect. The lockdown, for writers, has come in the form of a blessing. Finally, finding time to move out of their routine, writers all around have been able to discover new interests, learn new skills or even pursue their side-lined projects.
Sakal Times spoke to a few writers from various fields, to know how their lockdown has been.
LEARNING SOMETHING NEW
Sandipan Banerjee is a freelance writer and a globetrotting cricket journalist. The Kolkata-based writer has used this lockdown to learn new skills and try his hand at social media. Sharing his experience, he said, “What I am doing right now is focusing on feature pieces, mostly non-traditional pieces. I have actually been wanting to focus on these projects for a long time, but due to my regular assignments, I never found the time. But now there is time, and scope and organisations are looking for those timeless features.”
“Thinking back, this lockdown has helped me focus on a lot of new things. Before the lockdown I had a feeling, my work was becoming monotonous. But as they say, desperate times need desperate measures. I am exploring a lot of avenues,” he added.
Talking about his takeaway from the lockdown Banerjee said, “The lockdown has helped me learn new thing, and it will definitely help me in the future. I have learned video editing; I have learned to podcast both writing and editing. Now when I resume work, I think I will be better equipped in my profession.”
BREAKING THE PATTERN
The silver lining to the lockdown is that life has become slow-paced. It has given us more time to focus on ourselves and the things that we enjoy doing.
Screenwriter and producer, Subodh Khanolkar has been working with the Marathi entertainment industry for the last thirteen years. He has written scripts and stories for various Marathi television series and owns an advertising agency.
Talking about his experiences under the lockdown, he says, “Initially when the lockdown was announced, I was happy. I thought I would finally get some quiet and relaxed time to work. But soon, I realised, for a writer going out, meeting people and interacting with them is very important. That’s where we find our inspiration. Sitting at home, not knowing what will come next makes it difficult to work.”
But the lockdown has given him a chance to take a break from the normal and invest his time in doing things he likes.
“Before the lockdown, I would work for more than thirteen to fourteen hours. I never had the time to read books. Fortunately, now I have a lot of time,” he said happily.
He has also used this time to break away from the mundane. “Because I write stories, my pattern of thinking revolved around stories. But I am trying to break that pattern. I have been using my time to watch documentaries or something that is visually stimulating to break the story-oriented thought pattern. This lockdown has proven to be my time to reinvent myself.”
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
“What is happened is that the genre I write for is travel. Since the travel industry has taken a hit and normally, we associate travel with high energy. Due to this lockdown and the situation in the country is going through, there is a general sense of apathy. Personally, I do have projects but I am unable to bring in the happiness of excitement into my writing,” says Shreya.
Shreya Nandy is a freelance travel writer. Though she’s used to the work from home routine, she feels that the situation around her is affecting her writing. But that hasn’t stopped her from making the best use of her time.
Sharing her daily schedule, she says, “I have divided my day into four activities. I begin my day with meditation and follow it up with writing meditation. I start my workday and, in the evening, I dedicate my time to giving back to society.”
“I work as a volunteer writer with an eco-travel organisation that talks against poaching and support animal rights. Writing for them gives me the satisfaction of doing something good from home,” she adds.
Concluding, she said, “You do not have to give money to do good. If you have skills, you can help from wherever you are.”
“As a copywriter, I have to focus my attention on promoting my brand while also promoting staying indoors. We need to come up with ideas, but there is a serious lack of motivation. I miss being able to interact with my friends and colleagues. But there is no use in complaining. We have to do this and find a way to work,” says Kunal.
Working in the field of copywriting for the last five years, Kunal Kher (name changed on request) is finding it hard to keep working from home. But the lockdown has helped him find some ideas for work.
“I realised thinking about the time when this is over made me happy. So, I started working towards curating ideas for the coming months. I have made a catalogue of ideas and designs which I can refer to in the future,” he said.
Excited about his work, he adds, “I am sure this will become my source of inspiration in the time to come.”
The lockdown has been a tough time for everyone. But making the best use of our time is what teaches us and helps us grow.