Covid-19 seems to have affected a lot more things than I anticipated.

For one thing, I’m still trying to get used to the fact that nobody else is going to be in my flat anytime soon.  I don’t have to sniff all the liquid soaps in the supermarket to make sure they’re not too girly for male guests.  I don’t have to invest in posh paper napkins.  There’s no point trying out recipes to see if they might impress the family. 

I can spray on perfumes without fretting about whether they’ll offend.  (Perfume is my passion but not necessarily everyone else’s.)

And writing has become impossible.

See, I have a character in a boat on a loch and things are about to happen to her.  I know where she is, and why.  I just can’t decide WHEN she is.


The pandemic has changed the world.  Do you set your ‘contemporary’ story just far enough in the past to not acknowledge Covid-19 ?  And if you do, should it include ominous foreshadowings?  Or if you decide to exclude current events, will your story be relevant to readers? 

We can’t aim for a future, post-Covid-19 world, because we don’t know that there will ever be a post-Covid-19 world, or what the future looks like. 

The Guardian recently published an article about writers’ lockdown blues:

“I’m finding it incredibly difficult to work out what to do,” says Holly Watt, author of To the Lions, winner of the 2019 CWA Ian Fleming Steel Dagger. She is working on her next novel, the third in her series following investigative journalist Casey Benedict, which was due to be published in summer 2021.

“I’m trying to work out where we might be. Might there be a vaccine? Will getting on a plane feel wildly anachronistic? Will journalists working from an office seem weird? How interesting can a book actually be when everyone is sitting in their sitting room in their pyjamas?” Watt asks. “It feels odd to be writing about people hopping on trains or popping to the pub, but focusing on Covid might make it date hideously. But if you don’t mention it, it is the massive elephant in the room.”

How are you dealing with this?