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Navigating the Sea Change
Feature writer Cory Goodman answers a question about working during the pandemic and shares words of wisdom about keeping focused when the world intrudes.
Writing features can be a solitary business, but that doesn’t mean feature writers’ work hasn’t been affected by the pandemic. Screenwriter Cory Goodman (Underworld: Blood Wars, The Last Witch Hunter) describes how he manages to keep working during these unprecedented times, and offers his thoughts on how to cope with the resulting distractions.
Question: “How are you navigating work during this pandemic? How has the pandemic impacted your life?”
Cory Goodman: Prior to the pandemic I spent my writing time toiling away in co-working spaces. Some writers like to be sealed in a cone of silence when they work. I’ve always preferred a hubbub around me. The trick, of course, is not to get sucked into the hubbub.
As the epidemic took root, it quickly became clear it was time to put my beloved co-working space on pause. I came home, rummaged through the garage, pulled out an old card table and set it up in my bedroom as a makeshift desk.
And here I am, almost one year later. Still at that card table.
It’s a much more hermetic existence, but, at the same time, not as much of a sea change as one might think. Instead of an overwrought producer yelling into his phone or a clutch of gabby tech start-ups comparing notes by the coffee machine, I have a different kind of hubbub. Whether it’s my dog roughly nudging my elbow for a quick pet or my daughter bursting in demanding a rescue duck to help “round out the family.”
Sure, these distractions are a lot cuter and cuddlier, but they’re also harder to ignore. So where does that leave my power of focus? What happens when the head bubble gets ‘popped’? I take a breath, sit back down and try and hold to my mantra: “Butt in seat equals words on the page.” (Thank you, Oliver Stone!)
Some days I hold to it better than others.
On the days I don’t? I try not to beat myself up. On the days I successfully pull it off? I try not to get too cocky. One day at a time.
One of the wonderful things about what we do for a living is that, no matter what’s happening outside in the larger world or even in the immediate area around you, it doesn’t necessarily have to affect the space between you and your computer screen. That space can be sacred. And it is.
Pandemic or not, writing is writing.
READ MORE: Feature writers discuss how the pandemic has affected their work, speculate on what kinds of stories will see theatrical release moving forward, and offer practical advice on pitching and staying focused.
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