Flock: My resolution is simple: to write every day — every morning. Writing is a muscle that you strengthen or let atrophy. Now that I’ve let it atrophy, it is very hard to get going again. Yet get going I must. The step to reach that intention is to simply do it. It’s not more complicated than that.
What lesson about writing most influenced your writing during 2020? What do you hope to learn in 2021?
Flock: The lesson about writing actually came from a documentary filmmaker: She said she seeks to make films on pressing social issues that her aunt who watches Pakistani soap operas and her cousin who binges “Breaking Bad” will actually watch. I think about my writing that way as well. I seek to write on the issues most important, but with narrative propulsion, so that everyone will read it, whether they care about the issues at the beginning or not.
Gottlieb: That I need emotional space in order to create. In 2021, I will be saying no to everything and stop feeling obligated to respond to unsolicited emails.
How did your writing change during the pandemic?
Flock: I have written very little during the pandemic, and tried to be gentle with myself about that. I hope others will be gentle with themselves about it as well. Someone said to me that there is a time to take things in and there is a time to write. 2020 was a time to take things in. Now perhaps it’s time to write.
Gottlieb: It was responding to the moment — triage writing.