Friday 22 May 2020

Recalibrate - Heather Dyer

It’s just after dawn and I’m sitting in my easy chair in front of the patio doors. My dog is on my lap, and I’m cradling a cup of coffee. Outside, the sparrows are going about their business.  At this time of day, living out here, it's easy to believe that nothing has changed.
But of course, everything has changed. Offices are empty. Hospitals are chaotic. Flights have been grounded, and the pandas in Hong Kong are mating. And the projects I was so invested in two weeks ago feel irrelevant. But I still feel an urgency to write, to produce, to make something out of all of this….
Then, scrolling through my emails, I discover an article called, ‘Why You Should Ignore All That Coronavirus-Inspired Productivity Pressure’.
Professor Aisha Ahmad has lived through several crises, and her reflections are wise, calm and kind. First, she says, establish your physical security and get your team in place. Then, she says, we must, ‘abandon the performative and embrace the authentic.’ She says we must focus on real internal change.
Yes! This is the creative process. We mustn’t try to keep treading along the previous tracks. We must stop and recognize new directions, new patterns. The world has shifted, so our thinking needs to shift.
On the other side of this shift, says Ahmad, ‘your wonderful, creative, resilient brain will be waiting for you. […] New ideas will emerge that would not have come to mind had you stayed in denial. Continue to embrace your mental shift. Have faith in the process. Support your team.’
Aisha Ahmad has written another article on Productivity and Happiness Under Sustained Disaster Conditionswhich follows on from the first.

Heather also blogs at  

Heather Dyer is a consultant in writing for children. She provides writing and publishing advice through The Literary ConsultancyThe Writers' Advice Centre for Children's Books, and privately. If you’re ready for feedback on your work-in-progress contact Heather at

Heather’s children’s novel The Girl with the Broken Wing was one of Richard and Judy’s book club picks, and The Boy in the Biscuit Tin was nominated for a Galaxy Best British Children’s Book award. Heather also teaches creative writing for the University of the Creative Arts, and facilitates workshops in creative thinking techniques for creatives and academics.


stephan braun said...


Penny Dolan said...

Comforting thoughts during a stressful time.