Navigating my writing life during Covid-19 has been a minefield. Trying to be a proactive writer has never been so challenging. I have to be honest, this pandemic has turned everyone’s lives upside down overnight and I am not unique. Life has become about keeping safe, checking in on loved ones via technology, home schooling (if you have children), adjusting to new routines and ensuring you have enough groceries at home. For some of us, writing has fallen to the bottom of the list of priorities at this time. Alternatively, for others it has birthed inspiration and a window of opportunity for extra writing time. We’re all different and as a result of these new conditions being imposed on our lives, our motivations to write may have changed or been affected for better or worse.
If you’re a writer, you may fall into one of three categories:
The inspired writer
You have taken this time to immerse yourself in your projects and remain inspired despite the challenges facing you. You have cultivated a writing space and routine whereby you can flourish and write prolifically. Though you may be prone to low mood at times, given the circumstances, your writing life remains healthy, possibly even healthier than before lockdown. The extra time has afforded you the opportunity to be proactive with your writing and pursue it aggressively.
The demotivated writer
This new way of life is so alienating that it is hard to know what to do right now. You haven’t necessarily fallen into a routine and you are trying to piece day to day life together much less focus on writing. You may have thought about it but haven’t had time amid your new host of duties, to actually pursue it. Alternatively you may be thinking about the fact that you are not currently writing and guilt tripping yourself over it.
The stuck writer
There is too much angst and worry in your mind for the ideas to be flowing right now. You might have begun to sit down to writing sessions but found that you have writer’s block or writer’s burnout. After all, there is a lot that might be on your mind during these strange, surreal times.
I myself have fallen into all three categories at one point or the other during this Covid-19 pandemic. What is occurring globally with this pandemic presents like a trauma in our lives, even if we don’t realise it. We are all having to withstand the dramatic overnight change of being in a state of lockdown. Subsequently we are all reacting in different ways to this new dimension of stress. Please know that it is okay if you’re not writing now like you used to, there is good reason. You will pick up that pen, laptop or notepad again and write up a storm. And for those of you who are writing up a storm, great! Stay inspired and active.
If you need a spruce to get your writing back in gear and become more of a proactive writer, consider some of the exercises below instead of immersing yourself into projects that you may currently find stressful. The excellent thing about exercises is that they don’t ask much of you, it’s all practice, idea generating and sometimes relaxation.
Here’s a list to help you flex those writing muscles again, no pressure!
Think about what you want to achieve with your writing within a particular frame of time. It can be in the coming weeks, the next few months, even the next year. Come up with a list of realistic bullet points, things that you can actually achieve and feel immensely proud of once you have ticked them off.
Create a mind map focusing on a set aspect of your writing such as a blog idea, a character profile, the events of a chapter or an idea for a new poem.
Go back to some of your older work or an earlier draft of what you are working on to see how far you have already come. Sometimes it is an art in itself to stop and look at what you have achieved and give yourself credit for it. Also, learn to appreciate and use your own writing as a form of entertainment.
Many of us writers are also bookworms so I don’t have to tell many of you out there twice to just sit down and read once in a while. It’s a blissful part of life that is as inspiring as it is entertaining. Need I say more?
Observe life around you. What do you mean, I hear you say! I Am talking about observing the journey you make from the bedroom to the bathroom or the way the water bubbles in your kettle as you wait to make that morning cup of tea? Well, actually yes. Now might be the time to micro-analyse your environment, something might come out it inspiration-wise, honestly, challenge yourself and give it a go. Stare at a plant, look out of your window, play a piece of breath-taking music and see where your mind goes. Then take notes.
Check out this article for 30 more tips to get you motivated to write.
It has become an art to balance all of the things that we are suddenly responsible for. Previously our lives were cut into neat portions, (even if we didn’t think they were) of work, home, the school run, relationships etc. Now these things have blended into one mass and landed in our living rooms and we have been left to turn them into a productive, efficient schedules. Except we are not all perfect and we will all achieve this to varying degrees and that is okay. This is a skill that I am still learning to acquire but with some of the tips I have outlined above, I am beginning to return to my writer’s life.
How has your writing life been affected by these strange times? Are you as proactive as ever or have you found that you have slowed down somewhat? Let me know in the comments below!