So the world has turned upside down and everyone’s freaking out around you? No sweat. You’re a writer. While everyone else is wigging, you’ve got things to do.
No, we’re not talking about stockpiling Spam or making a fort out of toilet paper rolls. I mean actual writerly things. Here are four actions you can take, even while socially distancing, washing your hands, and generally trying to stay healthy:
1. Take notes.
Are you feeling a low-lying sense of dread? Frustration at having plans canceled? Compassion for those stricken down by the virus? Use it. Everything that happens to you is raw material for a story, so be sure to take notes. Observe the wacky behavior (your own and others’), the sensations of fear, the government’s
reactions (or inaction), and write it down. True, you may never pen the Great Coronamerican Novel, but you never know when those notes will come in handy. Those feelings you’re feeling, those things you’re observing could easily end up in another kind of tale altogether.
2. Refine your work.
If you’re an author-speaker like me, use the unexpected time off to tweak your presentations, so they’ll be ready for primetime when things ramp up again. Or you could learn a new skill online (like poetry or Adobe Illustrator), revise an unsold manuscript, or unearth an abandoned story idea.
The point is, you’ve got the time. Rather than freaking out or pacing like a tiger in a cage, use that time productively to further your writerly ambitions.
3. Reach out.
Just because you’re cocooning at home doesn’t mean you can’t reach out to others. Record a video of you reading your work and share it with your readers. Do a livestream storytelling. Hold a writing class on Zoom or Skype. Find ways to share your gifts with others affected by the pandemic, and you may find it’ll lift your spirits too.
You’re stuck at home. What better time to write? Buy yourself some space by finding activities for others in your household (I hear Netflix has a few things to watch), and while they’re distracted, get to your computer. No excuses. If writing equals butt plus chair, this is your opportunity to apply some serious bum glue and get things done. You can’t always count on a global pandemic to clear your schedule for writing, so make the most of it.
And now I’m off to practice what I preach. Stay healthy, stay sane, and keep on writing!