4 things writers should do during #Coronapocalypse

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.

4. Write.

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!

22 thoughts on “4 things writers should do during #Coronapocalypse

  1. Sue Cowing says:

    Just learned that Shakespeare, while housebound for the plague, wrote King Lear. No pressure!

    1. Bruce Hale says:

      Forsooth, Sue!

  2. Lizzie says:

    I have plenty of writing ideas, I just need to write them! If I could stop coming up with new ones all the time, I’d be golden

    1. Bruce Hale says:

      Yes, Lizzie, the key is to pick one idea and develop it. You can still keep jotting down the new ideas as they come to you, but unless you take the time to develop one of them, you’ll never get published. Good luck!

  3. I should always social distance from people, and be washing my hands when I get home from somewhere.

    1. Bruce Hale says:

      That’s right, Cryslaine. That’s good for anybody to do, not just writers.

      1. john says:

        your asome

        1. Bruce Hale says:

          Thanks. So are you!

  4. Sal says:

    Bruce Hale you are a amazing write.

    1. Sal says:

      I mean writer

      1. Bruce Hale says:

        Thanks, Sal! I try my best.

  5. Sal says:

    Bruce Hale do you any writing tips for me.

    1. Bruce Hale says:

      Absolutely. Give yourself permission to write the world’s lousiest first draft, knowing that you can always fix things in revision. Also, don’t give up! It takes awhile to learn to be a good writer — practice, practice, practice!

  6. Sal says:

    Hey Bruce Hale did you ever meet Dav Pilkey?

    1. Bruce Hale says:

      Not yet, Sal. But I do love his books, particularly Dog Man!

  7. Sal says:

    I also love dog man and your book especially Clark the Shark.

    1. Bruce Hale says:

      Thanks, Sal!

  8. Sal says:

    Bruce Hale can we be friends?

  9. Sal says:

    Bruce Hale I was one of the kids in the zoom meeting you had you 5th and 4th graders I was the one who was typing Did you ever meet other authors. Also can we be friends?

    1. Bruce Hale says:

      I enjoyed our visit, Sal. Yes, I’ve met lots of other authors at conferences (although not Dav Pilkey). And of course we can be friends.

      1. Sal says:

        Another thing is did you ever meet Jeff Kinney?

        1. Bruce Hale says:

          No, and I haven’t met Charles Waters either — nor JK Rowling. But I have met Matt de la Pena, Dan Santat, Jon Scieszka, Meg Medina, and too many more to count.

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