Writers are easily stymied on even the best days. In our new, coronavirus-filled world, we’re experiencing a lot of ups and downs. So here are 5 strategies that you, my fellow writer, can use to make self-isolation a little more bearable.
1. Create a writing schedule and stick to it.
This one is pretty important, even if you’re not really a schedule person. Choose a designated writing time. Sit down in front of your computer, typewriter, or notebook (some of you might be old fashioned like that) and spend at least five minutes staring at it. You could make that a half hour, full hour, whatever you’re comfortable with. Stare at it and then close it. Make sure you keep going until it becomes a routine.
2. Read out loud.
I’m sure you’ve heard that you can strengthen your writing–especially your dialogue scenes–by reading them out loud. This remains true even in quarantine. But don’t stop there. When I say read out loud, I mean do it for EVERYTHING . Read the news out loud. Read the milk carton label out loud. Read your Smart TV’s menu out loud. Not only will you get better writing instincts, you’ll also get the hatred of anyone quarantined with you.
3. Eliminate distractions.
We’re all tempted to check Facebook and other social media platforms when we’re supposed to be writing and/or editing. I do it too. But it’s important to focus on what really matters: taking out any and all distractions. Look, the world is a mess right now. You’ll focus better on your daydreams and creative ideas if you hire a hitman for your real-world life. Start small. Put a hit on your day job. Then go bigger. Put a hit on COVID-19 itself.
4. Ask for criticism.
Writers have to be thick-skinned. They need to learn how to take punishment. Despite what some romance novels might tell you, it’s not all sexy lingerie and fuzzy handcuffs. Sometimes it’s a highly contagious influenza strain. Now, I’m not saying you should ask the novel coronavirus to critique your writing. But I am saying that the novel coronavirus could show up at your home and ask YOU to critique its work. The best defense is a good offense, as they say, so prepare yourself by getting so much criticism that your entire body develops an impenetrable layer of self-confidence. Then you’ll be immune!
Many writers get stuck on the idea that you have to write linearly. Point A to Point B to Point C. But sometimes jumping around can be really beneficial. That’s a big part of why time travel exists. So don’t write or live chronologically. Get in your time machine of choice and travel to a year that isn’t affected by COVID-19. You’ll get more writing done that way, I promise.
I hope this advice been helpful. Be sure to follow them exactly if you want real* results. Remember, we’re in this together and things will get better. Until then, stay fierce and keep writing.
*Results may vary. This is all sarcastic advice.