Raise your hand if you’ve been having trouble concentrating this last week. With Coronavirus sweeping the world, it’s been hard to think about anything other than keeping your #SocialDistance and what you will do now it’s impossible to find toilet paper.
If you’re lucky enough to be able to work from home, you’re also facing the new challenges of staying on task. As someone who has worked from home for years, I know that the lure of wandering to the kitchen for a snack every ten minutes is strong. I also know that sitting down to eat lunch with the TV “in the background” can quickly turn into an afternoon of watching Medium reruns instead of working.
With everything happening in the world, there’s also plenty of writing hours lost to checking news cycles and Twitter feeds, which only amps up your anxiety and zaps all your creative energy.
I’ve been feeling this too, but I’ve still got a job to do and books to write, so here are some tips for getting back to your keyboard.
How To Stay Creative When The World Is On Fire
Escape Into A Book Or TV Series
Even though you’re trying to make progress on your own work, if you’re finding it hard to do that, you might need to escape for a little while into a book or TV series that will spark your creativeness.
When you read a good book or watch a great TV show, it’s hard not to get creative yourself.
Allow yourself to escape into a different world for a while and see if it helps. You might even like a little book I know of that features a small town, an MC with memory loss, witches, magical powers, a dark forest, and a mystery to solve. This shameless self-promotion has been brought to you by my debut, Blackbirch: The Beginning, which you can learn more about/buy here.
Recharge With Exercise
If you can still leave your house, and the weather permits, get yourself some fresh air and go for a walk. If you’re stuck indoors, do anything that’ll get your body moving (exercise bike, exercise DVDs/YouTube videos/Apps, etc).
I often find that plot ideas and breakthroughs come to me when I’m working out and letting my mind wander. Keeping your body healthy is also important, especially in times like these. You should also find yourself more refreshed after exercising and full of endorphins, which is perfect for creating!
Connect With Others
Not only is it a good idea to connect with others during times of isolation (and please check on anyone vulnerable with a phone/video call), but if you’re stuck for inspiration, chances are someone else is too.
Reach out to the online writing community, who’ve been hanging out in self-isolation before it was mandatory, and get talking about what has you stuck. Ask other writers how they’re continuing to work and if they have any tips. Even discussing your fears with them or a trusted friend or family member will go a long way to helping clear your head and get back to your WIP.
Remind Yourself Of Your Why
Why do you write? There’s got to be a reason and chances are that hasn’t changed just because the world is out of sync right now. Remind yourself of your why and get writing again.
Know That It’s Temporary
It might not feel like it, or we might not know how long this new world order will be in place, but it will eventually pass and things will evolve into a new normal. In the meantime, you could have had that edit finished, that book outlined, or those blog posts stockpiled like the hoarders who stole everyone’s toilet paper and hand wash.
Don’t Forget That People Need Books
If we’re going to be in lock-down or self-isolation for a while, the world needs books. There is only so much Netflix you can watch or so many rounds of Monopoly you can take before the game tears you and your loved ones apart.
Finish your book, get things written, share what you can with the world while we’re all looking for things to fill time and brighten our day.
Create And Stick To A Routine
The world might be on fire, but it’s still turning. If the previous tips haven’t gotten you back into your usual writing mode, create yourself a routine and stick with it.
That could mean writing for the first hour of the day or doing a twenty-minute writing sprint every hour. You could even try putting your phone away and turning off the Internet so you stay away from those distracting news cycles. There are ways to get back into writing when you don’t feel like it, and the most important and easiest way to do that is to just start.
Let Go Of The Guilt
It’s okay to be overwhelmed with the world, and it’s perfectly fine to take a break if you need to. Don’t let the guilt of not writing stop you from writing, though. Feel what you need to feel and then feel your way back into your WIP.
Writers know the power of words and how just the simple act of stringing them into sentences can save you. Remember that when things feel hopeless and let it fuel your creativeness. It’s something we’re all going to need in the next few months and beyond.
— K.M. Allan