“Quarantine? Wow, I’m finally going to have time to write my novel.”
It’s well-meaning excitement, yet for some of us we still have the call of our work laptops, phones, and duties. Even stuck at home, I’m finding that I’m even more busy than the last week in the office — and that’s saying something!
I never walked into this quarantine as a ‘snow day’ opportunity, but it was nice to think that without a one hour commute, I’d be reclaiming those two hours a day to do something I enjoyed. Funny how our intentions to use that time can easily turn into other duties.
While I’ve gotten a lot of cleaning, cooking, and chore-ing done around the house, writing has become more of an afterthought than a priority. Having the energy while at home is a new experience for me, and I’ve been taking advantage of the other things that slipped through my fingers. This isn’t a permanent situation, but it has forced me to be more creative about my writing time.
Here’s how you can make the most of writing during quarantine.
That’s right. My tip for writing during a quarantine is not to write. Here’s why.
You’re home with your family (or pets). You’re now forced to be in tight quarters for an extended period of time. When was the last time you connected with them, just spent time together laughing or playing games, or weren’t stressed about running off to the next sports game or activity?
Take advantage of the time you get to spend with your family. Hug your kids, take time to call loved ones who aren’t nearby, play some games, and just be thankful for your health and each other. Writing will still be there when all of this is over.
Connect with the community
No, not in person.
I’m talking to the writers who have started flocking to the social networks. Twitter is hopping with writing tips, resources, and general writing chat. People are sharing other works, books, articles, and more. The writing community is joining hands and helping each other even more (and we had a great writing community before this).
Head to social media and interact with some of your writer friends or find new ones. Join in on the chats, share your tips, and meet some awesome people. Get writing advice, share work, and be friendly. It’s a great place to be and an awesome time to find more book recommendations!
Attend/Host virtual write-ins
With the library closing meeting rooms, my writing group has been forced to get creative. Last night, we hosted our group online! Everyone hopped on for a quick social chat, logged off to write, and then checked in at the end to share our progress. While sometimes it’s tough to write at home, we had a great turnout and we were able to keep our writing streak.
Look around the social media threads for a virtual write-in to join. Even if you don’t chat, you can at least join in on their challenges or virtual meet-ups and use it to schedule your writing time.
Find sprints or prompts
I’ve noticed a lot of creative ideas from writers on social media. Some are offering prompts to respond to within the thread, a few are declaring word sprints for time periods (similar to NaNoWriMo sprints during November, if you’re familiar), and many are opening up contests with prompts to keep the spirit alive.
Some of the prompts or topics might be out of your element, but give yourself a challenge. See what you can learn or read what others have submitted and grow your craft. Share the ones you like and you might get some love on your work too.
Focus on your health
Sometimes we can feel guilty for “having so much time” and not getting any writing done.
PLEASE DON’T FEEL GUILTY.
Never let writing get in the way of your health. If you can’t bring yourself to write, then don’t worry about it. If you’re struggling, take a break. We all handle things differently.
I know it’s intimidating to see people who share their word counts and how much writing they’ve completed during their quarantine, but remember everyone’s lives are different. They might not have the same responsibilities as you. They also might, but they respond differently to the challenge than you. It’s okay to not be writing.
Focus on your health and do what you can. Cheer on the writers who don’t have time outside of quarantine and finally have the chance to accomplish their dreams. Support other writers who are just using the time to connect on social media. Share and encourage everyone to keep writing because that’s the great thing about our writing community — we are here for everyone.
Instead of giving a CTA to follow my stuff, I challenge you to go on your social media site of preference and find one writer to support. Join a virtual write-in, find a prompt, share someone’s work, or join in on the writing memes.
Stay safe and healthy, everyone.