I don't know about you, but my initial thoughts about sheltering in place during the COVID-19 pandemic was that at least I'd have the time to write. Instead, I've felt unfocused and scattered. I can only seem to concentrate on pieces of my writing for short (10 mins. or so) bursts of creativity and then I'm puttering around doing anything other than writing or browsing mindlessly on the internet. I realized that in these unprecedented times, to keep being inspired and motivated, I've had to shift my perspective, starting with giving myself permission not to write.
Here are 5 things to help keep your writing going during COVID-19:
1) 10 mins. of writing is better than no writing at all. Every second counts, every word counts. Be kind to yourself. You are not a failure as a writer because you can only get 10 mins. of productive writing in.
2) Get off the computer. Take the dog for a walk. Doing something physical and outdoors can help re-focus your energy and your mind. I'm fortunate to live in a rural location where there aren't many people around. If you are in a denser area, remember your social distancing. And wash your hands when you get back.
3) Read or watch a video on craft or publishing-related tips. Getting specific tips on different aspects of writing always inspires me to try the tip out or inspires me to go back to work on my project. Some YouTube channels I enjoy are:
Autocrit - tips and tricks on how to self-edit to make your writing better
Bookends Literary YouTube Channel - an inside peek into BookEnds and behind the scenes tips on how to get published.
Writing Mastery - writing tips from Jessica Brody
I also read my Children's Book Insider newsletter. It's chock full of writing strategies, publishing resources and opportunities.
4) Get a healthy snack. For some reason, I get hungry when I write, and if I was to munch on potato chips when I'm at my computer, that would definitely make me want to lay down and take a nap instead of write! Some quick and easy energy boosting snacks I love:
Nonfat yogurt with granola
Apples or celery with peanut butter
5) Sounds to put you in the writing mood. I've heard some writers say they pick a song to match what they're writing eg. something spooky if they're writing suspense, light and airy if it's a comedy or romance etc. Personally, I can't write with music. I find it too distracting or I end up stopping my writing to listen to the lyrics. What I do love, and we don't get enough of here in California—thunderstorms! So, I have a free app on my phone that plays nature sounds. It's called Rain, Rain. I can select from "Birds in Rainforest", "Ocean Waves", "Crackling Fire" to "Thunderstorm." For me, there's something about the crackle of lightening, boom of thunder and the pitter-patter of raindrops that makes me feel like buckling down and writing.
Let me know in the comments below what you've found or done that works for you to inspire your writing during the COVID-19 pandemic