Like a worldwide pandemic accompanied by civil unrest, but also any scenario where you find your life circumstances upended and the future uncertain.
Check-in with other writing pals. Odds are someone else (or many someone elses) are going through a similar time. Breathe together, laugh together, write a silly story together – use a support network. And if you don’t have one, now is a great time to start one. There are many online groups for such things, and you can scroll through the twitter tag #writingcommunity or the IG tag #writersofinstagram and similar tags to find comfort and support.
Set deadlines. Those writing pals? They’re also great for keeping you on task, and vice versa. If your current project’s future is uncertain, don’t use this as an excuse to give up on it – keep going. Set deadlines for the outcome you want, and work toward them. In times of uncertainty it’s easy to toss in the towel on things because of an uncertain outcome – but no future is ever promised. Get writing. Keep writing.
Schedule writing time. And cleaning time. And exercise time. And eating, bathing, and even sleeping time if you need to. We’re creatures of habit. The habits you start now will serve you in the weeks and months to come. Prioritize your needs and the things that fulfill you most. Then schedule around those items. Things have to be made a priority in order to become a priority.
Get creative. With your projects and with your life. Maybe you had planned to write an epic fantasy-romance this year, but are now pulled more toward a mystery series that incorporates bread recipes. Or maybe turn that TV pilot into an animated feature (or series). Or maybe your attention span isn’t right for longer work – try flash fiction/nonfiction, or short story, or personal essays, or poetry. Maybe jotting down family recipes with your own notes during quaran-cleaning will be the inspiration for a new cookbook, or mixed media project. Now’s also a great time to (virtually) reach out to relatives and friends for their personal stories to catalog family history, or use as story inspiration.
And if you’re really stuck on what to do or where to go next, consider joining our first ever virtual Open House in August to hear about some of our offerings and chat directly with advisors who can help you decide on next steps.
Read. Read books, scripts, essays, poems, foreign language films with subtitles — whatever your attention span can handle. Remember that what you put into yourself fuels what you create. And if you’re not in the headspace to write, reading (and really, taking in all forms of art) is also vital to the creative process and to developing a healthy, sustainable writing practice.
It’s OK to take breaks – from the news, from interactions, from writing even. Just make sure those breaks are for recharging, maybe even healing, not just freaking out. Take breaks from freaking out, too. Breaks may be short, like time for stretching and making the best, most complicated cup of tea ever, or they may be longer – days or even months. Just be sure you’re checking in with yourself to make sure you’re not giving up, you’re just giving some time to breathe. And breathe. Seriously. Right now.