Writing in the Time of Covid

I don’t know about all of you, but since the Covid-19 pandemic has engulfed the world my writing output has suffered.

I want to write.

I really want to write.

But, some evenings, all I accomplish is staring at an empty page.

In the last month, I’ve finally started to come out of my productivity slump, and I wanted to share a few tips that continue to help me improve.

Stop Doomscrolling

Doomscrolling – Obsessively reading social media posts about how utterly f**ked we are. [https://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=doomscrolling]

Yes, the state of the world is a bit rough right now. But spending your day reading more and more bad news, drowning in semi-informed headlines, is not going to change things. All that will do is increase your own anxiety.

It is important to keep up with what is going on and all, but try to limit yourself to only 30 minutes or so a day on the news, and avoid following sources of high anxiety news on social media. Twitter has a feature where you can mute words and phrases, and I also highly recommend muting and blocking accounts that increase your anxiety.

Butt in Chair, Hands on Keyboard (or Pen on Paper)

If you want to write, guess what, you must write. That’s what makes us writers. Right? But, when our anxiety is high, fueled by mentally taxing activities such as Doomscrolling, it is hard to start. That blinking cursor on a blank screen is an insult screaming back at us, further fueling that same anxiety. Still, to write, you must start writing. And, once the first words are forced onto the page/screen, I guarantee that they will flow more and more easily.

So, when it’s time to write get your butt in that chair and your hands on that keyboard (or your pen on that paper) and write!

Give Yourself a Break

My final tip for today is to give yourself a break. Especially in these stressful times, it is important to take time for yourself and not worry about being productive. Decompress. Hang out with the family and watch a funny movie. Binge that show you’ve had on queue for months. Read something for pleasure, not worrying about trying to learn something from it.

It is important to give yourself downtime to recharge those creative batteries. Give yourself permission to not be productive. Just, be sure to have your notebook on hand to jot any great ideas that come to you while you relax.

That’s it! In the past handful of weeks, I’ve started to do these three things and, slowly, I’ve been writing more and more. I’m still not producing at the level I wish I was, but, as my day job boss says, ‘Try to be 1% better every day.’ If you’d like to see some of my other writing tips, click here.