We are living through an unprecedented situation right now, and it’s perfectly OK if you’re not feeling at your most inspired or productive. It’s fine if you haven’t written a word, if you haven’t picked up a book to read, if you’re just binge-watching old TV shows.
There’s always pressure to be perfect, or to live up to the impression of perfection, on social media, and it’s certainly rife at the moment. Well-meaning memes about how William Shakespeare wrote King Lear during the bubonic plague can actually be incredibly demotivating; the exact opposite of their intended effect.
After all, all of our lives have changed now. You may be off work, and find yourself with far too much time on your hands. Or you might have children home from school, or a partner working from home, and all of these distractions and changes can play havoc with your writing time and focus.
Your emotions may just be going haywire right now. Perhaps your muse has decided to quarantine elsewhere. That’s absolutely fine: you do whatever you need to get through this.
But, if you are feeling frustrated, here are our top ten tips for writing through lockdown:
Take the pressure off. Do something that doesn’t matter, that has no deadline, that will never see the light of day. You don’t have to be writing a masterpiece right now.
Adjust your expectations. This might mean lowering your daily wordcount goals, or writing in shorter snatches of time, rather than huge, long blocks of time.
Do things that make you happy, as often as you can.
Avoid triggers. Whatever stresses you out right now, turn it off. Get off social media, turn off the news, unfollow or unfriend people who are stressing you out.
Stop comparing. This is always important, but moreso now. Don’t waste energy wishing for someone else’s circumstances. Focus on making the most of yours.
Get out in nature. Blow away those cobwebs!
Try something different. A new creative pursuit, a new hobby, a new genre, or simply move your furniture around. After all, a change is as good as a holiday, right?
Celebrate the small things. You might not be able to achieve the big goals, so celebrate the small things instead. Getting dressed. Brushing your hair. Writing 100 words.
Join online writing sprints. There are lots of places to find writing sprints on social media. It’s fun, it’s social, and only requires short periods of focus.
Take inspiration from this situation. Even if you can’t write right now, bank everything for future reference, because it might just make for great stories someday.
And always remember: however you’re feeling is valid, and deserves recognition. Don’t let anyone tell you you’re lazy for not writing a bestseller through lockdown. Any progress is progress, whether it’s 100k words, or 100 words.
For even more inspiration, listen to Episode 4.2: Writing Through Lockdown.