The past few months have been a crazy time for the world. With the quick spread of COVID-19, many are taking to self-isolation to slow it down. I have been under self-isolation for a little over a week. Working from home has been nice in some ways. I don’t have to put on makeup, my alarm goes off later, and I am steps away from all the snacks. But like most, I am feeling the side effects of being in one place by myself. I’ve found myself refreshing social media every ten minutes, hoping for something new. Despite the endless fountain of content, I’ve been stuck on mindless YouTube.
Today I decided that I needed to use this extra time to my benefit. I will take the time to work on crafts I haven’t touched in months, to watch new things I’ve been meaning to check out. Podcast marathons? Yes, please! One of the most important crafts that I want to focus on is my writing. Writing is something that both stimulates the mind and helps pass the time. In an attempt to help myself focus on writing and preventing my mind from turning to mush, I have made a list. A list that I thought might help my fellow writers keep their craft going. If you need some inspiration, these four ideas might help you get the creative juices flowing!
1. Writing Prompts
As most writers know, writing prompts are a great way to get yourself into the writing groove. They allow you to exercise your creativity and explore new story ideas. If you feel stumped by a story you’re working on, writing prompts are a great way to refocus your mind. They’re also full of intriguing situations that are fun to write about!
There are many ways to find writing prompts. You can find books full of prompts on Amazon. Writing Prompts on Tumblr and Instagram is another great source for prompts. They also post responses sometimes, which is a great way to get inspiration from others. Also, some sites offer writing prompt generators. It keeps you on your toes and might even give you a great story idea!
2. NaNoWriMo but in March!
Looking for a challenge to keep your writing mind sharp? Try doing a mini version of NaNoWriMo! NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month. NaNoWriMo challenges writers to write a novel in November. There are many of us who don’t know how long they will be social distancing, so a month challenge won’t work. Try doing a two-week version, focusing on a story idea you want to flesh out. Challenge yourself to write around 1,500 words a day if possible.
There are countless ways to enter the NaNoWriMo challenge that you can adapt to the mini version. If you did the November challenge last year, you can take this time to edit and expand your current story. Or, you can go in with nothing at all. Use this mini-challenge to build characters, worlds, or form new ideas. It’s surprising how much writing you can get done in two weeks! If you want to learn more about NaNoWriMo, you can check it out here.
3. Write about what’s around you
People always say to write what you know. You can take that advice and use it to describe the world around you. This is a great exercise to help improve your descriptions in writing. Try focusing on one side of the room or section of your backyard. Include more description than you think necessary. Or, if you need to work on character descriptions, focus on people or pets in your house.
This exercise is also a sneaky way to get you out into nature. As long as you are social distancing, visiting nature great for both your writing skills and mind. Nature often has a multitude of colors, textures, and sounds. It’s a gold mine for writers! Smell the flowers! Listen to the birds chirping. Take a notebook with you and jot down words and phrases to describe them. You can also take pictures on a walk and describe the objects you captured. Taking a few minutes to observe nature will also be a nice break for your brain.
4. Collaborate with other writers online!
Writing doesn’t have to be a solitary practice. If you have fellow writing friends, try hosting a Zoom writing party. You can talk about story ideas, read sections for editing, and have a great time! Try creating a theme for each online hangout. One might be all about worldbuilding. During another, you could talk about building characters in fun ways. You can also do the other things on this list with other writers online.
If you don’t have friends who are fellow writers, try searching around the internet. Many writing forums are already created on Reddit, Tumblr, NaNoWriMo, and more. Make sure you do your research before joining an online forum. What are they talking about? Do the people meld well with your personality? Are you comfortable sharing personal information or writing with the group? Like in-person groups, these are important questions to ask yourself before joining. If you are positive that this group is for you, a fun future awaits you!
What are you doing to keep your writing brain active during this time of self-isolation? What other ways have you coped with the long days? Let me know in the comments below! I hope that this post has given you some groundwork for good ways to spend your self-isolation. This is a crazy time for the world right now. For many of us, the best thing we can do is self-isolate to prevent the spread. During this time, you’ll get bored and miss some aspects of daily life missing due to closures. But this is the right thing to do. Call a friend. Play a board game. Have a writing party with your friends online. We’ll beat this, and soon will be enjoying the lovely sunshine with our friends and family close to us. Happy writing and stay healthy!