writing, writing tips

A Writer’s Guide to Coronavirus Quarantine Life – Part 2 (The Reckoning)


Still Inside…

Years ago, I wrote a story about a group of people stranded in a desert town, dying from unseen radiation poisoning, and trying to figure out where they fit into the plan of the world.

It seems strangely relatable now, minus the radiation and mutants.

It’s been roughly six weeks since I wrote my first post about writing while under the Coronavirus stay-at-home orders, and in that time I’ve mostly managed to keep to my routine. There have been slip ups, and low points, but overall I am managing.

I continue to adhere to the exercise regiment each morning when I wake up to early morning silence. I’m also trying to eat plenty of green vegetables and other healthy food, and take in deep breathes of fresh spring air, weather permitting. New England has had a cold, generally raw spring befitting the situation. No Murder Hornets though. Not yet anyway.

What I’ve Learned

  • Creativity is fickle – No matter what kind of routines you adhere to, this bizarre scenario is just mentally & creatively exhausting. With all the new roles roles people have begun taking on as caregivers, teachers, and remote-employees, plus the economic stresses, it all compounds to take a toll. If you’re a writer, go easy on yourself. I beat myself up a bit over an “empty tank” a few weeks ago, but after some conversations with peers realized many creative people are stifled right now. Even my WordPress Reader feed is a bit sparse these days!
  • Creativity is important – Writing is a mental health exercise for many people. Losing the glow of that creative spark can be distressing, even if it is temporary. That’s why I say it is OK to be upset about writer’s block, or whatever creative endeavors fuel you, even if they seem “trivial” compared to what’s happening in the world right now. If it’s important to you and helps you stay sane and healthy, then it is important. Don’t let anyone minimize lack of creativity as insignificant.
  • Creativity comes back – Don’t think that once it is gone it’ll never return. It will. I’ve found that on better days I will get a quick burst of inspiration. Sometimes it gets triggered by the aroma of a new coffee (I have so many flavors to buy and try) or intense sunshine on a clear morning. Whatever it is, I capitalize as much as I can. One week it was a single sentence, another it was 5000 words in a day. I just go with it when it shows up. The only thing that remains consistent is that inspiration strikes at the most inconvenient times, just like it did in the “before times”.

If you’re out there reading this I hope you are safe, well, and making the best of your particular situation. This will all end eventually, and when it does I look forward to drinking coffee in book stores and going to author events again.


6 thoughts on “A Writer’s Guide to Coronavirus Quarantine Life – Part 2 (The Reckoning)”

  1. Wise words! I’ve had a similar experience–days when I can’t manage to write a word and others when I can write, but often not what I SHOULD be writing. Whatever. I’ve written a prose poem-ish thing, an essay or two I might shop around, and then I’ve been submitting stories and querying agents, as usual mostly to crickets, and editing to get others’ work in the world. I joined an online book club and have been reading plenty. It’s sporadic and all a little unfocused, but so is everything else. And, thankfully, the thing that hasn’t changed, is I still like it all. Take care! Ah bookstores, the library, and coffee shops–they have to wait for now but not forever!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been struggling with creativity since the start of the pandemic, but I suspect for reasons other than most writers. I’m a working journalist covering the tech scene, and after a brief and welcome slow down in news due to the pandemic this spring, I’ve been working like a mad man.

    My job used to involve travel to conferences. With the pandemic, everything went virtual and suddenly we had no shortage of news to cover.

    For the first few months of my work from home journey I lived in a kind of denial. For years I’ve worked in a newsroom surrounded the sound of keyboards and other reporters spitballing. The silence of my own home was deafening. So I pretended it was like a long snow storm that would break eventually. I did my job and tried to put out consistent blog posts on the things I was passionate about. I’m a big time photography nut and it was a good excuse to get out of the house.

    It was only recently, after a month-long break from blogging, that I came to terms with the fact my situation wasn’t changing. Since then I’ve been

    It’s good to know I’m not alone.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The isolation is tough, and writing is a solitary craft to begin with. I agree about photography, and I’ve definitely had an easier time doing that for the same reason that it gote outside and moving on photo walks during the summer. Even if I’m alone my mind is occupied trying to frame good shots.

      Liked by 1 person

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