Coronavirus & Writer’s Block

So this was not what I planned to write this week, but I feel the more resources we have for writing in this time, the better.

If you’re like me, you may find yourself stunted when you’re forced to stay inside all day. If you’re living in a rainy area like me, that stunted feeling might be coupled with a real bout of depression. That depression can worsen when you realize that there’s no one you can see in person right now and nowhere fun you can go to with so many businesses closing for the time being. However, things don’t have to be this way.

If you find yourself stunted, you can try one of the six methods listed below:

  1. Try brainstorming. This can be accompanied by a writing prompt like the ones listed at the bottom of this post, or it can just be timing yourself for ten to thirty minutes and not lifting your pen or pencil from the paper until your timer goes off (or keep typing the entire time if you prefer a computer like I do). This forces you to write. It’ll be bad writing, but it’s better than no writing at all. Also, you may get something out of it for later use in a story or essay.
  2. Exercise. This doesn’t have to be at a gym or popular hiking trail. Go for a walk in your neighborhood if you can limit your contact with others. Or exercise in your home with exercise videos on YouTube or that treadmill that’s collecting dust in your guinea pig room (note to self). Exercise is proven to help with depression and overall mood, and it can be pretty great for creativity as well. Try listening to some music or an audiobook while you exercise to really add to that creative bonus.
  3. Practice a hobby unrelated to writing. I actually had to do this in the last day or so. The idea of isolation and the spread of the coronavirus kicked my anxiety into gear, and I was stuck. I just constantly worked on schoolwork that isn’t due for another week or more. So my husband (being the wonderful person he is) suggested I take a break from schoolwork. Instead of schoolwork, I put together a 3D giraffe puzzle that I’d been saving for a free moment. Puzzles are just my thing, though. You can practice plenty of crafts, logic puzzles, or other productive hobbies from the safety of your home, and often with items you already have lying around. Try looking up some fun DIY projects to give yourself a break from stressing out, then return to writing at another time.

Writing prompts:

  1. The last meal I ever ate.
  2. That always was my favorite color.
  3. That was such a realistic dream.
  4. What are you doing here?
  5. What do you do for a living?
  6. Have you met the neighbors? (This one sparked an entire novel idea for me. Prompts work!)
  7. Well, I was asking for a sign.
  8. Blue sky. That doesn’t make this easier.
  9. King? King of what?
  10. The wall finally fell. It had started.

And if you like one-word prompts like I do:

  1. Oil
  2. Melancholy
  3. Piano
  4. Sloth
  5. Emerald
  6. Mountain
  7. Grapefruit
  8. Microbial
  9. Rainbow
  10. Willows

Remember, you can still write. You’re not a failure if you miss a day or twenty, or even a hundred. You’re a writer, and you will come out of this stronger than ever.

Keep writing.

My lovely giraffe and calf puzzle. I plan on working on a cat and kitten 3D puzzle next time I panic.

Published by Keily Blair

Keily Blair is a creative writing student at UT Chattanooga, where her nonfiction won the Creative Writing Nonfiction Award. Her fiction has appeared in Nth Degree, Five on the Fifth, and is upcoming in Trembling With Fear and Night to Dawn. Her creative nonfiction is upcoming in Breath & Shadow. She is currently at work on a fantasy novel and a collection of essays about being a person with bipolar disorder. Her goal is to help other writers let go of stress and anxiety so they can reach their full potential.

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