The best thing we can do right now is isolate. But it doesn’t mean this time should be wasted. If you’re interested in a career in writing, or have maybe always been interested in the craft, now is the perfect opportunity to get creative and practice.
Here are my top tips for how you can kickstart your writing career during quarantine.
The best way to begin the writing process is by taking the time to relax. This will help ease you into the writing mindset. Try going for a walk (remembering the importance of social distancing), listening to music or taking a nice bath. Do whatever makes you feel calm. Ensuring you feel relaxed and ready before beginning will boost your creativity and better your focus.
Now is the perfect time to do some research around your craft. Read what interests you, such as novels, autobiographies, oral histories, short stories or poems. Reading examples of work is the best way to improve and to learn about the requirements and tropes of each genre. Take advantage of easy access to books online, or even in your own home. Reading will help relax you, and is a fun way to learn and understand writing in action.
Planning out the piece of work ahead of time can be beneficial. Explore which methods of preparation work best for you. Some examples are creating mind maps, story boarding, using world building tools online, creating characters in the computer game, The Sims, and writing on post-it notes. Think about details like the plot, characters, motivations and the arc of your story, and plan it in detail. Use prompts like ‘I think/ I feel/ I know’ when creating scenes, and remember to use the five senses.
Constructing a writing schedule can also be valuable. Plan when you’re going to write each day and what aspect you will focus on during this time. Whether it is for ten minutes in the morning or an hour or two in the evening, creating a structure helps aid writing.
The best way to improve your writing is to actually write. If the thought of producing something lengthy like a novel or a play is daunting, try splitting the task into more manageable sections. Opting for a short story or a poem is an easy way into writing. Choosing to compartmentalise your novel can help. If you write 1000 words a day for a month, in the end you’ll have around 30,000 words, or half your novel complete. Tailor your writing schedule to what will work best for you. Remember not to put too much pressure on yourself. It should still be something fun and enjoyable.
The best tip is not to get too caught up in trying to produce a masterpiece right away. Meticulously thinking about every sentence before you write it can impede the flow of your piece. Let the words and the story come to you. Remember, you can edit a bad piece of writing, you can’t edit a blank page.
Writing can be a deeply rewarding activity and practicing is the best way to improve. Perhaps the piece you produce during this time could be something you consider submitting to agents or to publishers. Becoming a writer can happen at any time, so why not get started?