The COVID-19 pandemic and the resultant quarantine and “stay-at-home” orders have wreaked havoc (both excellent words, by the way) in the lives and routines of many. Writers may be in a better position than some, as we tend to self-quarantine even when there aren’t health reasons to do so. Still, these extraordinary times present challenges—but they also offer opportunities.
What’s a writer to do in such times? I have a few ideas. Ten, actually. Ten writerly things to do in quarantine:
- Start writing something new
Sure, sure, Shakespeare wrote King Lear when theaters were shuttered because of the black plague. But no pressure. Just start something new.
- Finish something old
Pull out that piece of writing you’ve let languish and polish it off. You may discover a new enthusiasm for your story, article, chapter, or book that was missing before.
- Submit something.
Have you been reluctant to get your query, article, story, or book proposal into an editor’s or agent’s hands? This might be the time—especially since the editor’s or agent’s hands are cleaner these days than they’ve been in a good long while.
- Begin or join an online or email critique group
There may be no better time to join or begin an online or email critique group than now. So get crackin’.
- Improve yourself with Christian Writers Institute courses
Sure, some outstanding writer’s conferences have been canceled because of the virus, but The Christian Writers Institute (www.christianwritersinstitute.com) is there for you. It was designed as an at-your-own-pace Writers’ Conference at home. Schedule one a week…or one a day (full disclosure: I’m executive editor of CWI, which is great in spite of my involvement).
- Start a blog, email newsletter list, or podcast
Use some of the time on your well-washed hands to reach out to readers with a well-focused blog, email newsletter, or podcast.
- Address a writing weakness
We all have weaknesses as writers. Yours might be grammar or spelling. Or punctuation. Or sentence fragments like these. Whatever yours is, this is a great time to work on your weakness, perhaps by means of a book, a Christian Writers Institute course, or YouTube videos.
- Write and mail cards
Remember pens? Paper note cards? Mail? Those media still work, and writing actual, physical, handwritten notes to people (such as service providers, nursing home patients, etc.) can be an impactful ministry during these strange times.
- Read a new writing book
- Re-read a great book on writing
Imagine how one or more (or all!) of the above will help you to “redeem the time” (Ephesians 5:16) during these extraordinary days, and how much improved your writing life will be when the pandemic pandemonium (both excellent words, by the way) subsides.