First, I hope you and your loved ones are safe and well. These are scary times, and staying safe is priority #1 among all things.

Millions of people are under home quarantine around the world. That means different things for different people.

It means we’re still busy. Those of us who worked from home already, or have companies that offer telecommuting, are scrambling to come up with solutions in this rapidly changing world.

Those of us who have had our jobs interrupted are facing anxiety and uncertainty about whether they’ll have a job to go back to when this is over. I live in a Chicago neighborhood filled with local restaurants and small businesses, and I’m worried about them.

It gets scary when you feel you don’t have control. One thing that can help is to continue to create.

My favorite study from Creating Space to Thrive showed that people who make art have more emotional resilience. It wasn’t just admiring and appreciating art – it was the act of creating art. So sketch, journal, paint— even for only a few minutes a day. Practice until it becomes a daily habit. It will help you in the coming weeks and months.

Creating Space to Thrive

If you’re a writer, I have six tips for writing more while you’re stuck at home. Personally, I’ve found it more difficult to write with all the uncertainty. I’m going back to these tips to find my creative mojo again. I hope these ideas help you.

1. Don’t look at the news until after you’ve written. Everything is about COVID-19, and it’s an emotional drain on your mind. Enough said.

2. Spend a few minutes journaling. You can set a timer for five minutes and write a stream of consciousness. I dictate my journal entries into my Dragon Anywhere app. Journal about anything – what you ate for breakfast, the anxiety you’re feeling, or the worry about a friend. Consider it a brain dump to clear your mind.

3. Start writing. Wait, that’s the easy part, right? No! Sitting down at our desks and getting words on the screen can be the toughest part. A timer can help. Pomodoro technique is great: write for 25 minutes, then take a five-minute break, then repeat. Each sprint adds more words. Don’t know what to write? Ask yourself, “What happens next?”

4. Go to bed thinking about your work in progress. At night, reread the last few paragraphs you wrote and consider what will happen. Let the images play out in your mind as you’re falling asleep. Perhaps this will inspire dreams. It should get your unconscious mind processing more plot revelations.

5. Find some friends to do sprints with. I’m part of a slack group with my author on a train friends. We sprint and report back our words written. The comradery of just knowing someone else is writing too is energizing.

6. Have fun with what you’re writing. This was the hardest lesson for me to learn so far in my writing career! When the writing feels hard, I step back. What is the root cause of why I’m stuck? Is the scene not exciting enough? If the answer is yes, I look at changing something. For example, I needed something big to happen, so I placed Act 2 of a recent novel on a floating city. I stretched my imagination to think of futuristic concepts. What can you twist?

One of my mentors is writer Dean Wesley Smith. He’s constantly talking about how you must have fun with your writing to sustain your momentum. I invest more emotionally in my characters now than ever before, and it has improved my writing. Or so, I’ve been told!

In a perfect world, all this time at home would make us prolific. But we’re human, and we have our quirks. Not everything will go smoothly. But if you love writing like I do, know it is your superpower. Writing will help get us through this time.

I’d love to hear from you. Are you writing? How are things going?