With coronamania on the rise, and for good reason, I have mostly been confined to the four corners of my room. The first case of COVID-19 was identified in the United States about two months ago, and since then, rules about social distancing have been growing increasingly stricter. In order to do my part to flatten the curve, I have been taking these measures seriously and withholding from venturing outdoors except for groceries and to exercise, which means for the rest of the time, I am locked away inside reading, practicing yoga, lying on my floor, talking to friends, staring out my window…and writing. Lots and lots of writing.
In the past week, I have learned more about how to write effectively than I have in a long time. If there’s one gift that has arisen from coronavirus thus far, I think it’s the awareness I am gleaning about myself as a writer, and what I do when I have copious amounts of time. It feels like each day I am learning something new, so I decided to make a running list of all the tips and tricks I’m deriving from self-isolation. I’m going to update this list as new ideas occur to me, so hopefully it will change over time.
Writing Tips and Tricks
- It is important to limit writing each day to 5-6 hours. Although it’s tempting to sit at my desk and work from sunrise to sunset, like I am a tortured writer who is blissfully pursuing her craft at the expense of her own sanity, this is not conducive to good writing. After several hours, my brain starts to cloud over and sentences run together, not to mention there are other things I’d like to do.
- These 5-6 hours should be a confined block of time with minimal interruptions. It’s easy to schedule Zoom calls or phone calls during my writing time, but this can seriously mess with my flow and sometimes it’s impossible to retrieve it again.
- At the end of each day, it is important to make notes about what I’m going to work on the following day. By the end of the day, my brain is in it, and so as a service to my future self, the self who will be more tired, less aware, and potentially forgetful, it’s important to set that girl up for success by taking detailed notes about what to do tomorrow.
- I had a melt down today. I couldn’t figure out what to edit or amend in my paper because, as we all know, objectivity is one of those things that we just can’t have about ourselves, so out of desperation, I asked a friend if she could read my work right away and get back to me. Thankfully, I have supportive and awesome friends, but asking someone to read and comment on a fifteen page paper at the drop of a hat is not cool. It is important that I send my work to people to read before I want comments on it, which would be, at the very least, at the end of the day, but definitely not at the beginning of the day when I am in the midst of trying to write.