Writing During the Pandemic: A Series (II)

If You Feel Sluggish or Don’t Write at All

First, stop berating yourself. Don’t keep saying “I want to.” “I should…” “I am bad…” “I am not a writer…” Hush that creature on your shoulder whispering nonsense. You are a writer because you know words. Are you watching Hulu and Netflix? Good for you! 

Try this exercise next time you are watching a film or movie. Make it fun though. Don’t obsess.

1. Ask a question. What is the plot? Is there something that I could use?

2. Characters. How do they feel real or do they?

3. Story arc. Is there one?

This is informal. As the plot moves along and the two new love interests enter just note that he is wearing jeans and she is wearing red pumps that most people would tip over in—and how does that change the interaction?

See! Netflix to the rescue! You are writing. Could you create a few sentences where your characters interact like that?

Do you like word games?

They count. Everything from apps to word finds. Anything that makes words move. I use word magnets and lead a group. Every day I post a new set for everyone to try their hand at a poem or short story. It seems childish—but once you add in fun—the sluggishness starts leaving and the creature stops whispering.

What if tragedy occurred?

If someone died, you might feel numb or in shock. This is natural. We can go between the two states and have everything in between. If you feel numb—write NUMB. On the page, it will blink back at you. Then maybe Hurt? Anger? Who is next? All valid and scary questions. Write them down. Every feeling is valid. Don’t judge. If you must have structure, time yourself and run with it page after page. Dump out your emotion. Don’t worry about if it’s publishable. Truthfully, some of my best work comes from pain and emotional dumping. It’s authentic. That’s what our audience wants. That’s what we crave.

| Stay tuned for part three of this series next week! |