Writing goals can feel out of reach during these strange and stressful times.
As we launch into the seventh month of a worldwide pandemic, I hear a lot of my writer friends talk about how hard it is to keep writing.
So many things are vying for our attention that concentrating on a manuscript is even more challenging than usual. It’s tough to keep our minds on a set of fictional characters when so much real world drama plays out all around us.
The first two months or so of lockdown were difficult for me as well, then something clicked and I’ve managed to get back on a productive schedule. Even though each one of our situations is different, I wanted to share a few things I’ve discovered to keep me motivated and inspired to write. Maybe something will click for you.
The Goals of Other Writers Inspire Me
Every Wednesday morning at 9am Pacific Time, I lead an online writing workshop. Taught via livestream through a Zoom meeting, I spend an hour with an amazing group of writers. Anyone can join us, for free, as #WeWriteThrough — it inspires me how many of these writers show up week after week, to work on their craft. They come with smart questions and works-in-progress. They take time out of their daily lives to find new ways to keep their writing on track.
If you’d like to join us, click here for the link to register.
My Writing Goals Haven’t Changed
No matter how tough things are right now, and I fully recognize the tragedies befalling so many people, my writing goals haven’t changed. I am a novelist. That’s what I do and who I am. The fact I have manuscripts to finish isn’t impacted by a global pandemic, so that helps me keep my fingers on the keyboard.
What mattered to me about being a writer before March still matters to me now. I have stories to tell and that will only happen if I continue to write.
There is Still Such Wonder in the World
It’s very easy to feel overwhelmed by everything we see, read, hear, and experience because of the pandemic. Even if we haven’t been directly impacted by illness or job loss, we see the people around us suffering. That can make anyone want to craw into bed and pull the covers over their head.
Writing goals might feel unimportant in the face of such devastation.
But the world is still an incredible place. One of the things I do regularly to keep my spirits up is post my “moments of Zen.” Anyone who follows me on Facebook has likely seen my videos, usually of my horses, cats, dog, or the gorgeous river behind my house.
I post these for others to enjoy, but also because it keeps me connected to the wonder I know I can find every day in the world around me.
From a fuzzy caterpillar to the clouds crossing overhead, even a thirty-second reminder of beauty can help energize me and make it easier to focus on my goals.
To follow me on Facebook, click the link here.
This Too Shall Pass
I’ve said it before and I’ll likely say it again: This Too Shall Pass
As much as it might feel like this will be our new normal for all eternity, the reality is, there will be a vaccine. We will find a cure. The pandemic will end.
We will be able to travel again and see our loved ones and meet up with friends in bars. It won’t be this week or this month, perhaps not even this year, but it will happen.
I am confident that within the next year, things are going to look very different than they do right now, and whether or not we have continued to work on our writing is solely up to us.
A year from now, we will all be a year older, but how many words we’ve put down on the page is a choice.
I reach my writing goals because I make a choice, almost every day, to write. It’s not always easy. The work is often terrible. But the commitment is what matters.
Get the draft out. Get the rewrites done. Polish. Submit. Repeat.
Want to know more about my writing process? Click the link here to find out why writing a first draft is like playing a banjo.
As with many things in life, we have little control over the behavior of others, all we have control over is ourselves.
There are few things in the world I love more than writing. Even when it’s hard. Even when I want to crawl in bed and pull the blankets over my head. I’m driven by the need to let my characters out.
Don’t let a pandemic keep you from your own personal goals.
Every morning, wake up and ask yourself, do I want to write today?
Then say yes.
You’ll be glad you did.
Elena Taylor is the author of All We Buried, available now in print, e-book, and audio book format at all your favorite on-line retailers. And don’t forget many independent bookstores can order books for you and have them shipped to your home or for curbside pickup.
For more information on All We Buried, click on the link here to visit the home page.
Header photo from QuinceCreative on Pixabay.
Silhouette from mohamed_hassan on Pixabay.
Chaos sign from geralt on Pixabay.