It seems that social isolation has led to a glut of submissions to publishers as people crack on with their planned novel. Some are doing exactly that, and that’s great. Good luck to them.
But what if, for you, it’s not like that? What if you can’t concentrate at all?
My own personal thoughts would be that having more time doesn’t mean more productivity. Indeed, the breakdown of structure during the COVID-19 pandemic probably means you are less likely to sit and slog it out on a regular basis as you might if you have to fit in writing around work or child/elder care, etc. A few points to think about from me:
- Writing is hard slog and requires consistent, regular effort. If life’s structures (work, education, etc.) break down, then getting into a writing routine will be harder.
- You need to plan a book but if all you can plan at the moment is this evening’s dinner, that’s fine. Now is not the time for you to plot out chapters/develop characters.
- Maybe write (short articles, stories.diary entries) but not our opus magnum, not right now.
- It will wait, so it is pointless trying to force it and to pressurise yourself.
Here’s a round up of articles which you may find useful. Or you may just spend your writing time simply reading about doing it, rather than actually knuckling down.
How to write in quarantine or embrace not being productive https://www.vox.com/culture/2020/4/17/21201878/quarantine-productivity-social-distancing-coronavirus-pandemic-covid-19-capitalism-ep-thompson
12 ideas for writing during the pandemic (maybe just write different material) https://www.nytimes.com/2020/04/15/learning/12-ideas-for-writing-through-the-pandemic-with-the-new-york-times.html
Some general writing tips to remember https://www.forbes.com/sites/estelleerasmus/2020/03/23/if-you-are-writing-your-story-during-the-time-of-coronavirus-heres-what-to-do/#4220211c592e
Coronavirus efficiency https://www.annaclemens.com/blog/work-write-from-home-remote-efficiently
Adding in structure and planning https://scriptmag.com/writing-routine-career-features/balls-of-steel-tips-for-writers-during-the-covid-19-lockdown
Do not write a novel about Coronavirus https://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/features/coronavirus-novel-write-book-tv-movies-contagion-what-to-do-a9438156.html
For me, I think COVID-19 is very immediate, so I am writing a private diary, an online ‘diary’ on my social media. I have not really been working on my next book because I think my mind needs to be clearer than it actually is to write well.
You may just be feeling the same!