Writing in the times of Coronavirus

Penmancy posted under Writing Tips on 2020-05-25

The COVID-19 pandemic has cast the whole world into a vicious battle of survival. People are required to stay in their own homes to protect themselves from the viral enemy. It may seem like a good deal for writers because this gives us all the more time in the world to focus on what we love the most, right?

Well, it gets much more complicated than that.

Now that we are at home, we do have more time on our hands. But what we don’t anticipate, for most of us, is that it is not only us but also other family members living under one roof. And that leads to countless distractions and multiple adjustments, with very little time to spare. Which is why it is imperative to have a routine, or shall we say a detox?

A few steps could go a long way in deciding when and how you can manage your time to prove that the pen is indeed mightier than the sword.

Find that cosy corner.

This is the most important part of the process because this is where it all starts. Without a doubt, it requires focus and patience and a clear mind to pull this off, something that cannot be done when the background noise is louder than your thought process. With the situation inside our homes getting out of our control, the best time to plot your mastermind is during the time when we do have some control. The time of absolute silence, either in the morning, before all the action begins. 

Odd, isn’t it? Not really!

When the background noises die down, the sounds within your mind become louder and it becomes easier to pen your thoughts. This is the best time to do the heavy lifting of your writing journey – plotting your story and creating your universe.

#PenmancyTip: Once, you are done plotting, divide your plot into cohesive parts for the next step of the process. No matter how big or small your story is, dividing your story plot will help set the specific targets.

Lay it out. Do it daily.

How many of us have doubted ourselves when it comes to putting our ideas on paper? You may either agree with it or refute it but to an extent. The truth is, the purpose of writing is to get the story materialized, no matter how good or bad it looks.

Once your early morning routine of rolling out your plot and chopping it up into definitive and cohesive pieces is done, it is time to pick each piece out and fill it with your vision and version of the story in mind.

Keep a minimum target of one piece per day and work on each piece accordingly. Try to keep each piece at a maximum of 1000 words, which amounts to an average of an hour of writing. Focus on the present piece and getting it done, instead of wondering about how the future pieces will turn out, which will speed up your process. During the day, after a good lunch, make sure that you have your five-ten minutes of meditative break before you pick up your pen or position your fingers on the keyboard because once you start, you don’t stop till you are done with the piece.

The best time, for the ‘work from home’ crowd, to have it is to choose one of the many breaks we take during our working hours to flesh out our planned piece.

#PenmancyTip: do not read the piece while you are at it. Read it directly during the next phase of your journey.

Take the chopping board out

Editing it out into a cohesive piece is something that needs fine-tuned focus.
And, the best time to get it done is, about an hour before you call it a day.

Now that you have given your story enough time to marinate its raw form, it is time to roast it perfectly. 

The reason for not reading the story the moment you write it is that at this moment you will be a little detached from the written material. Now, when you sit down to edit, you do not read the story as a creator of your own work but as a beta reader. Since the silence is calming, the process to critique your own work will be easier.

Not confident enough? Here is something to begin with. 

#PenmancyTip: Begin with writing small stories of about 500 words on a trial basis. Save half an hour in the morning for plotting, before everybody else’s day starts for plotting the small story. Work it out for an hour after lunch, to expand the plot into a full-fledged story and beta-read your written raw story in the calm of night. 

If you are successful, then you can start with a bigger canvas. Exercise your mind to take your creativity to bigger word limits. Mark a timetable on the calendar, to allow a few days for plotting and the rest for breaking the stories into definitive breaks to write within the allotted time of the day, depending on the story that you want to pen.

Believe that patience is the key. Some stories may take longer, given the circumstances of the lockdown. As long as you don’t lose sight of the destination, nothing can stop you from finishing what you start.

All in all, the journey will be adventurous, but the outcome can stem more hope in the desolate situation. And that, fellow writers, is a great way of saying, ‘Mission Accomplished’!