How to Write (or Not) During the Coronavirus Outbreak

It’s the time of Coronavirus, which is pretty much like the bad dystopian novel plot we all can’t believe we’re living. 

And I’ll tell you what, I’m not writing that much. Or working that much. 

Instead of rise & grind, it’s been more like rise & cry. 

And I don’t care. People are dying all over the world. It’s scary as hell out there, and our humanity is the most important thing. 

Here are the ways I’m taking care of myself:

  • Unlimited emotional support La Croix. That’s just a given. 
  • I used the Freedom app to block social media outside of three 10-minute segments throughout the day. Last weekend I was scrolling non-stop, and it was only increasing my anxiety.
  • I’m not worrying about anything that’s a nice-to-have. I’m not studying on LinkedIn Learning, I’m not networking, I’m not marketing. I’m living through this. 
  • I’m reading, allowing myself to dive into another world for an extended period. (See book recommendations below!)
  • I’m working in the yard. It’s been great to get out the energy, tidying some little corner of the world, and let the endorphins of physical work do their magic.
  • I’m reaching out to friends to check in, preferably on video chat. Especially those who are struggling extra: people with children, my nurse friends, those with anxiety, and those who live alone.
  • I’m sleeping, a lot. 
  • I’m giving as much back as I can. The coffers are quite empty right now, actually, because I bought as many books as I could at AWP and having been ordering out to support restaurants, especially in the international district. If you still have four digits in your bank account, please consider passing some around.
  • I’m doing creative work. I recorded and edited a podcast episode of Can We Talk About Money? and redesigned my logo.

Listen here:

If you’re not able to work right now, that’s 100% ok. 

Psst: This site uses affiliate links.

This is where having extra money comes in handy (which I’m not good at. I just moved somewhere hella cheap instead). When I think about the Fuck Off Fund, I just think of that as a way I creatively filled in the blanks about why you might need extra money. In that case, abuse. A sci-fi writer might have written The Pandemic Fund.

If you wish you could take time off but can’t, The Financial Gym is giving out free financial counseling during this time.

If you do have the ability, take as much time off as you can. Let yourself be in a crisis. In the same way the president is calling a national State of Emergency, we need to allow ourselves a personal State of Emergency.

If you have to keep going, do the minimum you need to get by and let the rest go.

Pick Your One Priority

I did pick one thing I wanted to focus on right now, and that’s doing my 1,000 words in my novel every day. Of course, my characters are in quarantine right now.

I just think it helps to have one thing you can dig your mind into and really focus, if you’re able.

Ways to Help Other Writers

Donate to Artists!

Ijeoma Oluo started a GoFundMe for artists affected by the Covid-19 outbreak. (What a badass on the move!)

Order books!

There are some incredible books coming out right now. Here’s my Covid19 Reading List:

Wow No Thank You by Samantha Irby
The Distance Between by Timothy J. Hillegonds
Subduction by Kristen Millares Young
Bloomland
by John Englehardt

How Can I Help You?

I’ve opened up my free 15-minute coaching calls to cover more days. If you need someone to talk to, I encourage you to book some time to just say hi. I’d like to talk to you as much as you might want to talk to me.

Join my Crappy Hour March 20th! Author Kristin Wong and I will be talking and listening, about writing, finances, panic, and feelings.

At the meeting time, go here.

Best places to obsess about Coronavirus:

John Hopkins Dashboard

New York Times Coronavirus Update Center

The CDC’s Covid-19 Site

(Extra points for their stock photo game!)

Things to Watch about Coronavirus:

John Oliver being brilliant and real

For Spiritual Comfort: Tara Brach

Most/Least Important: the Cardi B Coronavirus Remix

What else are you needing right now? Comment below.

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3 Comments

  • Patty Elliott Reply

    Thanks for sharing both inspiration and your honest and open feelings about dealing with the current crises. You are a very giving person.

  • Delphine Reply

    I read your article and walked away feeling that I listened to my own thoughts in your words. Thank you for being honest and yet upbeat. Knowing another writer lives in my shoes was most inspiring. I needed to hear this today❤️

    • Paulette Perhach Reply

      You’re so welcome Delphine. Thanks for reading.

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