It's a struggle to wonder how to keep writing during times like these. Some days, I want to hit the pavement and shout my voice raw at every protest; some days I just want to crawl into a hole and never come out. Most days, it doesn't feel like I have the energy to write. In the face of all the serious problems that are happening in the real world, it's harder than ever to submerge myself into my own imaginary worlds. It feels like politics have eclipsed everything else.
But, I'm not going to give up on writing. Writing has always been a comfort to me, a way to process even the hardest feelings and to explore possibilities for better worlds. Even if the game has changed, writing is an essential part of my life.
Here are some great ways to keep your pen moving as we live through this catastrophic time. From daily rituals to fun tips to tricks for spinning your feelings into new art, these ideas will help kickstart your work and fuel your writing habits.
Remember, all writing counts as writing. It doesn't have to be perfect. Take it one step at a time. Just keep writing. As Carrie Fisher taught us: "Take your broken heart, and make it into art."
1Use An Interactive Journal.
Even if it seems too hard to do "real" writing (though, of course, all writing counts!), using one of these inspiring journals is a great way to flex your writing muscles. Some of my favorites are 642 Things to Write About, Pick Me Up, 1 Page at a Time, and Wreck This Journal.
2Set A Daily, Weekly, Or Monthly Goal.
Having a goal can really help you focus on your project and give you a tangible thing to strive towards. Whether it's a certain word count by the end of the month, a certain amount of time to be writing every day, or having a benchmark due date for whatever project you're working on, pick something that challenges and motivates you.
3Read A Book About Creativity.
You don't have to start from scratch, you can use worlds and characters that you already know and love. Have fun with it! Send them back in time, throw two different fandoms together, throw some romance into the mix. What could be more low-pressure?
5Write Alternate Endings To Stories In The News.
I used to do this with nightmares when I was a kid. And now that we're living in a waking nightmare, it's time to pull out this trick again. If a news item is seriously stressing you out, write out a scenario in which things work out in the best possible way.
6Write For Ten Minutes Before Bed (Or Right When You Wake Up) Every Day.
Routine is key! No matter how busy your life is, you can find ten minutes to sit down and write.
7Try a New Genre.
If you normally write poetry, give fiction a try. Or vice versa. Or maybe even a screenplay! Write something that feels completely new to you and see what you discover.
8Journal Your Day.
Sometimes writing down what happens helps your brain get organized. Plus, you'll form a great habit of writing!
9Write on Something Large, Like Posterboard.
See how your writing changes when you put it in a new medium entirely. Different ideas will come to you in different ways.
10Take a Character You've Already Written About & Put Them in an Entirely New Situation.
You already know this character in and out. So see what happens when they're given a new adventure!
11Take a Writing Class.
There are plenty of writing workshops you can take. Even if there's not one in your community, there are some great ones online, including classes from Catapult, Gotham Writers, and Sackett Street Writers.
12Form a Writing Group.
This is a great way to encourage each other, keep yourselves accountable, and just have some fun. My own writing group has been a beam of light in even the hardest writing times.
13Write Letters to People You Know.
Send them or don't — it's up to you. But letter-writing is a great way to get the ink flowing.
14Write Letters to People You DON'T Know.
Strangers, fictional characters, celebrities. Use the letter form as a way to explore different feelings and ideas.
15Write Something in Your Second Language.
If you speak multiple languages, try switching over to a secondary language. You'll have to pay attention to how you write in a different way that will energize your writing.
16Write Something with a Friend.
Take turns writing chapters or lines, or sit down next to each other and brainstorm together. It will be a fun way to make writing social!
17Use Poetry Magnets to Start Something.
Poetry magnets are a fun way to get yourself started. Mix 'em and match 'em to see what you ideas you can generate.
18Try to Imitate Your Favorite Writer.
Find a favorite piece and use it as a starting point. T.S. Eliot once said "Immature poets imitate; mature poets steal." Don't feel shy about using your idols for inspiration (just don't plagiarize).
19Dedicate a Block of Time Every Week to Turn Off Your Phone and the Internet and Just WRITE.
It's easy to log onto your computer to write and wind up getting inundated by the news. Make a plan to completely unplug and see what happens.
20Make a Sticker Chart and Give Yourself a Gold Star Every Time You Sit Down and Write.
This may seem super goofy, but it is immensely satisfying to award yourself a sticker. Plus, this is a way you can keep track of how much writing you're doing.
21Make a List Of All the Feelings You're Feeling.
With everything that's going on, I feel so many feelings all the time. It's overwhelming! Just get them out and get them on paper. Think of it like a cleanse.
22Write Reflections about the Protests You Attend.
Chronicle everything you see as you #resist. Not only will it get your pen moving, but it will help you reflect on the work we're doing together.
23Write a Haiku Every Day.
Haiku are only three lines, so you can totally fit them in your daily routine. The challenge will give your brain something concrete to focus on.
24Mark It Down Every Time You Write.
This will help you visualize your writing habits and be aware of when you haven't been writing. Plus, you will feel so accomplished every time you mark down that you've written.
25Keep a Notebook on You at All Times.
A great practice that will help you squeeze some writing in during the gaps in your day. Besides, you never know when inspiration may strike. Pro-tip: Buy an extremely goofy notebook to take all the pressure off yourself.
26Give Yourself a Word Every Week to Inspire Your Writing.
Maybe use this random word generator, or pick a word that inspires you at the time. This will help you focus your writing and give your ideas somewhere to exist.
27Write Down Everything You Can about Your Hometown.
For me, my hometown is an endless well of creative inspiration. Write about what you like to do there during summers, the place that everybody hangs out, the way people react to crazy weather, the route from your house to your BFF's house, the local accent. EVERYTHING.
28Make a List of Random Words and Try to Incorporate Them Into a Piece.
Write down 10 verbs, 10 nouns, and 10 adjectives — the first words that come to mind. Then incorporate them into a piece.
29Use Written? Kitten!
If you use the computer to write, Written? Kitten! is a cute way to shut out the noise of the internet and keep yourself typing. When you hit word goals, this site shows you a new kitty picture.
30Write a Piece to Accompany a Playlist.
You can do this two ways. 1) Start with a pre-made playlist from Spotify (or some other service) and write a piece inspired by that playlist. Or 2) Make your own playlist and write a piece around it.