They say writing is therapeutic, but those of us who write for a living know very well that it is not always the case. In fact, it could be the opposite. Deadlines — looming and past — can throw all semblance of therapeutic out the window.
Then there are times which are simply…well, tough.
I do not need to dig deep to think about a tough time.
COVID-19 says hi and hello.
Last week, the virus hit really close to home. Quite literally for me. My eldest nephew — a child with special needs — contracted the virus. Soon after, my sister caught it. Since they weren’t brought to the hospital (doctors recommended home care to lessen the risk for them), three other people in the house tested positive for COVID as well. Including a 1-year-old baby.
Tough time? Tell me about it.
And, even if it’s not about health, there are those lean times. As freelancers, we all experience periods of plenty and times of empty.
How do you keep writing during tough times?
I do not claim to know the answers, but I want to share some things that keep me going.
Acknowledging that there is a higher power out there is one of the things that help me keep my sanity. I can’t explain all that is happening. Why it is happening. To my family. My friends.
All I can do is pray. Honestly, I haven’t prayed this hard in years.
We may have different faiths and beliefs, but I assure you, praying to whomever you believe in will take a load off.
Music has always been part of my life, and even more so when the going gets rough. If you’re struggling with writing, whip out those vinyl records or create your comfort playlist on Spotify / Apple Music.
I depend on music in two ways.
One, I play songs / pieces in the background. These pieces help me focus while I work — usually classical music.
Two, I listen to music intentionally to calm me down or pump me up. These songs comfort and / or motivate me.
3. Yoga and meditation
I started yoga some years back as a way to exercise. I’m still not where I want to be, but I have long ago realized that it is now more than exercise for me. I need to practice every day in order to keep anxiety at bay. Yoga in the morning gets me energized to face the day and serves to center myself emotionally and mentally as well.
4. Dress up. Show up.
One of the simplest yet most crucial things that get me through is this: showing up.
What does that mean exactly? Well, what it says on the tin.
Show up for work. Whether your office is your bed, your sofa, your dining table, or a dedicated workstation, just show up.
Taking things one step further — I suggest you dress up as if you were going to an office where people wear “outside” clothes. It doesn’t have to be formal office attire. What I have been doing lately is wear clothes that I would wear when going out for a movie, for dinner, a party, whatever…as long as I feel good about looking good.
It does wonders with keeping my mood up for work.
Over to you…how do you keep writing during tough times? Share your stories in the comments!
Too much stress? Try these breathing exercises.
Prayers? Seriously? Keep your religion to yourself, please. It has absolutely NO place on a (supposedly) professional website.
I’m sorry you feel that way, Jenn. I am not pushing religion in any way. This article was meant to share my own experience. I don’t expect everyone to agree with what I say and encourage discourse, but I hope we can all keep it civil and professional.
Toni A. Star says
These are tough times for writers! Currently, I am quietly waiting on one of my main online freelance writing sites to return. This site is hurting badly–the managers, employees and of course, writers like me. To keep going, I continue to look for work, practice my grammar skills on Poynter, update my blogs and write articles for Ezine. I also put in exercise, pray and ask the good Lord for guidance.
Tough times, indeed, Toni. I am sorry that one of your main clients is struggling. I’m glad you’re making the most of your time, though! We’re rooting for you.