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Creativity coach, writing and creative process instructor, speaker, author of Around the Writer's Block: Using Brain Science to Write the Way You Want (Penguin/Tarcher 2012) and Dancing in the Dragon's Den (Red Wheel Weiser), Teaching Artist at the Loft Literary Center.

Writing in the Time of Pandemic: Writer’s Tidbits – Because We’re All Snacking More

snack notebook pen appetitzer canape © Can Stock Photo saharosa39 canstockphoto24422843

© Can Stock Photo / saharosa39

The ideas bouncing around in my brain are all loosely related to writers, resistance and pandemic, but I don’t have what it takes to write and edit a comprehensive, cohesive piece.

So, instead of a complete and balanced writer’s meal, I offer you a variety of appetizers for your writer’s palate.


Tidbit #1 Goals, Smaols

smores snack chocolate © Can Stock Photo urbanlight canstockphoto23695867

© Can Stock Photo / urbanlight

I trust you got the message that this whole pandemic is anxiety-producing for everyone. Even those of us blessed to have more time available need to scale back expectations. Now just isn’t the time to set audacious goals.

There is absolutely no reason to feel disappointed or defeated if your writing practice isn’t exactly what it used to be or what you want it to be.

The best route to getting where you want to go is to relax, be kind to yourself and others, practice excellent Self-care, and keep showing up for your writing as you can and as you are.


reminder remember forget perfect snack coffee © Can Stock Photo PixelsAway canstockphoto62048798

© Can Stock Photo / PixelsAway

Tidbit #2 Remember Your Memory Is Impaired… What Was that about My Memory?

Stress impairs memory. When individual stress is compounded by everyone else on the planet being simultaneously stressed, memory is imperfect at best.

The best thing to forget is perfectionism. Other than that, you need reminders now more than ever.

This is why I watch Governor Andrew Cuomo’s press briefing nearly every day even though I don’t live in New York. Some of the information is new; much is a reminder of what he said before.

I need Cuomo’s reminders about why it is essential to follow the facts, not feelings. I need repeated messages about when and how to safely re-engage the economy and my role in it. I appreciate the reinforcement of hearing how many lives we’ve already saved. All that reminds me why it matters that I keep wearing my mask and maintain physical distancing.

Tidbit #3 Writers Are Unique in the Same Ways

At this time, it’s particularly valuable for us to remember that we are part of a tribe of writers. Even writers you’ve never met can understand you in ways your non-writing family and friends simply don’t get.

In addition to a local writer’s group, we have the tools to support and lean on writers around the world through our writing. Even in a time of social distancing, we can reach out and discover new tribe members.

Seeking other writers’ insights, I searched “Covid” on LitHub.com and found too many gems to list. Two that grabbed me are:

Under a Sky Fall Full of Stars

The Joys and Worries of 20 Writers During Covid-19

And here are two more stand-out sources of comfort and inspiration I’ve found lately:

It’s not just you! Everyone is struggling to focus, even professors (read more)

Let go of guilt! Nita Sweeny explains why writing is hard (read more)

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6 Comments on “Writing in the Time of Pandemic: Writer’s Tidbits – Because We’re All Snacking More”

  1. Nita Sweeney, Author May 12, 2020 at 11:28 pm #

    Thanks so much for your post (and for linking mine). This is a time like no other and we are all doing our best. I like what Katy suggested about a routine. Structure is essential in this “unprecedented” (how many times have we heard that word?) time. When Ed first came home from the hospital, his needs created the structure. Now that he is better, I have to find my own or I will go mad. Take care and WASH YOUR HANDS! 😉


    • rosannebane May 13, 2020 at 3:47 pm #

      Thanks Nita! How wonderful that Ed is healing enough to create a structure vacuum in your life. I think reduced structure is a big part of “quarantine fatigue.” Our dog Kelda decided to create structure for Claudia and me with an additional afternoon walk. Kelda has a habit of backing up time – if we walk at 4:30pm, she’s ready to go at 4:15. If we go at 4:15, the next day she’s ready at 4:00. So Kelda and I are working out the kinks to make sure her walking time doesn’t reduce my writing time.


      • Nita Sweeney, Author May 13, 2020 at 10:46 pm #

        Ha. Ed and I are wearing out the pupperina. He’s walking her twice a day and I either walk or run with her. And yes, I completely understand that “backing up time.” Thank goodness we don’t have a time change in the middle of the current situation. We got it over before our stay home orders were in place. Take care!


  2. kperrymn May 11, 2020 at 9:06 am #

    Thanks, Rosanne. Take this challenge a little at a time as you are able. Have a routine of some kind, like yours of watching the updates from Governor Cuomo. Let go of perfectionism. Take care of yourself. These are some of the basics of keeping up a writing practice–basics that I’ve learned from you. Putting them in the context of life during the pandemic helps me see how to keep going. I look forward to checking out the resources you’ve provided in this post.
    Thank you and stay well.
    Katy Perry


    • rosannebane May 13, 2020 at 3:40 pm #

      Thanks Katy! Great suggestions for all us to remember — it’s the simple steps we repeat that make the biggest difference.
      You and your loved ones stay well, too.


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