In a matter of days, my writers’ room began working from home, all my meetings and events got cancelled, and we had to put a pin in all of the in-person programming we had set up for Kingdom of Pavement. I started lining up freelance work for when my writers’ room ends with the intention of just hanging out at home for a bit while this whole pandemic absorbs the entire city and also does the impossible: quell Los Angeles traffic. (Drag racing on Sunset Blvd, anyone?)
But on a more serious note, the coronavirus pandemic is terrifying, and now more than ever our communities need to step up and we have to be there for each other and also self-isolate as much as possible so that we can flatten the curve of the virus and reduce spread of the disease.
As writers and creatives, there’s a part of our introverted selves that might be breathing a sigh of relief (especially if you’ve bene caught up in a particularly busy year), but self-isolation doesn’t mean you need to be cut off from your community.
This is also a perfect time to develop your work: to create that podcast, to write that novel or script.
So, here’s the 10 things you can do while holed up at home during this coronavirus pandemic to continue to exercise your creativity and stay sane:
Tip #1: Clear the Decks for Creativity (Use Coronavirus as a Kind of Mandated Spring Cleaning)
This kind of scare brings out the OCD in all of us, and you don’t need a boatload of hand sanitizer to do some spring cleaning in your own home.
This is a perfect opportunity to go through your bookshelf and closets and figure out what you’re going to donate when places like Goodwill open up again.
Don’t forget about digital detoxing — look through your computer and clean up and archive files and photos. Same with your phone and any other devices you might be hoarding cat photos on.
Get your finances in order, too. Do your taxes, organize your receipts, and get back to square one.
Think of this time as clearing the decks: do all the things you kept putting off so. This sort of cleaning and organizing can be meditative: we’re going to be in these physical spaces for awhile, so might as well make them as harmonious and organized as possible!
Tip #2: Learn a New Skill (Beyond Surviving)
What hobbies or skills have you been holding off on learning? Now’s the time! Download Duolingo (the free version has a ton of functionality!) and learn a language. Skype with your friends who speak that language for practice.
Or, maybe learn something that helps you stay fit, too: learn how to do a handstand or how to do yoga. I’ll be teaching some free yoga classes on Instagram (@yogafortvwriters) during the pandemic so that we can all find a little bit of calm during this time.
Tip #3: Sketch Out Your Quarantine Writing and Creating Goals
Dig out your unfinished scripts, novels, songs, graphic novels — anything you wanted to get to but never did. Now is the time to dig into them. Pick your favorites and let’s dig into them!
Set measurable goals, and talk to your fellow creatives and set deadlines together. If you have a writers’ group, consider making it virtual to keep that sense of connection.
Amidst the grim realities of this pandemic, it might help your mental health to see the “bright side” of everything: you’re now under a kind of forced writing retreat — and you’ve already organized your whole home so there’s no excuse!
Tip #4: Power Off, Create Calm, and Meditate
It’s okay to opt out of the news cycle for a bit. Get off of Twitter, power off, and light a candle and go listen to some music you love. Go meditate, rest, take a nap, or walk around the block.
Try journaling, reconnecting with someone you love over the phone or Skype, and stay connected through ways that are not centered around the panic of the pandemic.
Tip #5: Catch Up on Your Reading and TV Watching
There’s a ton of great threads going on about book recommendation, and I’ll also be adding more to my blog as well.
I remember I used to joke and say, “Hollywood needs to shut down so I can catch up on all the TV I need to watch!”
Well… be careful what you wish for, I guess. Time to catch up!
Tip #6: Make Some Great Writing & Creating Playlists
I don’t know about you, but music really affects my mood. I’ve created some fun (and moody) playlists on Spotify. Find something that suits you and your project. If you’re looking for a band that’s awesome and upbeat, I recommend playing Saint Motel. They’re dope. (And on the below playlist!)
Tip #7: For the Love of God, Don’t Write a Pandemic Script
Tip #8: For the Love of God, Don’t Make a Webseries About Dating During a Pandemic
Love isn’t blind, and it certainly doesn’t have herd immunity.
Tip #9: Use The Discourse to Challenge Your Views on Society
In the face of catastrophe, there’s no better time than the present to reexamine any previously held beliefs you may have on the state of the world, our government, and how we move about the world.
When absorbing all of this discourse, it can be overwhelming. But now is as good a time ever to re-examine your true north, and the actions you’ve taken or haven’t taken in the world.
We are the people and institutions we support.
Tip #10: Do Something Kind
Call someone you may know who is immunocompromised and ask to pick up groceries for them. Text your friends and let them know you’re there for them.
Support your communities. Be kind. We are what we give to the world.