I haven’t written for a week. Do I have writers’ block? No, I don’t, I have a lack of concentration and motivation. It appears from talking to other writers I am not alone in this. Many writers have told me they are also struggling to write.
To say I haven’t written anything isn’t entirely true. I have written one journal entry. Which makes a joke of my idea of publishing an isolation journal. I have day one and ten. I have also produced a couple of rough drafts on pen and paper. I didn’t have the motivation to complete these and publish, though.
Everyone needs time to adapt to isolation.
The world has changed dramatically for all of us, over the last month. It is okay when big changes happened to take time to process this information. The brain is a fragile organ and needs to be given the same consideration as the heart. We wouldn’t ask someone who had a heart attack to go back to a physical job the same week as the attack. We can’t expect the brain to think and be creative when it has others things to process.
As a writer, you need to give yourself time to process. Time to adapt and accept the changes forced upon us. Writing can help many people mentally, but not if it is forced. You will know the right time to go back to writing. Until then be nice to yourself and give yourself time to process.
Try these five simple exercises to help re-engage the brain
1) Journalling is a brilliant way to download your brain to a page. No judgement, no editing. Although I didn’t do so well, others may find it very beneficial to start writing their worries and fears down.
2) Try a shorter piece of work such as a short story, a witty Facebook post of a poem. If you can’t concentrate on longer pieces of work, shorter pieces might be an advantage.
3) Read. Reading will reignite your passion for the written word. I have never had time to read the whole Game of Thrones series. Isolation has provided me with this time.
4) Do something completely new. Most of our writing routine will be connected to the past. A past that may bear no resemblance to the here and now. Why not try something you have never tried before, that has no past memories. For me, it is photojournalism. I have been an amateur photographer for years. I want to move this forward now. Through my Instagram account, I am going to start working on this. My Instagram isn’t utilised for my writing so I’m changing it up.
5) Have a timetable even at home. Have a routine even if you are at home. Build into it work time, exercise time and most importantly chill time. Sticking to this routine will help train the brain to re-engage with creativity.
Mindset is important when dealing with unchartered waters. Over the last 24 hours, I have given myself a metaphorical kick up the arse.
Imagine concentrating on your writing now, when you are isolated. This could result in a full-time writing career. When the world as we know it starts up again, you could have the basis of a brighter future.
These are a few ways in which you can kick start your writer’s brain again. My number one tip though is to concentrate on your mental health. Stay healthy, applies to all aspects of your well-being including your mental health.
Process, chill and then create.
Sam H Arnold is a UK writer and mentor. To support her writing and read her fiction work join Patreon. To follow all her work find her on Facebook. To receive regular writing tips join her Email List. – © Sam H Arnold 2020