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We’re in an unprecedented time. Stores, restaurants and entertainment venues are closed; people have lost their jobs; we can’t see more then one person without being fined. It is a truly scary and lonely time. I don’t know about you but I’m attempting to use this extended ‘me-time’ as a process of self-improvement, not just with writing but with other aspects of my life also. As someone who used to self-isolate a lot as a method of coping with anxiety I know a thing or two about staying busy while at home. It occurred to me that others may not know where to begin with how to support themselves or others in the literature world, so here are some suggestions…
Create a Community
We’re in a time where it is important more then ever to have a sense of community, and there are plenty of online communities you can join. Communities help you not only mentally but they also help you keep yourself accountable. I myself am part of a workout community where we set group challenges to keep ourselves active during this time. Some other kinds of groups include:
- #writingcommunity on Twitter: following this hashtag you are likely to find many new author-friends
- Underground Writers Community: you can find our little writers group on Facebook. Come find other local authors here
- Music Across the Balconies: if you are more performance-inclined, or would like to take a class in dance or music, from beginner choir rehearsals to Arabic drumming school to a home ballet course, this site has many different options where you can participate as a performer or an audience member
If you’re like me and you’ve lost your job, you now have a lot more free time! Now can be the opportunity to challenge yourself and learn new skills. There are a lot of courses online to help with writing, as well as YouTube videos or Skillshare classes. There are also plenty of resources out there for a numerous amount of different skills so you could get into a new hobby that helps jump start thought processes for writing.
Below are some links to Writing Challenges that might spark your imagination:
- Scribendi: An Alternatitve to NaNoWriMo – this is for writers who aren’t yet able to commit to writing one narrative
- Australian Writers’ Centre: Furious Ficiton – 55 hours to write 500 words with the chance to win a prize. At the beginning of each month AWC release a brief and you have 55 hours to submit a short story that is 500 words or less. I know I work better with some pressure; it could be the same for you
- Suleika Jaouad: The Isolation Journals Project: Emmy-Award winning writer Suleika Iaouad has started The Isolation Journals, a 30-Day Creativity project whereby each day you will receive a prompt for that day picked from her favourite authors, musicians and artists
- Young Poets Network: Writing Prompts for Self-Isolation – The YPN has released a list of prompts for poets needing inspiration. They also include some winning submissions for you take a look at
Supporting Other Authors
We can no longer go to book launches and signings, author Q&As or book clubs; so how can we keep supporting the authors we love, particularly debut authors?
- Twitter: start following authors on Twitter, engage with them, find out what they’re doing to keep themselves writing, etc
- Goodreads: start up a Goodreads account, review books and help authors start to get people looking at their books, etc.
- Buy Books: Dymocks are obviously still delivering and staying open, but so many independent bookstores are also delivering – support your local bookstores! And don’t forget that authors are desperate for pre-orders for their books too
- YouTube: Start watching or making your own booktube videos, watch reviews, reading challenges, bookshelf tours etc. Get inspired by what others are reading.
It’s a hard time for everyone, especially us authors as we receive numerous cuts to the foundations that help us keep going. But this can also be a time for us to flourish, and I can’t wait to see what we all produce.