In my own unofficial poll of friends, loved ones, and colleagues during this COVID-19 pandemic, those with some semblance of contentment have three things in common. They have maintained their health (obviously!), established and adhered to a daily routine, and made sure each day incorporated creative time and space. It’s difficult to impose a schedule onto our days when they easily blend into each other without outside appointments and structure. Plus, we’re not terribly motivated to write or draw when we can focus on the drama and news surrounding us. But artists need to create.
My writing partner and I have had standing Tuesday writing sessions for years. We shifted these meetings from coffee shop to Zoom once the pandemic hit. What does a video writing session look like? We sit across from each other through our laptop and tablet screens and do our work. I’ve mentioned this to several writers. They are skeptical. They protest they are videoed out. The thought of virtual camaraderie depresses them. That is not the case for me.
I can see and hear my writing partner as she works in her creative space in her own home. She’s there. It is oddly comforting. I’m grateful I can speak to her if I get frustrated with a scene or chapter, but her presence also forces productivity because I can’t just pop up and start folding laundry, now can I? For those of you who can’t make the virtual leap, Julie Cameron suggests in her book The Sound of Paper that we enlist collaborative colleagues and friends to “book end” our tasks. Make a call at the beginning of your endeavor to announce that you are about to begin, and then call again when you’ve completed the task both to report in but also to express your thanks for keeping you on task. You could text, but a phone call is better. It has more weight.
Take one minute and complete the following exercise:
We learn to carve out the mental space and physical time to work on our projects simply by doing it. Every day. No matter how painful or frustrating it is. However it looks for you, enlist a new form of accountability into your daily routine. Happy creating!
For more blogs, check out Francine's past blogs on goal setting and other writing topics at www.24carrotwriting.com.