The Writer’s Desk: Four self-care tips for writers during a pandemic

Writers tend to be isolated, more so now that there’s a pandemic. How do we keep our minds and bodies fit in order to facilitate our writer’s brains?

Take a walk

Exercise is proven to help writers work out ideas, but the cold, rainy season in the Pacific Northwest isn’t always conducive to taking a daily stroll. One thing that has helped me from gaining weight during the pandemic is Leslie Sansone Walk at Home workouts. Why would I need a system for walking when I can just put two feet in front of me and go? Leslie Sansone’s workouts encompass more than an ordinary walk. For example, Her Miracle Miles system (1-5 miles) adds resistance training using a stretchy band or weights, along with lateral movement, squats, kicks, and more. If you stroll around the neighborhood doing hamstring kickbacks and knee raises, you’re likely to get curious glances from the neighbors. On a rainy, winter day, you can do all the movements in the privacy of your living room. Sansone’s numerous workout routines are available on DVD and streaming services. Some of her older workouts are free on YouTube but you may have to endure intermittent ads.

Commune with other writers

One of the best things I’ve done to relieve the blues during the pandemic is participate in retreats with the Writers Happiness Movement sponsored by author/yoga teacher Lori Snyder. The first three-day virtual retreat I attended was initially scheduled to take place at an actual retreat center, but instead of canceling it entirely, Lori offered it online for free. Unlike most writing conferences, there’s no writing instruction. Instead, these retreats offer a place for writers to meet up online. Lori creates a schedule of events and participants are welcome to come to all, a few, or just one or two. Some show up for only the yoga or meditation sessions. Others come to enjoy a meal or a cocktail hour with old and new writer friends. The enrollment is large, and once Lori has everyone gathered, she divides us into Zoom rooms. I’ve done three retreats this year and I’ve made friends with people who have come regularly. Snyder also offers FREE weekly prompts and yoga sessions.

Subscribe to Jane Freidman’s blog

Jane Freidman is an industry leader who offers updated insights on writing, publishing, and marketing to help you stay focused. Her timely blog offers free advice from her and guest bloggers ranging from how to craft a query letter to how to restart an abandoned novel. Her site offers low-cost writing workshops presented by Jane and from other masters of the trade. Friedman has compressed much of her wisdom in her new book.

 

I’ve met her both in person and online and I’ve found her to be generous and approachable. One caution: the site is so comprehensive it’s tempting to fall into a rabbit hole of reading and watching archived YouTube videos. Recently I searched for an article on the shapes of stories and spent 45 minutes watching videos of writers such as Kurt Vonnegut and Margaret Atwood.

Keep a pandemic journal

It’s hard to get motivated when each day blends into the next, and many of us have resorted to wearing pajamas and sweats one hundred percent of the time. Remind yourself that we’re living in a crucial time in history that screams to be documented. In his sensational book, The Splendid and the Vile, Erik Larson uses war diaries by ordinary citizens to add fascinating details to what daily life was like during Churchill’s involvement in World War II. Future generations will want to know how we adapted to 2020 with its numerous challenges, and the creative solutions re devised in order to thrive, so start writing. Here’s a good example from Edmonds author Jennifer Bardsley.

How are you managing during this unprecedented time? I’d love to hear your tips.

Laura Moe is the author of three novels and is currently President of Development at Edmonds based EPIC Group Writers. See our website for the annual writing contest and more. Moe’s fourth novel, THE BLUE WHALE OF SUMMER, is scheduled for release in 2021.

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