Henry David Thoreau may have been the father of social distancing. After all, he spent more than two years living alone at Walden Pond. When he emerged, he was able to create one of the most beloved written works of all time. Is it possible for a writer to do the same while following social distancing protocols today?
It’s clear that Covid-19 related stay at home orders and other measures are bringing out the creativity in many of us. People are making art, baking, gardening, and pursuing other outlets like never before. There’s clearly a connection between isolation and artistry. Now, how can you leverage that to improve your writing?
Local Writing Communities Are Connecting Online
Literary communities have responded to social isolation orders by heading to the internet. They are forming virtual book clubs, holding workshops, even heading up initiatives to support independent writers. Libraries and independent booksellers are reaching out to writers as well.
If you’ve never participated in your local writing community, now is the time to start. After all, there are no barriers to doing so. As long as you have an internet connection and some time to dedicate, you can become part of something great. Here are just a few of the benefits you’ll enjoy:
- Getting feedback on your writing from other professionals.
- Gaining inspiration from other creatives.
- Connecting with other writers, booksellers, and creative types.
- A sense of obligation to write and read as well.
This is a perfect time to lean on others who will inspire you to create content that is engaging and interesting.
Use This Time to Rework Your Writing Space
If social media has it right, people are spending their time in isolation baking sourdough bread, learning to paint, building raised bed gardens, and working on a variety of other projects. This is the perfect time for you to tackle a project as well. Why not give your writing space an upgrade?
This is more than a vanity project. When writers have a comfortable workspace that works for them, it’s much easier to focus on the more important work of writing. In addition to making your space aesthetically pleasing, you should also focus on good lighting, having plenty of space, and ergonomics.
Once your space is settled, you might consider whether the writing tools and resources you’re using meet your needs. This is a good time to explore new technology and writing and editing resources such as Supreme Dissertations, Studicus, or Canva.
Change And Disruption Challenges Your Thought Process
Estelle Liotard of Trust My Paper is working to adjust to a more isolated daily existence. She says, “social distancing and stay-at-home orders have created a new reality for many of us. This reality is oftentimes frustrating. If you are contending with schedule changes, new demands on your time, and various other stressors you aren't alone.”
However, this may not be entirely negative. Adversity has a way of creating creativity. It forces you to come up with innovative solutions to problems. Think of this as a great exercise for your brain.
Follow Other Creative Pursuits
Creativity tends to promote creativity. If you’re feeling stuck in your writing, this is the perfect time to find another creative outlet. In fact, one of the positives that have emerged during this time is the sheer number of organizations that are offering resources to people who wish to engage in creative activities. Check with local museums, universities, community centers, and you might find:
- Online music lessons.
- Video painting and drawing instruction.
- Downloadable craft kits and ideas.
- Printable mandalas for painting.
- Instructional cooking and baking videos.
Of course, you can also simply grab some of your own arts and crafts supplies to start creating.
Final Thoughts: Solitude Fosters Creativity
Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi created the psychological concept of ‘Flow’. This is a highly focused mental state that people can enter when they are truly engaged in their work. One thing he also discovered in his research is that people who have trouble being alone, often don’t develop creative abilities.
Here’s the deal. Solitude can be uncomfortable. There’s no doubt that Thoreau struggled with loneliness. This is certainly a time during which you may struggle with feelings of isolation. Still, as a writer, it’s important to experience these things in order to gain the benefits. When you’re alone, you have more time to daydream, to reflect, to read, and to work through those ideas that haven’t quite formed yet.