How to Write a Book in The Middle of a Lockdown
Updated: Aug 27
My first blog post in 2020 and I never thought I'd ever quite write a post like this. If you like me have been writing a book during the COVID-19 pandemic, then you'll be no stranger to feeling overwhelmed, not being able to concentrate or lost in the abyss of uncertainty and wanting to give up on your book. That's why I want to write this post for you aspiring authors who feel that you just can't get your book done when the truth is you can! Really, there's no rush. 2020 is no stranger to change and it takes time to adapt and it hasn't been easy. Here are some tips I've put together on how to write a book in the middle of a pandemic.
1. Create a Schedule
If there's anything about writing a book during a pandemic I have learnt is that a change in feelings are seemingly more spontaneous than they were before. One day you can be feeling great, the other getting to grips on the situation and then the next totally lost. That's why creating a schedule has helped me greatly in the process of writing my book.
Set yourself some time, even if it's just a couple of hours to write. If you're feeling overwhelmed when writing just push it aside and try the next day when you're feeling like you can continue with your ideas.
2. Take Occasional Walks
The coronavirus lockdown for many has been tough on our mental health, all the uncertainty circling the air and feeling isolated. Something that has helped me on occasion is taking walks to local beauty spots for some much needed fresh air to refresh the mind and system.
If you're able to, I really recommend taking a walk, even if it's just for half an hour. Taking walks is a great way to find new ideas for your novel and garner inspiration when you don't know how to take your storyline forward.
3. Eat Healthily
It's safe to say that lockdown has brought out our inner chef from baking cakes to cookies and eating our woes away, it seems easier than ever to gorge our way back into bad eating habits. I've found that making sure I prepare a healthy breakfast at the beginning of the day increases my energy levels and helps me garner as much creativity I can for a productive day of writing ahead.
Another thing to add is that on some days we feel deflated and far from motivated could be the result of lack of vitamins, and that is much more prevalent if we've spent days or even weeks indoors with little sunlight (Vitamin D), so one of the best tips for this is eating fruits and veg when possible to keep energy levels up.
4. Stay Connected, But Disconnect
This one for me has been the most challenging throughout the process of writing my book, especially throughout the pandemic with the need to know what's happening across the world on the news. During the pandemic, it has been incredibly draining to keep up as the global climate changes around us, with the added stress of the uncertain times ahead.
I think during isolation it's important to stay in touch with family and friends, but it's also just as important to set some time apart by switching off the internet completely to allow full concentration as you manifest your ideas down on the page in front of you. As much as we want to be on the internet all the time, it can be a huge distraction and the time you could be on the internet could be spent on polishing your book and planning your next.
5. Connect With Literary Agents and Writing Community
Throughout the lockdown, I've been researching and watching videos of fellow aspiring authors on their journey to publishing a book. I've also watched videos of literary agents who offer advice on the querying process of the do's and don'ts and it's been incredibly helpful.
Writing a book can seem like a lonely/intimidating experience when it's your first, just like most first times, and something that's helped me keep inspired is connecting with other writers and being a part of their journey too. If I know that it's going to take a couple of days before I can get back to writing, I usually catch up on my reading list and take the time to discover new authors and support their journey.
During a pandemic, a boost in morale has certainly been needed in the most agile of weeks when it seemingly feels like the book your writing is impossible to finish. The querying process can be fairly daunting too, but it's important to remember that rejection is re-direction and good things take time. As authors, while our stories are unique, it's to be amplified that we are all in this process together as collective creatives.
6. Meditate & Listen To Calming Music
Something which I find very helpful to focus away from all the online noise and negativity is to listen to some calming music. Writer's block can be a frustrating thing to overcome and listening to music can help to sift out the negativity that may be blocking us from seeing the bigger picture.
I often listen to classical piano playlists on Spotify to help me concentrate and relax. I would definitely recommend meditating too so you can focus less on the external world through the lens of social media when it all gets a bit too loud and pessimistic.
7. Query Your Book
This is a question I've seen get asked a lot: "Can I still query my book, even in the middle of a pandemic?" The very bold answer to this is a big YES. Believe it or not, many literary agents work on their own accord when reading through manuscript queries. Throughout the lockdown, some have been crying out for book submissions during this time to provide a much-needed distraction from all the bad news we've been hearing.
If your manuscript is ready and your preferred literary agents are accepting submissions then it is probably a good time to get the process of publishing your book going. You never know, you may make it to the top of their pile. Good luck!
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