Wednesday, May 13, 2020

Writing in Quarantine Chaos by Abigail Wilson

Covid 19 and the resulting quarantine has swept across the world, altering not only how we interact with one another but how we work. Writing has always been a solitary profession for me, kids at school, husband at work, as I bask in the quiet shelter of an empty house. Early on I realized productive writing involved silence, and I treasured it. So what do writers like me do when we’re suddenly isolated with our whole families?

Rethink everything.

At first I thought I could write while my children worked on their own online school assignments. At least it would be quiet, right? Turns out, online school requires constant parent participation, which for me only led to increasing levels of stress and frustration.

If this sounds familiar, take a deep breath. Sometimes God encourages us to take a pause and slow down. Writing during the Coronavirus quarantine will never look like it did before. Not only are we dealing with changes to our schedule, but the fear, loneliness, and grief hiding in the harsh unknowns of this threat certainly play a factor in our creativity. Allow yourself a moment’s break.

Then, when you’re ready, consider these ideas to manage your writing life:

1. Limit the distractions you can control. Turn off the alerts—email, phone calls, social media

2. Write at different times of the day, see what works best. Maybe you saved family time for the weekends. Well, now that’s the only time your spouse might be able to distract the kids. Take advantage if possible. What about writing at night or getting up early in the morning? Do whatever works for you and your family’s new schedule.

3. Think outside the box. What about writing in your car, either in the driveway or at a park? Don’t laugh. I do it three times a week, and it has been incredibly helpful. The porch is also a good option.

4. Write the scene you’re thinking about. If you’re an author like me, you write in a linear fashion, but I find now that writing whatever feels right for the time I have can be a bit easier during distractions.

5. Read. It’s research, right? And it gets the mind working. If you just can’t focus on anything new, pull out an old favorite. You might be surprised how easily you get lost in that beloved, familiar world.

6. Pray—“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7

In the end, whether five or five hundred words on the page is the new normal, give yourself some slack, and remember to keep your focus on what truly matters—God.

...whether five or five hundred words on the page is the new normal, give yourself some slack... via @acwilsonbooks #SeriouslyWrite


Abigail Wilson combines her passion for Regency England with intrigue and adventure to pen historical mysteries with a heart. A Registered Nurse, chai tea addict, and mother of two crazy kids, Abigail fills her spare time hiking the National Parks, attending her daughter’s diving meets, and curling up with a great book. In 2017, Abigail won WisRWA’s Fab Five contest and in 2016, ACFW’s First Impressions contest as well as placing as a 2017 finalist in the Daphne du Maurier Award for Excellence in Mystery/Suspense. She is a cum laude graduate of the University of Texas at Austin and currently lives in Dripping Springs, Texas, with her husband and children.

Masquerade at Middlecrest Abbey releases May 26, 2020.