Make a difference, and commit to the best opportunity you’ll ever get to focus on your writing and personal development, guilt free…
- If you identify yourself as a writer, if you’ve been waiting for a chance to make things happen, NOW is your time. Make it count.
- The industry needs new material like always, and with the writer’s strike combined with the lockdown, they’re not getting it – so make yourself their answer.
Last week, in our Director’s personal analysis of how the Covid-19 outbreak is transforming everyone’s lives and the future, we committed to promoting positive approaches every day to help writers through this unprecedented scenario (click HERE to see why). Today we’re setting out a plan for how writers can do their part to keep themselves healthy, progressing and on track to come out of the other side of the crisis with new strengths and momentum. That’s not encouraging anyone to be selfish: fact is, we all need the people living in lockdown who aren’t sick or bereaved, to stay strong themselves in order to support the people and initiatives that depend on it.
Fact is, nobody knows how long the lockdowns will last, and which aspects of them will be lifted at what times – and if lifting them leads to renewed spreads of the disease, full lockdowns may quickly result again. Without adequate testing for Coronavirus and immunity across the population, and a vaccine maybe another year away, it’ll be very hard for countries to fully lift many of the current restrictions. So you might find you have a LOT of time ahead of you to spend at home. Here’s how to make it all count, for the better, now and for your future.
If you identify yourself as a writer, and are living under lockdown but not currently ill, we urge you to COMMIT to this plan, or something a lot like it, so that you can come through these strange times confidently with the best attitude and outcomes possible. Allocate the time you would have spent commuting and doing other weekly journeys, to delivering this plan instead – and if you’ve regained any other time (due to a break in your work, for example), spend as much of it as you can afford to – in daily scheduled blocks – on your writing and personal development. This will help you keep positive and productive and pushing forward, whatever other challenges life is throwing your way.
Ready? Here’s your plan to make the lockdown work for YOU and your future:
- Remember that you could be living under lockdown for any length of time, and the challenges it is bringing to our lives can’t be helped. Make a conscious choice that, while doing whatever you need to for your living and the people around you, you will ALSO seize this one-off opportunity to focus on your personal development and your writing, to further yourself and come out of this crisis with new outcomes and products which will carry you to new levels throughout your future. You need to stay positive, focused and productive, for your own wellbeing and to give you the strength to support the people around you.
- First action to take is, reach out to all the people in your friends and family, colleagues and ex-colleagues, who might need help or reassurance right now, especially those living alone. Reconnect with people you’ve not been in touch with for a while. Show them you’re here to help, in whatever ways are possible right now. You’ll feel better for doing it, and so will they. Keep in touch – neither of you might need help right now, but sometime soon, anything could change.
- Set a daily routine, that mirrors your most comfortable natural patterns for waking, working, sleeping etc – and keep to it: our mental health and bodies suffer when we lack routines.
Don’t miss out on paid work you should be doing, and on striving to get more if you need it; and if you can volunteer or donate to good causes as well, go for it. But as well, if you’re a night owl not an early bird, why not shift the rest of your productive times to suit that? You can build your time, around whatever you and the people around you need in order to make the best of the situation. You might even find it gives you a new quality of life you’ve never been allowed to have before.
Meanwhile, also make sure there’s some daily exercise in there – you’ll feel much better the more you get to do, and there are lots of lockdown-friendly exercise/workout ideas online. Just don’t overload or guilt-trip yourself – instead, do what you can and aim to improve just a little every day.
Meanwhile, if you’re religious or just curious or open-minded, then yes, why not make a routine for prayers, meditation or structured mindfulness activities. Prayer is an action, which is focused on the things you’d like to change, and prayer has meditative qualities, so it can be positive for your mental and spiritual health too – and much better than worrying and ruminating, which are one-way streets in the direction of depression. Don’t fall into those mental traps – stay positive and focused on making a better future instead, with what powers you do have.
- Commit your first few weeks of lockdown to doing those jobs at home which you’ve been meaning to do for a while. Put them in a clear order that follows a natural sequence, and spend time making them happen. That might not sound very writing-related – but all domestic distractions are potential guilt trips and procrastination traps, when you’re trying to focus on your writing. You may find you’ll have to spend several months almost completely at home – so why not feel good about the new state you’ve got your home and your domestic life to from the start? So, guilt-free, take the time to tick as many domestic jobs off your list as you can. You’ll feel much more positive and motivated and focused when the daily things around you remind you of the progress you’ve already made, not the jobs you’ve still got left to do.
- You may be stuck at home, but you can still bring natural entertainment to you, and do your bit for nature. It’s Spring in most countries – so if you’ve got things to plant outside, now may be the perfect time, and you can watch them bloom over the year ahead, for wildlife to enjoy as well. Watching birds, butterflies and bees come and go can be a real tonic while you’re stuck at home – and nature is likely to flourish in our absence. If you’ve got only a little outdoor space, like a balcony or terrace in your flat, or just a window, see if you can set up some new plantpot, hanging basket or box to put out, and some seeds for birds. Once wildlife is coming and going, take regular breaks from work to sit and enjoy it. Relish the moment and having the space and time to enjoy it.
- Commit to the NEW WriteMovies 100-Day Creative Challenge. This will provide you with a daily prompt for a half-hour of creative activity to start your day, which will generate creative material and ideas you can take further, AND teach you something important about yourself as a writer, and about the key craft of writing, EVERY DAY – in a clear sequence of steps that will bring your skills and knowledge to a clear conclusion. Set a date when you will start, and fulfil it at the start of every weekday – or even every day – after that. We’ll launch the WriteMovies 100-Day Creative Challenge on Monday April 27th and will publish a new instalment every weekday from there. But if you start on another date, that’s fine, as they’ll be easily indexed on our website to access and use. Bookmark it!
- If you can commit to the 100-Day Creative Challenge, consider whether you could also find $99 a month, even if just for a month or two, to get daily mentoring from WriteMovies experts upon the products you generate in the Creative Challenge, and to receive further tools and activities to develop your writing skills and craft, and generate production-ready scripts in the process. If you CAN do this, then sign up to WriteMovies’ brand-new Academy Lite, which has been specially designed to transform our highly acclaimed Academy (with quality ratings above 90% across several years) into a lockdown-friendly package, at the lowest price we can afford in order to deliver meaningful daily mentoring while covering a living wage for the staff involved (do the math if you don’t believe us).
- When your start date comes, access and begin the Creative Challenges or Academy Lite. Put your cellphone away before you start, and turn off your computer/tablet’s internet connection too, for at least half an hour. Commit at least half an hour every day to following the daily activity prompt. Then, commit to spend the next phase of the day – as much time as you can, for example when your daily commute would have been – on doing your own writing and personal development. You will never get a better opportunity to focus on your writing and personal development – and you can still take plenty of time for reflection, recuperation and personal relationships. You can continue to do other work, and improve your domestic tasks and personal relationships, in the other parts of your day and weekend, to build on the momentum you established before: don’t let any day pass by without making some visible progress that satisfies you.
- Maintain your routines, and persist. Push through any uncertainties or writer’s block you experience: simply attempting the Creative Challenges and making a few notes as a result, will teach you vital insights into yourself as a writer, and your writing itself. Believe in a better future for yourself and the world on the other side of the crisis, and prove you’re working towards it every day with focus and clarity. Use your time and energies to bring it about for you, generating the products that will propel you to the next level when things return towards normal, and in preparing to do your bit for a better world afterwards.
- When all this crisis is over, don’t let life sweep you straight back into the normal rush and spirals of consumption and distraction. Don’t rush about – make your time in this world count. Appreciate everything you’ve had to go without. Enjoy this amazing time we’re living in. But don’t lose sight of the bigger picture. We can all live more modestly and more relaxed, and still feel better about ourselves. In the long term, the people around us and even the planet may thank us.
So yes, that’s the plan we recommend. We think it can make a big difference to helping people cope with a long-term lockdown, and build a better life and world on the other side of it. So get bookmarking and set reminders in your calendar. So make your decision now. Can you commit to this?
Make this plan yours. HERE is the link to the 100-Day Creative Challenge. And HERE is a link to our brand new Academy Lite service, for daily mentoring, tools and training. Bookmark them, and come back every day. Because every weekday through the coming months, we’ll be publishing new content to help you progress and stay connected and inspired.
Make this extraordinary time, and the future beyond it, YOURS.