• Read this: http://absolutewrite.com/forums/showthread.php?288931-Guidelines-for-Participation-in-Outwitting-Writer-s-Block

    before you post.
  • We’re running on a new server at a new host with a new forum software called XenForo. Some things are different. Some things may not work as expected. I am working on it as fast as I can. Please be patient. Please read this post.
  • I'm going to be working on the forums for a while. Things may be wonky. I may turn the forums off without notice. Consider this a bit of a public beta test as we figure out the new software and make adjustments. But you've been much missed, and we can't wait to see you again!

Writer's Block Due to Covid-19

editing_for_authors
Editing for authors: because every writer needs a good editor.

Famoustapu

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
I think I'm having writer's block due to the overwhelming stress caused by the pandemic. I can't focus and it seems I'm having anxiety. Like I have this idea, then I jump on the next, then I get confused, and end up having nothing. Usually, I would go somewhere peaceful where it's easier to think. However, I am scared to go out like the usual right now. I want to avoid the circus happening outside. Is somebody else experiencing this? How do you cope up?

I hate this virus. I think it got to me mentally.
 

lizmonster

Possibly A Mermaid Queen
Absolute Sage
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 5, 2012
Messages
7,658
Reaction score
68
Location
Massachusetts
Website
elizabethbonesteel.com
It's not just you. I can write some days, but so often it's kind of halfhearted shoving at the keyboard, if you know what I mean. I do better with blogging, or with nattering here.

The whole world is...odd, right now. Everyone's going to handle it differently. For me the best thing to do is acknowledge that all of this is strange and unprecedented, and do what I need to do to get through the moment, even if it's not writing.

You're not alone. :Hug2:
 

ChaseJxyz

Writes birds and bird accessories
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 5, 2020
Messages
592
Reaction score
13
Location
California
Website
www.chasej.xyz
Everyone handles stress differently. Everyone has different tolerances for stress. Someone who still has their job and is working from home is going to be having a really different time from someone who's been unemployed since COVID started. Try not to compare yourself to other people's progress. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, find things that you can do that makes you happy. If that's putting writing down until you feel like you're in a better place, then so be it. I've found that baking/cooking has been good, since it's a physical thing I make with my hands and I can see it form over time, I can share it with my roommate and eating food feels good. My sister has been gardening for similar reasons, lots of people do home improvement or organization projects for the same thing.
 

Woollybear

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Nov 27, 2017
Messages
4,501
Reaction score
-1
Location
USA
As trite as it may sound, and hopefully it doesn't sound that way, I find that celebrating small successes can really help.

Seeking common experience, as you've done here, is a success. :) You are among friends.

I also cope by having a set routine and marking my own progress. I go in the back yard when I need a break. I look at what has been accomplished this year despite the challenges. We've accomplished a lot, this year. We all learned how to do one or more of the following: how to zoom, how to make sourdough starter, new hobbies, new recipes, getting in shape, or getting comfortable with being out of shape, :), new ideas, new connections, new opportunities (I found three online writer conferences, woot!), -and we all share this year. We will all look back knowing we got through this together.

(One day soon, we will say hindsight is 2020 :) ).

Hang in there.
 
Last edited:

mrsmig

Write. Write. Writey Write Write.
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 4, 2012
Messages
6,869
Reaction score
22
Location
Virginia
You're not alone. I've been trying to finish the final book in my epic fantasy series, but it's been like trudging uphill through mud. I'm a professional stage actress and have been out of work since March, with no real work in sight for the foreseeable future. While my husband's salary alone is sufficient to keep us comfortable, I miss my work, my theatre friends, and being in a creative, collaborative atmosphere.

Weirdly, though, I REALLY miss having to budget my time to write. When I was busy with a show, I had to squeeze my writing in when I could. I knew those spare minutes were precious, and I used them wisely. Now, with nothing but time on my hands, I can't get inspired.
 
Last edited:

Cobalt Jade

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,148
Reaction score
4
Location
Seattle
I am working, but the COVID circumstances have made my job really stressful, so when I'm home, I sleep more and don't feel like doing much of anything. I do keep up my blog though.
 

CalRazor

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Aug 30, 2017
Messages
379
Reaction score
0
I think for me, writer's block manifests in writing something halfheartedly rather than a complete "blackout."

What helps is escape from the grind of writing (feeling the pressure to do it), examples: listening to narrations, playing video games, reading etc.
 

Famoustapu

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
Thank you all for your responses. I appreciate all your thoughts.

Everyone handles stress differently. Everyone has different tolerances for stress. Someone who still has their job and is working from home is going to be having a really different time from someone who's been unemployed since COVID started. Try not to compare yourself to other people's progress. Do what you need to do to take care of yourself, find things that you can do that makes you happy. If that's putting writing down until you feel like you're in a better place, then so be it. I've found that baking/cooking has been good, since it's a physical thing I make with my hands and I can see it form over time, I can share it with my roommate and eating food feels good. My sister has been gardening for similar reasons, lots of people do home improvement or organization projects for the same thing.

I think the stress mostly is due to uncertainties, but hopefully, things will get clearer as we move ahead. It's just overwhelming right now. I read this article from World Health Organization https://www.who.int/publications/i/...6icr6c2uUAKmWSvEGNWngzzAq-rH__zRoCHRsQAvD_BwE about doing what matters. It's on point. Well, we all know this somehow, but this reminded me of what I should be doing.

Now, with nothing but time on my hands, I can't get inspired.

I think this is what's missing. I'm not sure I'm inspired to write or even do anything. Usually, an idea just pops in my head like when I'm in the middle of a conversation/of doing something and I'm like, "I need to get on my laptop, quick!"



I think for me, writer's block manifests in writing something halfheartedly rather than a complete "blackout."

What helps is escape from the grind of writing (feeling the pressure to do it), examples: listening to narrations, playing video games, reading etc.

This is true. The pressure of writing and finishing something messes our minds and could sometimes ruin a good start.
 

vicelimmer

Registered
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
Thanks for sharing that. I do the grounding technique sometimes. It helps with overwhelming stress and emotions.
 

Famoustapu

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
Grounding technique involves the use of our five senses. 5 things you see, 4 things you can touch, 3 things you hear, 2 things you smell, and 1 thing you can taste.
 

UntoldStoryteller

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 21, 2020
Messages
57
Reaction score
0
Location
Austin, TX
As many have said: you are not alone. It’s wearing us all down (sometimes I think even when we don’t realize it).

Something that’s been successful for me is “recreating” the spaces I used to write most successfully. If that was a cafe, maybe I’ll UberEats a Starbucks (I know, who does that???) and turn a chair to face an entirely new wall/window/whatever, turn on some “cafe music” and put in noise canceling headphones. Sometimes I’ll even put one of those weird YouTube clips on that mimic the sound of people chatting in the background. It isn’t perfect and things like that won’t totally block out the family/kids/pets/stress of being at home, but the mental gymnastics might help create a space for YOU!

Take care of yourself and +1000 to everyone who said: do what you need to do for you!
 

WeaselFire

Benefactor Member
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 17, 2012
Messages
3,535
Reaction score
0
Location
Floral City, FL
It's not writer's block if stress is causing issues with concentration or desire. That's simply stress, bringing on depression, treat it as such. If not writing is stressing you, put your writing in quarantine. Deal with the other stresses, those are what will cause you health and mental issues. Stay strong.

Jeff
 

vicelimmer

Registered
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
I agree we must deal with our stressors before we can find that peace and solitude. We cannot think clearly if we have a lot going on in our heads. But hopefully, this new year will mark a new beginning for us all. Keep safe!
 

MaeZe

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jun 6, 2016
Messages
9,190
Reaction score
33
Location
Ralph's side of the island.
I didn't realize how much stress I was having until I developed an obsession with Freddie Mercury and Queen videos. The ear worms when I'm not listening to the music frequently occupy my brain. Some of their music videos are incredible. I had forgotten how much music videos took over the music scene in the 80s.

I had some things that had to get done by today. I procrastinated every day until finally today I was out of time, so I got the things done.

I'm not eating right. Nothing sounds appetizing. I WANT TO EAT AT A RESTAURANT!! I'm afraid of takeout unless it's something I can bring home and reheat in the microwave.

I do hope 2021 will let me break out of this crazy place my head is in. I have a whole book written and almost ready to start trying to sell it. But my beta reader made me think I really need to redo the beginning one more time. Major redo. I started it, but now I'm in this brain fog. I can't believe we have been in isolation for a year, a frickin' year! It's no wonder some of us are having writer's block issues.

My son and daughter-in-law come to visit. We stay masked and social distance outside. And I chat with the neighbors at a distance, but we aren't outside that often because it's cold out. It affects you when you don't interact enough with people face to face.

I plan to keep a schedule that includes writing. I hope to start it tomorrow. It's a new year. 2021 will be different. There is an end in sight to both the isolation and getting rid of the most awful President this country has ever had. We are almost at the top of the hill that 2020 has been. It will be different. It will be a new year!
 

Cobalt Jade

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Oct 21, 2015
Messages
2,148
Reaction score
4
Location
Seattle
Oh, Maeze. I sympathize! I'm a good cook, but I am tired of eating my own cooking. I want to eat someone else's food in a nice setting conducive to enjoying that food.

I have the opposite problem... I am living with my boyfriend so when I am not working we are together 24/7 except when he is hiking or outside doing something. Then in early September we got a puppy who is adding to the messiness and togetherness with rambunctious puppy energy. I feel I have no quiet to write. In work, I deal with the public for eight hours, so there is no rest and quiet there either. I need a vacation just by myself. I have an almost physiologic need to let my mind drift.
 

Bufty

Where have the last ten years gone?
Kind Benefactor
Super Member
Registered
Joined
May 9, 2005
Messages
16,759
Reaction score
0
Location
Scotland
Interacting with people face to face is what I miss most, too, Maeze.

My wife and I rattle around a three-bedroom detached house and go shopping once every few weeks. Even then I can't wait to be back in the car and home and out of risk, hopefully.

I'd go crackers if it weren't for WhatsApp and the ability to chat mask-less to my children and grandchildren, all of whom are hundreds of miles away.

At least I have a small garden.

I really feel for those who have no 'space' or contact with others.
 

vicelimmer

Registered
Joined
Mar 24, 2020
Messages
22
Reaction score
0
At this time, we all get to realize what we have. Like how long can you stand the people you're with. I mean, lucky for those who are happy whoever they're with. I'm sad for those who aren't and for all those who don't have much but the 4 corners of their room, not owning a backyard and all. It could drive someone nuts in the long run.
 

E. Stirling

Reconstructing Yard No. 400.
Registered
Joined
Jan 7, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
I can retreat into my own worlds I have created and cultivated for years now like watching a movie in my mind. So I suppose through back log of what I need to write keeps me going.

But I feel you on the ease of falling into a depression in today's global climate and with the ongoing health crisis. Do you have an project you are passionate about putting to paper? Think about that universe, be in it, if you are in a area that is under travel and social restrictions use the time. Then when things do open and that first chance of fresh air (literally or figuratively ) let it flow, burn through your back log. The beauty of writing to me is that you can decide what world you create, and how it functions.

I hope this somehow helps and if it takes time don't force it.
 

NINA28

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Mar 29, 2019
Messages
109
Reaction score
0
Location
UK
The thing is we are all so spoilt and not used to being told you can't go here when you want to. Or you can't meet with people whenever. Or you can't go to the supermarket and buy eggs because there aren't any!! Our generation is not used to being "put out", not used to rules out of the blue that seem ridiculous or would have two years ago. Never thought I'd see the day when people walked around the UK in masks. Never even occurred to me how nice it was shopping for food without a mask on my face making me hot and uncomfortable - and boy if you go out in the morning first thing and haven't brushed your teeth yet - BIG MISTAKE - I nearly died. I love cooking and I'm good at it but I'm fed up with eating things I cooked myself. I want to go out to eat or feel safe ordering take away. I'm a hermit by nature so the face to face thing never worked for me. MY step-dad laughs that the world is finally converting to my idea of how life should be lived. lol.

I live alone. I don't have any friends accept for my neighbours who are isolating as much as possible. No one wants to stand a talk it seems, even at a distance because it's winter and cold. I haven't spoken to a human in 3 weeks. It amazes me how people aren't bothering with the people who live alone. I tried to start pen buddies with a few neighbours but none wrote back. I have idiots on my estate who aren't paying any attention to the new lock down. I had to put my dog down, of eighteen years and I've had no one to support me and it was very hard. It's teaching me to be more self dependant.

Plus, day to day boredom of trying to find things to do. I did my house in the last 6 month lock-down. Painted rooms, tidied and cleaned out cupboards, watched DVD, re-read old books and some new ones. I'm just sick of sitting in and doing everything on my own.

Life changed very suddenly so it's been hard to swallow. It's definitely triggered my anxiety and all those things make concentration difficult. I need to go into a zone when writing and I have to be pretty chilled and focused to get there. Also boredom and having nothing to think about it making me come up with some stupid novel ideas that later make me wonder what I was thinking.

So you're not alone. Give yourself a break if you need to.
 

ProseJos

Registered
Joined
Jan 5, 2021
Messages
14
Reaction score
0
It's hard to think of anything beautiful to write as the world seems to be in a total mess. Even if you are not worried for yourself, it's the thought about other people, like why are they acting as such, etc. Anyhow, we all have to learn the art of ignoring what doesn't make us grow.
 

Famoustapu

Super Member
Registered
Joined
Jul 19, 2017
Messages
67
Reaction score
0
It's hard to think of anything beautiful to write as the world seems to be in a total mess. Even if you are not worried for yourself, it's the thought about other people, like why are they acting as such, etc. Anyhow, we all have to learn the art of ignoring what doesn't make us grow.

Truly bothersome, but I'm getting by. Keeping myself busy with whatever creative things I can do. How are you guys? What's your thought about the vaccine?