How to Maximize Your Time During the Coronavirus Pandemic
3 key ways for writers to take advantage of their time, from an Australian writer in lockdown.
I don’t even know what day it is.
Wherever you are, if you’re currently experiencing some form of lockdown in your home countries, you’ve come to realise that the days pass by in such a blur that you find yourself struggling to remember if today was the start, middle or end of the week. In Australia, we’re currently on either day 24 or 25 of the lockdown (or it may be even less.)
Here I am, my mind on the verge of slipping into a senile stupor, comfortably floating in the goo of the insipid and sluggish pace of life that is 2020 ever since the term ‘coronavirus’ rudely disrupted the near clockwork schedule which ran our lives.
It’s not to say that I’m not aware of the extremely valid and responsible reasons for essentially experiencing what it’s like to be put under house arrest. At least here, in Australia, such drastic measures have managed to reduce daily coronavirus infection rates from 20–30% to around 9% for the past few days. That, in addition to extensive testing and a robust medical system, has resulted in Australia having one of the lowest coronavirus death tolls in the world. This is something to be grateful for, especially when compared with the unimaginable horrors happening in other parts of the globe wrecked by the virus’ unassailable advance.
However, this is not an article about COVID-19, as we’re already inundated with largely depressing and heart wrenching news about the virus for every waking minute of our lives. Instead, I want to focus on a segment of society that may very well be accustomed to working from home in the first place. I’m talking about my fellow author and writers, who are right now realising that what world governments call ‘lockdown’ is actually just another way of describing our lives to begin with. Solitary homebodies.
I’m talking about my fellow author and writers, who are right now realising that what world governments call ‘lockdown’ is actually just another way of describing our lives to begin with.
In this piece, I want to focus on what writers could do in order to fill up their time. With businesses shut, the global economy essentially put on ‘pause,’ and many people around the world now finding themselves stuck at home with an unlimited amount of time to fill, I want to suggest three ways in which writers could maximise and take advantage of the time they are currently spending in lockdown.
Support struggling authors
As the pandemic continues to take more and more lives and halts the global economy, there are many doing it rough. The arts, in particular. I can only speak from personal experience, but the virus has shuttered almost all avenues for an aspiring author or writer to get published or to continue to support themselves through their written work.
Publishing offices have shuttered and printing options are unavailable. Large and small bookshops that remain closed have not only deprived readers of their favourite browsing past time, but also hurt those that have relied on the ‘bookworm’ economy to keep themselves and their family fed.
Find a struggling author that you love and purchase their book, if only to either entertain yourself during lockdown or to support their craft. Pandemics can sweep away lives, but it will never sweep away love and passion for the people and things you hold dearly in your life.
Sharpen your quill
Writing is a fickle talent. Do too much of it, and you run the risk of the infamous ‘writer’s block’. Do too little, and you run the risk of forgetting how to write in the first place.
You’ll be forgiven for not trying to write too much during your busy periods. I certainly have. As my graduate position started taking more and more of my time, I found myself dedicating less and less time to the passions that have shaped the person that I am today — namely, writing. It’s not to say that I don’t do any of that in my regular job. It’s to say that I don’t complate any entertaining and eventful writing in my nine-to-five, ones that ignites the imagination and elicits the same passions in your readers as well.
However, since the shutdown, I’ve found time to rekindle my interest in writing and have since dedicated a part of the day to it, as a way to mix up my mundane lockdown schedule. Use this time to practice and perfect your craft so that, once this crisis is over, you stand ready with sharpened quill to fill people’s imaginations with boundless stories once more.
Use this time to practice and perfect your craft so that, once this crisis is over, you stand ready with sharpened quill to fill people’s imaginations with boundless stories once more.
Complete your manuscript
Finally, for the aspiring authors out there with full time jobs that keep us away from our manuscript, you know what the next segment is talking about.
Ever since starting my first full time job, my manuscript has been the sacrificial lamb — bloodied, butchered and ignored at the alter of the ‘ticking and billing’. It takes all of my effort to get back to my apartment from the office, bleary eyed and ready to hit the sack, only to start my masochistic lifestyle all over again the next morning.
Since the lockdown, my schedule has somewhat calmed down. Time spent travelling to the office is now time that I get to wake up later and shower at my own leisure before clocking into my ‘online desk’.
However, I have also taken the opportunity to use the spare time that has been gifted to me to continue writing my manuscript for my debut novella — which had been shuffled to a dusty and neglected corner in my mind — as I grappled and came to terms with having a full time job for the first time. Since then, I’ve managed to add three more chapters to my manuscript. I’m also in the process of editing the first few chapters with a revised goal of publishing it in the middle of the year instead of the end of the year, dictated by the demands of my job.
Use this time wisely. Brush the dust of your old manuscript and start writing again. When you’ve done so, you’ll remember why books were your passion in the first place.