A week ago, life was normal. Today not so much. My children are officially home from school indefinitely, church is live streaming only, restaurants are closing all around us, and my once rigid routine is down the toilet. So what’s a writer to do?
Trust God. Because He makes beauty out of ashes.
I know recent developments have many of us scrambling for a plan—how to work from home while kids are home, how to communicate with the world around us while we’re all on social lock down, how to find time—and purpose—for writing. So I want to encourage you with a few suggestions for making the most of this season even while everything around us seems to be falling apart. Remember none of it is a surprise to God. And He has still called you to serve Him with your gifts. Here’s how we can do just that.
Look for the need. And I’m not just talking about toilet paper. How is your audience feeling right now? What fears, worries, hopes or questions are rising in their hearts—and how can your words address them? Write to serve people. This corona-crisis is creating chaos not just in our day-to-day routines but also in our emotional stability. Use your writing to point readers to Jesus, our only unshakeable foundation. They’ll be grateful for truth in the midst of this frenzy.
Be real. Are you scared? Lonely? Going nuts with all the family people under one roof? Welcome your emotions and let them fuel your writing. This will build your authenticity, which is a quality that readers are drawn to. Just be careful not to use your audience as a dumping ground. As writers sold out for Jesus, we ought to be real yet hope-filled. That hope is what our readers need most right now.
Block out time. Facebook is teeming with ideas for family schedules this week. How to homeschool, how to keep kids active, how to embrace this opportunity for quality family time. I’ve seen at least a dozen color-coded calendar templates already in the past two days, with more to come, I’m sure. No matter how you establish your family agenda on lock-down, make sure you reserve time for yourself in the schedule. Have an open conversation with your spouse and kids so that everyone understands writing will remain a priority for you. Then build in your writing time just as you’re building in mandatory math and exercise.
Shut down distractions. Email, social media, Zoom calls with friends. The trouble for us writers is that we do our work on a computer, which makes it super easy to switch back and forth from a Word doc to Facebook, Gmail, or the latest news feed. SHUT IT ALL DOWN. This is YOUR reserved writing time, so don’t sabotage it with temptations to stray from actually writing. Instagram will still be there when you’re done. Give your writing your undivided attention. You might be amazed how productive you can be.
Give yourself grace. At the same time, be kind to yourself if you find your best laid plans for writing just aren’t going to work out on any given day. Nobody is putting pressure on you but you—and God has a lot of grace for all of us. You’ll be better off taking a break and returning the next day, when your mind isn’t bogged down with frustration or external demands.
Keep a long-term outlook. This virus crisis is all new and strange right now. Remember that although much is uncertain, this new normal will not last forever. God has called you to write; therefore, He will equip you to finish the work He has called you to do, even in a crisis. When it’s all over and we’re free to escape our homes and set up our happy laptops in the downtown coffee shop once more, you will have gained tremendous ground toward a goal that was set long before coronavirus became a household term. Whether that’s consistent blogging, social posting, or writing a big-scale project like a book or screenplay, keeping your eyes on Jesus and what He has asked you to do will help redeem this season for His glory.
Keep writing, my friends. God is with us. And He will see us through!
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