How To Do Creative Writing During Self-Isolation

By Ellen Kershner on April 17 2020 in How to

Creative writing is a great way to spend your time during lockdown.
Creative writing is a great way to spend your time during lockdown.
  • Coming up with a topic can be a first hurdle
  • Writer’s block is not uncommon
  • There are many websites that list different creative prompts for writers of all ages
  • The three main ones are a plot, characters, and a theme.

Now that the toilet paper jokes phase has passed and everyone needs a haircut, the reality of self-isolation has set in and people are getting stir-crazy. Watching Netflix and taking walks have both become popular, but activities that actually stimulate the brain are better for your sanity. They can even make you smarter!

Being cooped up is the best time to perfect your creative writings skills, whether it be writing poetry, comedy, short stories, or even that long-delayed novel you have been putting off. If it has been a long time since you have attempted creative writing, you may need to dust off some cobwebs at first. Here are some ways to get started.

Parameters For Getting Started

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With all this extra time, it is possible to set a limit of how many words can be written per day. Rookies can aim for around 500, and try increasing it by 100 words daily until the count feels about right.

The first thing to do is to create a comfortable space where you feel relaxed and can sit for long stretches of time. Coming up with a topic can be a first hurdle, but it helps to write about what you know. Life experiences are highly relatable, and can be elaborated on. Also, since self-isolation can lead to feelings of anxiety and depression, it can help to work with ideas that make you happy. Instead of writing about sad experiences, look to positive ones that inspire you.

Looking For Inspiration

Creative writing can help you travel in your mind despite being confined to the boundaries of your home. Image credit: Inara Prusakova/Shutterstock.com

Writer’s block is not uncommon, but there are methods that can ease you through. There are many websites that list different creative prompts for writers of all ages, and they can lead to that light (picture a lightbulb illuminating over your head) you need.

Thejohnfox.com is one of these sites, and it lists 50 different prompts and ideas for writers looking to get those creative juices flowing. One of its suggestions is to simply look around your home for objects that could be the main object in a story or poem. Another is to imagine two strangers meeting, and see where the story goes from there. Similar creative writing websites include thinkwritten.com and thewritepractice.com.

Creative Writing Elements

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Although some creative writing can be way out there, most successful pieces have distinct elements. The three main ones are a plot, characters, and a theme. Unique plots are central to stories, although many plots are based on ones previously written. These can also be highly creative if they have a twist that you interject with aplomb.

Characters should be interesting and not fall flat; you should invest a decent amount of words towards character development. Keep in mind that they do not have to be likable; villains and other imperfect characters can be remarkably interesting to readers. Most importantly, your audience should be able to understand your characters’ thoughts and actions.

Themes are also integral to stories, as there is nothing worse for a reader than feeling disappointed after a story is finished. Good creative writing pieces always have underlying themes or messages, and they sometimes teach valuable lessons. Without them, the stories do not feel complete, and the audience is left hanging.

Other Resources

If your creative writing project still has not found roots, you can try connecting with others in the field. Writespace.com offers online workshops with other creative types, and it can be accessed via Zoom. If you are really serious about it (and can afford it), you can check out Coursera.com, which offers online courses from established institutions like Wesleyan Universities. Good luck!

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