Four months into lockdown and monotony can set in. Every day is a never ending loop of waking up to the exact same surroundings and doing the same thing over and over again. Each week hardly looks distinguishable from the next. While staying at home for an extended period of time hasn’t been that difficult for me, we introverts are often thrilled when we aren’t forced to interact, there is a sense of longing to be able to go on trips or hang out with friends without worrying if the big bad C will come and get you. To add a little variety during my weeks, I have taken the initiative to pick up other skills or hobbies when I need a little break from the usual ones I’ve been doing.
One of the reasons why I enjoy writing my own stories is the total control I have over everything. I get to decide if my story takes place in the real world or a fantasy. I choose what my characters look like, what color eyes they have, and how they dress. I can dictate if my main character will be a heroine who lives happily ever after or will have their life end in tragedy. That’s the thing about writing—there’s no limit to what you can do. You’re in the driver seat the entire time. But one of the challenging parts about writing is deciding what to name your characters.
When it comes to appreciating the smaller things in life, especially in this time of upheaval, I’m grateful to have such a wide and varied number of interests to get through this pandemic. If you’re able to stay home during this public health crisis to keep yourself and others safe, one of the things you might be wondering about is what do you do to keep yourself busy and sane until it’s all over? In my case I’m glad I’m able to hop from one hobby to the next without ever really getting bored. I’ve talked about writing, gaming, and watching shows to pass the time. Another thing I’ve been doing to keep my mind occupied, and taking a much needed break from the bleak news out there, is reading.
Writing my current novel has been an on-again, off-again love affair for years. I would have days where I seem committed to it, and I felt nothing could break my momentum. Then a few weeks or months go by and my unfinished draft goes untouched, gathering digital dust in a folder on my computer. Now that I’ve managed to gradually overcome the hurdles stopping me from writing, regardless of how much I still doubt if what I’m doing is still worth the effort of pursuit, I’ve gotten into a writing routine that has worked and helped me immensely in the last few months.
We’re living in some pretty crazy and scary times right now. None of us could have predicted how drastically the start of a new decade would unravel right before our very eyes. The world has come to a screeching halt and livelihoods have been upended by something we have no control over. The only thing we can do is hunker down and take care of those who are most vulnerable from this pandemic, while helping our healthcare providers and staff from getting overwhelmed at our local hospitals. Despite the severity and gravity of the situation everyone around the world is trying to make sense of and navigate the best way they can, one thing spending time in self-isolation has done, at least for me, is put everything in perspective.
When you’re an aspiring writer in the process of creating your own work of art that will someday be read by a wider audience, you naturally want to obtain the best advice on how to go about the process. I’ve been reading plenty of articles or watching interviews of artists who explain what tips and tricks they use to spark their creativity. One of the best nuggets of wisdom I have taken from them and applied to my own work in progress is creating character profiles.
From the moment I made a promise to myself that 2020 and beyond would truly be different for reaching my targeted writing goal (finishing a full manuscript), I knew one of the things I would have to work out is scheduling.
Creative or artistic types tend to have a reputation for being a little unusual or eccentric. Our brains process things a little differently than most people, and we seek to draw outside of the lines rather than stay within them. Sometimes you don’t notice a trait or habit is not really considered the norm until you find yourself surveying your workspace or discussing what a typical day of creativity feels like with someone else. Recently, I’ve realized my own little quirk.
Writing is hard. There are moments when you get sudden sparks of inspiration only for it to fizzle just as quickly. I’ve been slowly undergoing a rediscovery for my writing and feeding my creativity by doing things that will help me create the worlds and characters I’m currently writing about for my long-time, in-the-works fantasy novel. Because the urge to tap back into this side of writing has been strong for me lately, it was a good time as any to go back and read what I did write so far before taking a hiatus (2017 to be exact). What I discovered was maybe what I was writing wasn’t all that bad as I thought it was.
What is passion? The dictionary has multiple meanings behind the word, but when it comes to expressing a love for film, music, art, books, video games, sports, and other areas of interest and pursuits, the applicable definition here is “an object of desire or deep interest,” according to Merriam-Webster. When we tell someone what we’re passionate about, there’s almost an all consuming fire that goes along with it. The flames are fanned and continues to burn brighter and faster until there’s nothing but you and your intense devotion to the thing you adore.
I’ve been passionate about writing ever since I discovered my propensity for the written word and storytelling when I was a pre-teen getting ready to enter high school. Stories and potential characters dance around in my head, begging to come alive on the page. But even though there is a boundless and unyielding passion to write, the biggest problem is tying down passion’s other partner—motivation.