Twelve Simple And Inspiring Writing Tasks To Do When You Don't Feel Like Writing

Wednesday, October 14, 2020

As writers we write. We stay the course even in the midst of a pandemic by sitting down at our computers or with our laptops with a mental or sometimes real sign on our office (or bedroom) door that says, "Do Not Disturb- Writer At Work." 

But there are those days, when I for one, just want to hold a warm cup of chamomile tea in the palms of my hands and thumb through some old magazines and not think about revising, or querying, or finishing a story to submit to that new literary magazine or anthology with the deadline quickly approaching. And lately, not frequently, but every now and then, I throw out all of the "I must get this writing project done now!" and say, "I need a break."  

And maybe you do too. Maybe you too have to give yourself permission to be not so knee deep in a writing project for a few days. Maybe you need to tell yourself to slow down, not speed up...just until you shake off some things like stress and anxiety...or as much of it as possible. You won't lose your writer's credentials if you do, and you'll also gain a multitude of restorative benefits. 

We writers have this finely honed ability for life. It will always rebound back to us even if we take a short sojourn away from it. But if the thought of not writing for a day sends shivers through your body and you must write, something, anything, here are twelve simple and inspiring writing tasks you can do:

1. Write a letter. Letters have become a lost art with the ease of social media and texting but I hope the art of letter writing is soon revived. Buy some beautiful stationary and pen a letter to a loved one to share a loving or humorous memory or to show how much they are appreciated. If you want to be fancy place a wax seal  on your envelope. And here's a bit of information you may already know, Jane Austen's epistolary novel, "Lady Susan," was written as letters exchanged among her title protagonist Lady Susan Vernon, her family, friends, and enemies.  

2. Have you been cooking more since the pandemic? What has been your favorite quarantine recipes? What have been food fails and "clean their plate of even the crumbs or sauce" hits with your family? Write down those recipes and the stories and lessons and bonding that came about because of them. Who knows, you may want to publish them in a magazine or write your own cookbook.

3. Write a short biography of an elder in your family and the era they grew up in. This is a great history lesson to share with children and teens.

4. Write one positive or motivational mantra for each day of the week, and yes, it can pertain to writing. 

5. Write a realistic day in your life comic strip. Don't worry about being a great illustrator, stick figures are allowed. 

6. Write an acronym for your name.

7. Write your name on a check for a charity, essential workers, an organization that assists poor or disenfranchised communities, or any cause that is dear to your heart and changes lives for the better. No amount is too small, every penny counts. 

8. Describe a DIY you completed and write down step by step instructions you can later submit to a magazine. DIY projects have skyrocketed since the pandemic and people have been stuck at home. The fact that you refurbished an old desk to look like a piece of art can inspire others to tackle a craft or home improvement project. 

9. Write down your vision for yourself as a writer. Where do you see yourself in the next six months? What writing goals do you want to accomplish? 

10. Write greeting card verses. Who doesn't love receiving a greeting card with a thoughtful or humorous verse. Have you ever thought you could have written that? Well you can. Even if you only write them for friends and family. If you have a knack for it, you can send those verses, poems, and phrases, to greeting card companies in the hopes they'll publish and pay you for your sentiments. 

11. We all need a superheroine these days when we don't feel as if we have the emotional and physical energy to be one ourselves. Create a fictional superheroine, maybe one that saves the world from Coronavirus. This heroine might even plant the seeds for your next sci-fi novel.

12. Write lists. Write a list of fun trivia questions and see if your friends and family can come up with the answers on Zoom. Have an adult version and a children's version. Write the best list of all, a list of the things you're grateful for during these testing and unusual times, because there are still many things, and sometimes you have to take a break and pause to remember them.


Jeanine DeHoney's writing has been published in numerous magazines, anthologies, and blogs. She was recently interviewed by author Kathryn Schleich for her author's blog, and will have an essay published in the upcoming Winter Issue of "Please See Me," an online literary journal.  


Cathy C. Hall said...

A wonderful list, Jeanine! Especially liked #7. ♥

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Cathy.

Renee Roberson said...

These are so creative, Jeanine! I'm proud to say today I donated to the local Down Syndrome Association fundraiser by ordering some doughnuts a local bakery is selling to raise money. I'm in the middle of a hell deadline week, but that small gesture made my heart feel good, and my family will be surprised next week when the treats show up on our doorstep! I also want to write a few letters to some friends I've been missing.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Renee. Your gesture will benefit many. And yes, it does make your heart feel good when you are making a difference in someone's life, and what may seem small to you, is big to so many others. I'm sure your loved ones will love and appreciate your letters.

Sioux Roslawski said...

Jeanine--I'm with Cathy. I especially loved #7. I cook meals at one of the local Ronald McDonald Houses, and because of the coronavirus, volunteers can't cook there for a while. However, they still are in need of meals, so a friend coordinated a bunch of us to donate money and arranged for restaurants to deliver meals.

Only Jeanine would cleverly combine charity and writing. Well done!

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Sioux, what a wonderful way to continue to serve others in this time of Coronavirus. And thank you.

Sue Bradford Edwards said...

What a wonderful bundle of inspiration! Saturday we are handing out boxes at the mobile market. I have to admit that as often as I've worked with the food bank, I never considered writing them a check.

Jeanine DeHoney said...

Thank you Sue. What a wonderful service you are doing working at the food bank.

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