In the midst of COVID-19 . . . I’m so grateful for writing
Updated: Dec 28, 2020
If you’re like me, you’ve probably tried your fair share of coping mechanisms during *gestures wildly* all of this.
Personally? I’ve cried a bit, slept a lot, and obsessed over the baby rabbits that roam near my house. I’ve walked a cow path in my backyard, had too many one-way conversations with my dog, and gotten a little too involved with a certain Ben and his friend Jerry (another pint of Cherry Garcia, anyone?). It seems the one thing I haven’t yet attempted is basket weaving, but I’ve already ordered a basket weaving kit, so we’ll see.
Over and over again, I hear that one of the best ways to stay afloat is to state what you’re grateful for.
So, here it is: I’m grateful for writing.
I’ve found that I can only truly shut out *again, gestures wildly* when I’m writing. It’s an escape into the worlds I’ve built with the characters I love, and the creative process is both cathartic and engaging. In short, I feel better when I’m writing, and apparently, there’s some science behind that.
In a recent study on the link between creativity and happiness, a clear correlation surfaced:
“Tamlin Conner, a researcher at the University of Otago in New Zealand, and two American researchers analyzed surveys from over 650 young adults who had filled out daily online diaries for 13 days. Among other things, the questions asked how much time they’d spent in creative endeavors each day, and about their well-being: their levels of positive emotion, negative emotion, and what the researchers called “flourishing”—an overall sense of meaning, purpose, engagement, and social connection in their lives.
Results showed that people who were engaged in more creative activities than usual on one day reported increased positive emotion and flourishing the next day, while negative emotions didn’t change. However, the reverse effect did not seem to occur: People who experienced higher positive emotions on day one weren’t more involved in creative activities on day two, suggesting that everyday creativity leads to more well-being rather than the other way around.”
(I’ve linked the article at the bottom of this post if you’d like to check out the whole thing!)
Now, I know there are many writers who are struggling right now to connect with their words during all of this. And that’s okay. We all have to deal with this in our own way, and sometimes the energy just isn’t there. Do what you need to do, and take care of yourself.
In fact, there were many days in the midst of social distancing where I felt wholly uninspired. So, I refilled the well by reading other writers’ works. I offered to do positivity passes for other aspiring authors, dove headfirst into #Revpit and became a Head Counselor for #CampRevpit (shout out to the fabulous Jeni Chappelle for organizing that awesome online camp!). I consumed several books in a row like a hungry locust in a harvest-ready field. I made aesthetic boards. I played online writing games to connect with my fellow writers.
I bounced between editing, researching, and writing, and it reminded me that with perseverance, great things are on the horizon. Reading some of the pages by other aspiring authors-- WOW. These people are going to be published, and I can't wait to cheer them on when their first book hits the shelves. Listening to the advice of editors-- how wonderful is it that they dedicate their time and expertise like this? Interacting with other members of the writing community online-- how can there be this much talent and support out there? It's incredible!
Writing is my refuge not only because it lets me escape the present, but also because it reminds me that there is a future after all of this. A future where I’ll one day become a published author. And I'm sure you will, too.
Friends, celebrate your writing milestones, even if they seem small.
The world is a mess. If you can, escape into your own world and write. I’m grateful I did.
Stay safe and stay creative,