1. Frequently check in with yourself as you work. Be honest. If you need a minute to just breathe, give yourself two.
2. Write about a happy memory, or write a story that just makes you feel good no matter how “predictable” or “cliche” you think it is.
3. Or, write about what’s happening around you if that makes you feel better. Sometimes we write about darkness because it helps remind us to look for the light.
4. Set small goals. But don’t be too hard on yourself if you just don’t have it in you to reach them right now.
5. Distract yourself with other stories. Movies, TV shows, other people’s books. It’s kind of like homework … right? It’s not writing, but it might give you some ideas, or at the very least, ease your mind just enough to make space for new ideas to settle in.
6. Journal. Write about what’s on your mind right now. It doesn’t have to be with a pen and paper, you can use your phone or a blank document on your computer.
7. Find better distractions than social media. It’s not the best place to calm down or find the information you’re looking for right now. There are some spaces you can connect with others, though, if that’s what you need between writing sessions.
8. There’s nothing wrong with using this time to get a bunch of writing done. Don’t feel guilty about that. If you’re able to write, write.
9. Have a virtual “writing party” with a friend. Motivate each other. Get some stuff done!
10. This is also a great time to give all your random ideas an equal chance at transforming into projects. Just run with what comes to mind and see where it goes. What do you have to lose?
11. Take a lot of breaks. It’s OK to feel tired and overwhelmed. Don’t lose yourself in those feelings, but don’t cut yourself off from them completely either.
12. If you have to postpone writing because you want/have to spend time with your loved ones, don’t feel guilty about it. The world won’t stop turning, but you can slow down, even for just a little while.
Meg is the creator of Novelty Revisions, dedicated to helping writers put their ideas into words. She is an editor and writer, and a 12-time NaNoWriMo winner. Follow Meg on Twitter for tweets about writing, food, and Star Wars.