Friday Fun – How to keep writing during turmoil

Friday Fun is a group post from the writers of the NHWN blog. Each week, we’ll pose and answer a different, get-to-know-us question. We hope you’ll join in by providing your answer in the comments.


It’s no secret that writers tend to be sensitive souls. Some of us have already written about how difficult it is to write during chaotic times. Recently, we’ve been hearing from other writers who tell us they are also having difficulty writing when there appears to be so much uncertainty and turmoil surrounding us.

It feels like a betrayal and selfish to isolate ourselves just to write and yet we need to continue writing.

What do you do to keep on writing when things seem to be overwhelming?


wendy-shotWendy Thomas – I recently got an Alexa – that little Amazon hockey puck that sits on your desk and talks to you. She can tell me jokes, she plays music, and she can order any book I want from Amazon (for my wallet’s well being I quickly turned that feature off.) Perhaps her greatest asset is that she can be a timer.

“Alexa set timer for 30 minutes.”

She does what I tell her and during that time I focus only on my writing for the entire 30 minutes (or hour or whatever.) I know that Alexa will let me know when the time is up with a gentle, soothing chime.

If given the freedom to write, I will write. When the timer goes off I look up from my writing and see that although things haven’t changed (yet) in the world, I have been able to get some work done.

lisajjacksonLisa J. Jackson:  I’ve been using the timer method for a while now. It’s amazing how productive I can be knowing I don’t have to watch the clock. And with the time, too, ‘shiny object syndrome’ is kept at bay because I’m only focused on one thing until I hear the bell. (I’ve taken to setting the timer for surfing FB and reading news lately, too.) Amazing what a little alarm clock can do for productivity and focus!

Deborah headshotDeborah Lee Luskin: How to keep going in the face of anxiety and outrage has been the theme of my post this week, Chop Wood, Carry Water, thanks to a comment from a reader on my last post for NHWN, Axes to Grind. I’m taking this Buddhist saying two steps further: Chop Wood, Carry Water, Make Phone Calls, Tell Stories.

Lee Laughlin CU 7-13

Lee Laughlin: I start by setting aside time. “Today I’ll write for x minutes.” Then when I sit down to write, I allow myself a warm up period where I just empty my brain of all the angst and drivel.  I have a small journal and my limit is 3 pages. However, if before 3 pages, I find myself trailing off and running out of words, I close the journal and move on to other writing.

13 thoughts on “Friday Fun – How to keep writing during turmoil

  1. On heavy days I make myself a cup of a favorite tea in a beautiful cup I reserve for comfort, light a taper candle, then read an inspiring passage from someone like Abraham-Hicks. With my journal beside me, I begin what I call “clearing writing.” I write on the creamy pages with a purple gel pen for just 5 minutes. I start with the words, “I am aware. . .” and keep writing about what I am aware of. By then I feel lighter and my words are coming from a connection with a creative center, the place I call my heartspace.

    • Wow! Thank you so much for sharing this with all of us. This is such a great idea and I feel like it could really help me unclutter my mind. I will definitely be trying this tomorrow. Thank you again for giving me some peace of mind.

  2. I’ve just gone through a fairly minor viral illness but it has left me feeling exhausted most of the time. I’m gradually getting back to normal, but all the time I was unwell I became quite anxious at my lack of inspiration/brain power. I was worried that I had drained the well dry and that I wouldn’t ever have another story line. That in turn made me more anxious.I don’t have to write to a deadline (yet) but I do find that in the past, if I have a story buzzing to be written, I get quite cross if I can’t stay , so I write when I can. During these short times I write like fury, but I’m afraid that this shows when I do an edit.
    Of course there is the distraction of reading my fellow bloggers posts, so I do limit myself to quickly scanning them and then coming back to the informative, advice etc ones that really need a ‘good read’. If I am entering any challenges I try to do that within a day of it being posted if possible, otherwise I tend to forget the cut off day. I do try and follow the well-known maxim of writing every day and I have the usual notebooks dotted around the house. The problem with that is trying to read the scrawl that has appeared on a sleepless night when I thought I didn’t really need to put a light on! Oh woe. Norma

    • A minor illnesses can be exhausting, and anxiety about not writing, not “producing” anything can make the experience even worse. You have to keep reminding yourself that your body and mind need a rest, and that just using your mind is a drain on your overall energy.

  3. OOh you are so good. I have a timer in the kitchen but often forget to use it. I only put it on for writing when we need the table for a meal. Most of my writing is done in snatched moments wherever I happen to be – often in bed. World events are having a negative effect but I just keep telling myself not to worry about things I can’t control.

  4. Pingback: Friday Fun – How to keep writing during turmoil — Live to Write – Write to Live | Jerri Perri

  5. …To The Friday Fun –as a group and as individual writers your writings will one day fish in millions of dollars and wealth as distinct benefits integral in that mentally and culturally inseparable craft.Keep posting. wish you and your readers a happy weekend despite trepidation from global news of ignoble maligned here or there ! Gbemi Tijani MST Ibadan

    Sent from my iPad

  6. The greater the turmoil, the more I write. For me writing disengage me from the turmoil around me because it helps me to center myself into a calm space and focus on the specific goals for my life. Engaging in turmoil whether it is “public” turmoil, or turmoil within my personal space is a waste of energy. Turmoil may be uncomfortable, and distasteful, but it can also stir great creative energy.

  7. Pingback: Writer’s Freedom and for Writers | Live to Write – Write to Live

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