This One Question Will Make Your Writing Life Easier

When you cannot focus because of the pandemic or life in general

Rose Ernst
3 min readApr 7, 2020


“We can’t control our circumstances. But we can control our thoughts. We
can control our feelings, our actions, and our results, and what we decide
to do with all of them.” — Brooke Castillo

Even in the best of times, writing can be a rollercoaster of joy, guilt, and anxiety.

When the world comes crashing down around you, it’s hard to focus.

So how do you keep writing?

Focus on what you can control.

Easier said than done, right? I agree. However, one key to writing momentum that applies regardless of a global pandemic is to move forward, even when you cannot focus, are tired, or just cranky. It also helps you to reestablish a sense of normalcy when everything around you may be chaotic.

For those of you who are shaking their heads, thinking you should just rest, I agree with you! As Alex Soojung-Kim Pang says in his excellent book, Rest:

“If you want rest, you have to take it. You have to resist the lure of busyness, make time for rest, take it seriously, and protect it from a world that is intent on stealing it.”

The rest needs to be intentional. And during a pandemic — at least for all of us who are quarantined — rest takes on a particular flavor.

Intentional Writing Rest Activities During a Pandemic

· Listening to an audiobook or music

· Calling a friend (not zoom/skype)

· Movement — going for a walk (if allowed) or some activity

· Meditation, hypnosis, or sleep

· Reading a physical book

· Creating art (drawing, painting, music, and dance)

· Spending quality non-screen time with loved ones