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••• The International Writers Magazine - 21 Years on-line - Life Issues

Habits for Writers to Embrace in the Time of Social Distancing
• Indiana Lee
How safe is your workspace? How clean is your immediate environment?


The state of the world seems to be changing all the time, thanks to the Coronavirus pandemic. Outbreaks have occurred globally, affecting 205 countries. It’s nearly impossible to keep track of the number of cases and deaths associated with the disease because it changes on a daily basis, even in the United States. This pandemic is a global issue that has required all of us to make changes, including writers who might typically work remotely.

While most people might think writers are introverts by nature, that doesn’t mean the Centers for Disease Control’s recommendation of “social distancing” comes easily. Many writers depend on interaction through interviews, traveling, to get their work done.

It’s important for everyone to follow the guidelines put in place by health officials. How can you do that as a writer and stay healthy while still focusing on your work? Let’s look at a few easy habits you can start putting in place now that can help you to flatten the curve, stay safe, and keep your career afloat.

Staying Connected Remotely

Millions of workers in the U.S. have found themselves working from home in order to comply with social distancing guidelines. If any part of your writing career involves connecting with other people, it’s important to find ways to continue to do that safely, and remotely.

Thankfully, technology has made it easier than ever to stay connected with people, hold meetings, and conduct interviews from anywhere in the world. Zoom has added over 2 million users so far this year. Apps like FaceTime, Skype, or GoToMeeting are also being used or people to see each other face-to-face without having to get together, physically. Finding unique ways to interview people or get involved in a meeting can make your job easier. It can also have a positive impact on your mental health and motivation.

It’s also a good time to switch to electronic documentation. As a writer, you probably deal with things like release forms, contracts, and even financial documents on a regular basis.

If you’re not able to sign these things yourself or get necessary signatures from others in person, it’s important to understand the legalities of electronic signatures and how they can help to keep you organized even when you aren’t able to share physical documents. Electronic documentation allows you to send and receive documents from anywhere, and can actually streamline the process of getting things signed quickly.

As a writer, you can even continue collaboration with others digitally by utilizing platforms like Google Docs. It’s a great way to share documents that others can edit or leave comments on, without having to actually meet in person.


Keep Yourself Healthy

Some of the best habits you can embrace right now (and always) are the ones that promote your own health and wellbeing. It’s normal to feel extra stress right now, but that can impact both your productivity as well as your health. Stress can contribute to a variety of mental and physical issues like:

Gastrointestinal issues
Aches and pains

If it continues, it can lead to long-term illnesses like diabetes or heart disease. Taking care of your mental health is incredibly important, so find time to do things that relax you. Social distancing doesn’t mean you can’t go for a walk in your neighborhood. Getting outside can help to boost your mood and energy levels. Taking a few minutes each day to meditate or practice mindfulness can also help you to feel better.

From a physical standpoint, keeping your body strong and healthy, and making smart sanitation choices will reduce your risk of getting sick. Even if you’re “stuck” at home, getting into the habit of cleaning sanitizing the things you regularly use can make a big difference. You might not think about how much bacteria is found on the things you use for work. For example, the most common types of bacteria found on cell phones include:


Wiping down your computer keyboard, phone, tablets, and other devices you use with disinfectant can help to keep you safe, as well as following the CDC guidelines for washing your hands regularly.

Think Outside the Box

If you’re a travel writer or someone who does typically go places and interview people for work, now is the perfect time to gain some new inspiration and think outside the box. With many states under lockdown for several more weeks, your livelihood could depend on your ability to come up with new, creative ideas for your writing.

If you’re a food writer who reviews restaurants or local hot spots, why not write about which local restaurants are offering the best curbside or take-out services? Or, focus on the trend of grocery delivery apps like Shipt, which saw a 124% increase in downloads as of March 15, 2020.

Do you typically write about traveling around the globe? Your “outside the box” ideas might include things people can do at home to prepare for upcoming trips in the future, such as:

What to pack when visiting a certain location
How to pack a suitcase properly
Hacks for finding the best travel deals
How to eat like a local

It’s easy to feel isolated from the rest of the world right now. But, as a writer, you can look at this time of social distancing as an opportunity to showcase your creativity instead of letting it become hindered by uncertainty. Take a comedic or lighthearted approach to writing about what might be happening (keeping sensitivity in mind) in order to boost people’s spirits, or report on factual information that can calm some of the panic and uncertainty facing the world.

This period of social distancing will eventually come to an end. Things will eventually go back to “normal,” even if we all have to adjust to a new way of living. By keeping yourself healthy, staying inspired, and writing about what appeals to you, you can get through this time and may even find that you’ve learned some things about yourself and your writing along the way.
© Indiana Lee 04.16.2020

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