I’m Using a Writing Challenge to Help Jump-start my Brain During the Pandemic

Greetings all,

I’ve been having a heck of a time since March when it comes to getting words on the page. Here I am with a whole novel plotted, and exactly zero enthusiasm for writing it at the moment. I’ve been suffering from the worst case of “who cares?” of my entire life. While these bouts of self-doubt aren’t uncommon among creatives, I feel like I’m reaching a crisis point.

As a textbook extrovert, I work best when there is some kind of external push to get me going. Tuning in too much to the problems of the world that I can’t change leads me down a dark path, so I’ve focused on other people. I’ve gotten plenty of work done for my client and I’m on my way to having the line up for the next anthology I’m editing sorted. This is all great, but it doesn’t get my book written.

So when I found out about the Zombie Pirates Publishing challenge, I decided to give it a shot. The theme went up today, and writers have between May 20-27 in order to write between 12500-15000 words. This is a bit more than the daily output needed for NaNoWriMo, but well within my average on a good writing day. Ready for the theme?

I played around with a few different ideas today, but I think I’ve settled on using a contemporary or near-future archaeological dig as my setting and bringing in time travel for the sci-fantasy genre requirement.

I’m heading off now to start plotting, and the writing begins tomorrow. Wish me luck! (I’m gonna need it!) I’ll check in with an update in a few days.

How about you all? Anyone else having trouble with creativity during the crisis? Do external deadlines help you, or are you able to find enough motivation from within? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.

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