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Staying Productive in the Down Time

Now that we’ve all been staying home more, an old friend has started calling and telling me that he wants to write a book … and wants me to help.

I enjoy the writing and publishing process very much, and have assisted several others with their writing projects through the years. Writing a book is a major project and takes a ton of work. But it can also be a life-changer for those willing to undertake the challenge – and see it through without stopping.

More than a challenge, though, I think of it as a highly complex puzzle. There are countless details to consider, and so many moving parts that need to be put in place to bring a book from concept to completion.

So, my suggestion to my friend – and to you – is to use that quarantine time to start writing towards a book, but to focus first on a writing goal that’s slightly less daunting.

Just because you’ve got down time doesn’t mean you need to tackle the hardest thing possible – in any area of endeavor. Easy does it. Intuitively, we know this, but sometimes need a reminder to apply the idea daily. Baby steps. Write a poem. Start a blog. Write an article for your local paper or school alumni publication. Write a one-person show as a starring vehicle for yourself. Write a short film as a showcase for you and your friends. There’s a ga-zillion film festivals you can submit it to. How about a one-act play? How about a ten-minute play? There are another ga-zillion ten-minute play competitions for those pieces.

We’re limited only by our creativity – and patience. Creativity helps you start and patience helps you finish. We can use this strategy with anything else we’d like to tackle right now: fitness, healthy eating, personal development, home organization, reconnecting with family and friends, anything.

Start with one lap around the block. Start with one phone call. Start with one thank you note. Start with paying down one debt. Start with one act of kindness– and not just on Facebook.

Horace Greeley said it best: “The way to do anything is to begin.” And our old pal Charles Atlas reminded us of the importance of daily consistency with his lifelong motto: “Step by step and the thing is done.”


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