Do you have enough to do?

Reading time: Less than 1 minute

This is my weekly installment of “writing about writing,” in which I scan the world to find websites, books and articles to help other writers. Today I discuss a blog post about finding enough to do…

Do you have enough to do during the pandemic? 

I’ve been thinking about this challenge recently as my family plans a much-smaller-than-usual Thanksgiving celebration (Thanksgiving is in October in Canada, where I live) and as time takes on surreal, elastic dimensions.

One day rolls into the next in a weird Groundhog Day loop of endless repetition. A recent post by Austin Kleon led me to think about this issue even more acutely. Under the headline “Something to do,” Kleon reflected on how drawing gives him something tangible — and creative — to do.

He also quotes an essay from Zadie Smith in which she directly addresses the pandemic and lockdown:

The rest of us have been suddenly confronted with the perennial problem of artists: time, and what to do with it… There is no great difference between novels and banana bread. They are both just something to do.

The idea of comparing writing a novel — which seems hard and time-consuming — with baking banana bread —which by definition is fast and easy — probably seems ridiculous to many writers, especially beginning ones. But I think Smith (and Kleon) are right.

Having the ability to do something creative and interesting — something that requires “only” time and effort — is a gift during this pandemic. If you want to make productive use of your enforced “break” from socializing and everything else you associate with “regular” life, developing a writing practice is a smart thing to do.

And, in fact, it needn’t even require that much time. The most viable, sustainable writing practices are always the shortest and the easiest. Earmark just 15 minute a day for writing.

If you’re looking for ‘enough to do,’ writing will help fill the bill quite nicely.