Because we all know that writers write, they write (or try to) all the time, and have this habit of finding stories in the most awkward places, and notebooks are great stress-relief anyway, so…

Are you writing while stuck at home? Writing on as usual? Resurrecting old neglected projects? Drawing inspiration from the current events? Seeking refuge from current events in faraway times and places? Casting around for ideas? Itching to write but not quite doing it?

In case you are in need of some direction, I thought I’d bring to your attention two of the many initiatives for writers currently available on the web.

  • One is Curtis Brown Creative’s Weekly Writing Workout. As CBC explains, it’s not a course, but a series of exercises and prompts. Once a week you get a little theory and some practice in the form of ideas, tips, suggestions, and an exercise. If you like (but there is no obligation to do so) you can pay for a short piece of feedback. I’m on week one, and so far I like what I see: interesting prompts, a fresh angle on common-knowledge ideas, and it is all quite easy to use with a work in progress.
  • I love Emma Darwin’s blog This Itch of Writing. I know I’ve recommended it before – but I’ll do it again. If you’ve ever wanted to growl in frustration at the too-neat distinctions between Third Limited and Third Omniscient, Emma’s piece on psychic distance will make you very, very happy – but her whole Toolkit is a real treasure trove. That said, I wanted to point you to the series she is currently writing on Writing Your First Novel – an experiment on breaking down a process for… well, yes: writing a novel – or perhaps rather brainstorming it. Here are Part One and Part Two, with more to come on a daily basis. And even if you are not writing your first novel, Emma’s insight on the process is more than worth a look – if only to learn and try out a different brainstorming method.
  • And finally I’ll leave you with a prompt of my own – one that I sent out to the students of my Play-writing class yesterday. Yes well – by now we should be madly rehearsing our own adaptation of Alice’s Adventures, but heaven knows when we can go back to that. So I try to give writing assignments to explore their characters… And this is the one from yesterday – tweaked for fiction: write about your protagonist from the point of view of another character. Have them describe the main character in just three sentences, in their own voice, based solely on what they know. Consider well the interaction between the protagonist and your narrator for this exercise. Be careful of what they cannot know. And have fun with their voice.

There. I’m a firm believer in the idea that, in these times of seclusion and anxiety, there are fare worse ways to spend a few hours than writing.

What about you, o Readers?