omething that most likely none of us had envisioned going through during our lifetime was a global pandemic. There are no doubts that 2020 will always be remembered as the year when everything changed, as plans were postponed and/or cancelled and staying home became the norm. Nevertheless, none of this has been easy and the question that has taken over the minds of several people who were supposed to be figuring out or dealing with their adult lives is: how to cope with all of this?
When you are not allowed to visit your family and friends, to go to work, and perform any social activities, how can you keep yourself from falling apart and into the pits of depression? Well, even though it is true that different things work for different people, the power of writing as a coping mechanism is undeniable. Not only can writing be very therapeutic but also it can be very powerful and a necessary tool in order to keep records for future generations of what we are currently experiencing. It is in moments like this that words can make a huge difference and help us find solace even when everything seems lost.
One of the most important things about our current society is the fact that we have grown used to the idea of urgentism. We are often connected to our pieces of technology and we demand immediate answers as we no longer have the patience to wait or to appreciate things as they come. We want everything at the same time and we are never satisfied. Therefore, when COVID-19 seems to be getting the best of you as you are stuck at home knowing that there are no places to go, nothing to do, and that you cannot be around your friends, family, and loved ones it is easy to feel worthless--like we are amounting to nothing.
However, even if you are working from home and have ways to keep your mind busy, at some point you will need to find some relief that can’t be found within playing video games or watching television. When you write you are capable of entering a different state where nothing else matters but the page in front of you. There is something magical about watching your thoughts come into life as your hands work to bring out what your mind has created. Even if you find it difficult to write at first, you can always find prompts to get you started and, once you do, you will become so absorbed in what you are doing that soon you will find yourself trying to make time to write and addicted to the feeling of liberation and completion that comes with it.
Just because you are writing it doesn’t mean you have to write the next great American novel. The fun about writing as a coping mechanism is that you are free to write whatever you want without any schedules, deadlines, or compromises. Whether or not you intend to share your writing with others, what matters is that you write for yourself so you don’t have to worry about being perfect or having any weight on your shoulders. Consequently, some writing ideas can be:
- Creative Writing
Journals can be very helpful because they allow you to be very creative and free with what you put on them. You don’t necessarily need to write about your daily life, but you can write about interesting things that happened throughout your day, about movies that you have watched recently, about your favorite books, and you can add pictures or drawings within it. Moreover, you don’t need to make it pristine or put too much thought into journaling, what matters is that you actually get yourself to put words on a page. The best thing about journaling is that you can come up with different ideas and themes as well as have multiple journals. Maybe you decide to have a journal dedicated to recipes, another one dedicated to quotes, and another one dedicated to song lyrics. It is all up to you! A journal is a very artistic approach to writing and allows you to have fun and enjoy yourself while doing it.
Although diaries are often associated with children, they actually are a great way to keep track of everything that has been going on with your life and to depict your own thoughts about the pandemic and how you have been dealing with it. So, years from now, when your children and grandchildren ask you about how life was during the pandemic, you won’t only just be able to tell them but you will also have records to show them. A diary is also the perfect way to exercise your memory as you make yourself remember details of your day, how things made you feel, and you don’t have to worry about being judged. A diary is like the perfect listener that will always be there for you no matter what. This is how you can make history and help yourself cope with the pandemic.
Creative writing allows for a range of options such as short stories, poetry, and stories. Even though some may think that creative writing only has space for fiction, this could be an opportunity to gather the things you write in both your journal and diary to come up with a memoir. During times like these, words have great power and probably other people are going through the same as you but don’t have the words to explain; perhaps you could be the one to make their voices heard through your own words. One of the greatest examples about how creative writing can help you cope with a pandemic can be found in the famous poet T. S. Elliot’s poem The Waste Land. This poem was written when the world was facing the Spanish Flu and his words resonate with a lot of what we are currently experiencing which only showcases how timeless and important writing can be.
Prompts to get you started
Prompts are a great way to get started within the writing world, especially if you would like to try some creative writing. Maybe you can’t come up with ideas on your own at first and you are ready to give up, but you must remember that you are doing this for yourself, for your own sanity, and for finding meaning during these crazy times. For these reasons, there is no need to put pressure on yourself and perhaps you need to warm up before you can come up with your own ideas. Prompts exist exactly for such situations and you can find several of them online and on websites such as Reedsy Prompts, Think Written, and Writer’s Digest.
Writing As A Survival Mechanism
Not only writing can be a healing source but also a survival mechanism. Although we should encourage ourselves to seek help whether it is from the people around us or a professional, some people may have more difficulty than others to share their thoughts and feelings. This is when writing becomes important as it allows us to make our thoughts clear and to let it go of any weight on our chest without having to worry about what others might think. The truth is that writing can feel almost like taking a deep breath after holding our breath for a very long time and finally being able to enjoy things without our thoughts constantly harassing us. This is how writing, especially when it comes to journaling and dairying as they are much more personable, can be a healing source.
Nevertheless, writing becomes a survival mechanism when we take a moment to realize how it is that we learn about history and how many of the information we have today about our ancestors comes from written sources. There is a lot of knowledge acquired from reading and whether we are writing to stay strong, keep ourselves together, or deal with mental illness, we are also writing to perhaps one day inform the others that will come after us about life during our time. This is our way of leaving something to the world, even if it may not seem like it is and it can also work as a reminder to our future self of everything that we have been through and how strong we actually are.
During this pandemic, loneliness has crept into our lives and many times it is almost impossible for us to see beyond the fear of missing out and feelings of wasting away, but through writing you can forget about, at least momentarily, about the world--you can feel less lonely, and you can feel validated. Therefore, even if you don’t see yourself as a writer or if you never considered writing as a career, you should at least give it a try during the pandemic as this is the perfect time to try new things. Who knows? Maybe you will find out that you have been a writer all along.
Main image courtesy of Inc.