Maintain your literary well-being during this down time



Sheltering in place is a great opportunity to discover your Inner Introvert and to develop your creative powers.


But first...






Ideas to help you survive (revised guidelines)

  1. Stay at home except to get essentials: food, medications, more guns and ammo (It’s your 2nd Amendment right.)
  2. Leave six feet between you and other people. Maybe a challenge for your dentist and barber, but they should at least make the effort.
  3. Try to keep your breathing to a minimum. Think about it: Do you really need all that oxygen?
  4. Do not touch your face. Ever again.
  5. Wash your hands with warm water and soap regularly. In fact, better to wash your hands continuously. Don’t stop. This will also help keep you from touching your face.
  6. Avoid going to the hospital. Sick people are there. If you believe you may have been exposed to the coronavirus, think pleasant thoughts.


Ideas to help you thrive

If you’re among the fortunate ones who have the basics covered (food, shelter, heat), then address your higher needs.

  1. Use this time for those projects you never have time for: painting the bedroom, writing your memoirs, raising chickens (city codes may apply), digitalizing the family albums or organizing the 12,000 slides you haven’t looked at since 1996.

  2. Host your own NaNoWriMo (National Novel Writing Month.) Since you’re stuck at home anyway, write that novel that’s been simmering in you for years. Set the next 30 days for the challenge. Maybe call it CoRoNaNoWriMo.

  3. Libraries are closed but you can still check out audio and e-books through their websites. Read all of Jane Austen (again.) Or read what you’ve always wanted to read: Gibbons’s Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Sue Grafton’s complete alphabet of mysteries. Hot romances. Historical fiction. Survival epics. Trash.

  4. Support your local bookstore: Paperbacks Galore will send out books ordered through email (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.) and through Facebook Messenger. They also provide curbside pick-up service by appointment. A personal library is a wonderful source of entertainment and edification, plus, if the nation does run out of TP…well, you make the connection.

  5. Tired of reading? Re-watch the complete Cheers! seasons to cheer you up. Or The Jeffersons. Or all of Star Trek (again.) Take up hobbies: Quilting. Watercolors. Scrapbooking. Gardening (Thank you, Spring. You arrived just in time.) No garden? No problem. Work in your neighbor’s. They’ll thank you. Probably. (Hint: Best ask them first.)

  6. Use this time for self-improvement: Commit to reading all of Wikipedia; learn to meditate online (Check out Headspace.) Write a whimsical 17-syllable haiku about deadly global pandemics. Co-ro-na-vi-rus—that’s five syllables already. You’re almost a third of the way there! Re-discover the lost art of letter writing. Help people re-discover the lost art of letter reading. (Yes, Virginia, people once actually wrote in complete sentences.)

  7. Need to get out of the house? Go for a walk, commune with nature instead of people. Less social pressure to be nice. Do something kind for others: pick up groceries for your elderly neighbor; walk her dog; walk her thirteen cats.

There are opportunities even in the bleakest of times. Chances are good you will survive, so why not decide to thrive?


Expanded from a presentation at the March WordFest.


First posted: April 2, 2020