Writing Through the Pandemic
Buzz summer intern Ava Yu, a rising sophomore at Phillips Exeter Academy, reflects on writing inspiration, a creative outlet particularly during the coronavirus pandemic.
In the midst of all the turmoil happening around us now, many have found refuge within their journals or notebooks. Whether it’s prose or poetry, writing can bring peace of mind during times of hardship.
Where can we find the inspiration to write, and how do we start? Different writers in the Buzz community have various ways to answer this question.
Eshaan Mani, a rising ninth grader at The Kinkaid School, has been catching up on some writing during quarantine. “When I’m writing fiction, I mostly take inspiration from the books I’m reading, the movies I’m watching, that kind of thing, as well as the small things that I notice around me… I really enjoy being able to tell people’s stories, and to me, people, events, and ideas all have a story behind them and they’re all just waiting to be told.” Eshaan has been taking full advantage of the quarantine, trying to write something, even if just a few sentences, every day.
Eshaan believes that the motivation and one’s self-esteem getting in the way of the creative process is one of the hardest parts of getting started to write. “My advice would be, don’t be too hard on yourself once you’ve got your first draft down, or while you’re writing. Even if you’re writing a poem, getting those first drafts down should be taking baby steps, and it might take you a while, but you should never lose faith in yourself and always tell yourself that you should keep on going.”
My sister, Sophie Yu, is a rising seventh grader at The Emery/Weiner School, and writing is one of our shared passions. “I try to write every day in quarantine, since it has given me a lot more time to improve,” she said. Writing also makes her feel calmer, she said.
Although Sophie mainly writes poetry, she is hoping to explore more genres as well as start to journal. She likes to get her inspiration from everyday life. “I usually pick something in my surroundings that appeals to one of my five senses,” she explains.
Her main piece of advice to new writers is to read a lot beforehand. “At least for me, writing comes a lot easier when I read,” Sophie said. “And don’t be afraid or discouraged if you’re not happy with your writing in the beginning. The only way to improve your writing is to write more, so the more you write, the more you’ll grow.”
Personally, there have been a lot of times when I’ve been stuck with no inspiration or motivation to write. But one thing I like to do when I’m experiencing writer’s block or finding it difficult to get inspired is having a conversation with my sister. The exchange of ideas between us really helps when we’re struggling to think of ideas. Getting a different perspective from a family member or friend is beneficial in writing any genre.
Something else that I like to do whenever I’m in a slump is go outside, whether it’s to take a walk or just sit on the back porch. Sometimes all I need is a breath of fresh air, and suddenly ideas start rushing to me. Seeing all the life surrounding me is inspiring, and it gets me into a writing mood.
And finally, occasionally there will be times when you’re staring at that blank page or blinking cursor without anything coming to mind, no matter what you try. Whenever this happens to me, I use a mind map of ideas. First, I go to a random word generator and write down whatever word it gives me. Next, I draw a web, writing down whatever I think of or associate that word with. This keeps going until I have the whole page filled. Then, I circle the words that intrigue me, and through this exercise, I’m able to come up with a concept of what to write about.
Writing has certainly taken up a fair portion of my summer, especially now that I have more quiet time to myself. I hope those who start writing are able to enjoy themselves while filling the extra free time in quarantine!
- Search free online writing prompts/starters like this one
- WITS offers lots of opportunities for students, like this free 15-minute virtual writing workshop for grades K-5. (
- iWrite offers lots of programs and workshops for students plus an annual publishing contest, which is free for students in grades 3-12 to enter
Editor's note: For students age 18 and under who love to write, submit a Buzz Kidz story. Send us 350 words on an interesting hobby, passion or unique experience plus a high-resolution photo. High school students interested in journalism? Check out our School Buzz blog.
Want more buzz like this? Sign up for our Morning Buzz emails.
To leave a comment, please log in or create an account with The Buzz Magazines, Disqus, Facebook, Twitter or Google+. Or you may post as a guest.