The Myth of Being a Productive writer during Stay at Home Orders

stay at home on a smartphome screen display
Photo by ready made on

Today’s post looks at one of the fallacies of our current environment: The Myth of being a Productive Writer during these Stay-At-Home Orders.

I don’t know about you, but I am tired. So very tired. Between distance teaching and other things around the house, my mental capacity to do work is….limited. I joined NaNoWriMo this month with a goal to work on my next novella and I’ve done practically nothing on it beyond what I had already written. I felt a lot of pressure to be successful at writing it! I was also dealing with finishing up the Last Gladiator.

Combined, these are two big things. But since I’m home all day, part of my brain keeps telling me that I have to do more writing. More, More. No video games or hobbies, just working on it, and it is so draining. It took me several weeks to realize the key thing here – you don’t have to always be productive. 

We are under immense stress right now. Caring for ourselves. Our loved ones. Our family. For those of us who can work remotely, we’re also trying to teach in a crisis. “Teaching Remotely” is more like “trying not to completely fail a bunch of middle schoolers remotely.” Even those people who already worked remotely, having family members all over the house strains tempers, not to mention relationships and the wifi.

“But I’m at home! I can always write!” Yes, when writing is a break from work or the real world. But I’m on the computer all day long already. Sitting at it for another two hours just to write some more isn’t very appealing. Playing video games or painting models, or even handwriting letters to friends and family is much more appealing. I can turn my brain off, and focus on the here and now. I don’t know many writers who can turn their brain off and still write!

Today marks the 31st day in a row that I’ve been able to post something on the blog. Sometimes it is really easy – doing the D&D things is easy to do and fun, but time consuming. I was going to post another write up for the Saviors of Saltmarsh, and I may still do so tomorrow, but I think I’m going to be taking a bit of a breather here. I don’t need to post every day, and I don’t need to write every day, even with my Year of Accountability Project.

It is okay to be unmotivated. I have finally accepted that. It’s okay to want to sleep in. Holding myself to high standards is great, especially during normal times. Thus the myth is busted. This is anything but normal. You don’t always have to be productive, and you don’t have to start a new business or write a new novel or take up a whole new hobby. You just need to be you and take care of yourself.

So for now, here’s to me giving myself a break. I’ll continue to be working to promote and write blog posts for the Last Gladiator Blog tour, but if I’m slightly less present here, I think that will be okay.

Lots of love – take care of yourselves, and support your local artists, book stores, and authors. We all need the attention and love now, and if you can’t go to the book store, order online from your local store, rather than Amazon. Your money goes further and you help keep jobs going for small places, rather than international behemoths.

Author: Daniel Ottalini

Author of the Award-Winning Steam Empire Chronicles Series

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