How Can Our Community Help You?

A live video I recorded earlier this week full of positive ways to ride this thing out

The herd instinct is only a problem if you’re following the wrong herd. 

Let’s see if we can put it to good use. Let’s circle the StoryADay wagons and help each other to write more of the stories that people need to hear—to distract them, to entertain them, to uplift and connect them.

Some things I’ve shared with people over the past few days

  • This is a wonderful time to catch up on your reading. Everyone has a pile of books they’ve been meaning to get to. Turn off the TV and open those books!
  • If you can’t get to a writing group because you need to protect your health, ask other people to turn on the voice memo feature on their phone and record the group discussion for you.
  • If you’re a member of a real-life writing group, ask the organizer to sign up for a free Zoom account. You can get everyone together for 40 minutes at a time under the free account, and chat about writing, or hold your critique meeting, or whatever you usually do.
  • You don’t have to be writing fiction if it doesn’t feel right, just now. Write letters to friends you haven’t seen recently. Write journal entries. Work on a non-fiction project you’ve been meaning to get to. Advocate for a favorite charity or write postcards for a political candidate’s campaign.
  • Use writing prompts to write tiny, throwaway stories that are only intended to amuse and distract yourself.

What other ideas do you have?

What can I do to help you?

  • Do you need an online writing hangouts this week, to keep you from obsessing about the news, or keep you sane while you work from home?
  • Do you need daily SWAGr check-ins at StoryADay.org for the next week, to keep you accountable?
  • Would it be helpful if I put together a bundle of links to the most popular articles on the site, so you can read something that isn’t virus-related?

Is there something else I can do to help you?

Leave a comment and tell me how you’re doing, and what you need. Also, if you’ve found something that helps you, please share that too!

16 thoughts on “How Can Our Community Help You?”

  1. I have two at-risk parents, and my husband says I can’t watch the news anymore, at least today. Trying to write it out. Thank you for the only email I’ve actually read, and for this space, Julie. Stay well.

  2. May I suggest keeping a journal?… even – especially – if regular writing sessions are beyond our reach. That could provide material for later. Perhaps as important, it may help us to process our situation and the emotion that it carries.

  3. How am I doing?
    In the grand scheme of things–fine.
    What do I need?
    To stop having an existential crisis about my writing.
    And you didn’t ask but what am I glad for?

  4. Thanks for this post! Still just trying to figure out how to manage sit down time without my two kids pouncing on me every time I get settled:)

    1. Oh yes. That is one of the major challenges of the writing parent. One day you’ll look back and they’ll be taller than you and want nothing to do with you, trust me. It seems a long way off right now, but it’ll come!

      Until then, I hope you can carve out a small window each day for yourself (can you bribe them? Can you bribe someone else to hold them off?). It’s hard to get much time, with kids around, but even a little time for yourself can make a huge difference.

  5. Hi Julie,
    I’m gathering research, first hand, in our wonderful NHS hospital 😀My asthma ki med in with a bang early hours this morning, the ambulance arrived with the guys in hazard masks! The local grapevine will be in overdrive. The staff are great iv lines in swabs taken oxygen on, nebulizer etc
    The staff reckon is likely flu, but I’m good training for them. Nice to oblige folk. 😂Great piece Julie, yes to everything. Evidently the good news is people are only using hospital when really needed, plus very little sport on. Have books to write, to read and daytime TV if I get really bored. Good to be in touch, Thanks again. X

    1. Oh my goodness! Well, isn’t that nice of you, to give the local medics a practice run. That IS going above and beyond! Hope everything eases up soon.

      And yes, you’re definitely a writer since you immediately saw this as material…

  6. Hi Julie – I loved your piano illustration of the “herd instinct”. That, in itself, is a great writing prompt. I live in south-west Victoria (Australia) and all the supermarkets in this area have sold out of toilet paper. There have even been instances at the checkouts of people fighting over the product. I’ll be turning that image into my story for today. Gwenda.

    1. This toilet paper thing is crazy! (Of course I say that now, while I still have some…)

      Will you set your story in a contemporary world or transpose it to something more fantastical?

      1. Hi Julie –
        I’m a contemporary world writer. But I like my stories to carry a message for the reader. So, identifying my theme in the early stage of planning is important to me. For my “herd instinct” story, my theme is: “How to keep your head when all around you are losing theirs.” If this theme were to be taken literally, then a fantasy writer may also find it useful.

      2. Someone with a lot more insight into psychology than I have, just pointed out to me that the TP thing is happening because people want to do something.

        I bet we can come up with some better somethings to do 😉

  7. Lovely piece, Julie. My new email from StoryADay was also soothing. Thank you. I love impromptu writing sessions, prompts are a favorite, conversations about a recent read.

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