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April 15, 2020

On lockdown, what do you do? Here at Fred Central, of course…the easy answer is to tell you to heed all the advice I’ve been giving you since 2012!
Throwing any potential ego aside, and giving it to you straight, I almost went back to square one and decided on something else instead of jumping on the bandwagon with “another one of those damn virus blogs.” However, why not? As writers, for those of you unfortunately, unemployed at the moment, you may have a lot of idle time on your hands.
I’m one of the lucky ones and have a mission-essential job, so for me, it’s the same ole’ same ole,’ except my extracurricular activities here in Nevada have been curtailed. Does that give me more time to write? So far it hasn’t, at least not yet. I’ve had plenty of stuff to do around the house, given it’s spring, but soon, that’ll pass and the doldrums will set in. I’ll soon have more writing time again.


This is a perfect time to be productive with your writing. If not on a particular project, then some other way of honing your chops. Below, I’m going to list some things you can do.


This may sound obvious, but you’ve been piddling around with it for months, maybe years. Now’s the time to put the nose to the grindstone. Enough procrastination. Finish it. Stop making excuses and dive into your story.


Not all of us are best-selling authors or have lots of money at our disposal to travel the world, experience the places we want to include in our stories. Now’s the perfect time to virtually travel to these places. Not only that, now’s the perfect time to background these places, contact locals, dig deep to eke out these minor details you want to add to give extra life to locales, people, things, whatever the case may be. After all, you can only sit and watch TV so long every day!


A great way to hone your chops is to do a few flash fiction pieces. If you don’t, or even if you do have an MS in the works, it might not hurt to sidetrack for just a bit if you get a hint of unrelated inspiration. Slap down a short short or two that you can set aside for further perusal at a later date.


I review every book I read, every CD I listen to, and a lot of movies I watch. I have currently over fifteen hundred reviews on Amazon. Folks, authors and other artists thrive on reviews. It not only pays it forward, but it hones your short story chops by tightening up your prose.


If you’re in a writer’s group, there’s a good chance they may be working on virtual meetings as you read this. If so, there’s a good chance you may be able to get in on some more detailed critiquing of your work. Plus you can critique others. Just keep in mind no blood on the floor. Critique the work, not the author!
If you live in a remote locale, this may be the perfect time to seek out an on-line group. Once you find one you’re comfortable with, you’re good to go.


There are many ways to hone your writing chops. You can, of course, dig deep and read all of my articles! Then again, maybe you can dust off all those books on writing you bought but never even opened. You might learn something from them.
On the other hand, you may have plenty of time now to complete all those writing projects you’ve been putting off for so long.
Happy writing!

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