At Home Survival Guide – Part 1

Stuck at Home

To us social distancing experts (A.K.A. introverts), staying at home is a time of fun and productivity. For writers especially, this is where we do most of our work. Don’t get me wrong, cafés, libraries, and parking lots are also great places to fill your notebook. But, the real work – editing, agonizing over pace and structure, and arguing with characters – that happens in the comfort of our hovels.

However, such creatures are few. Humans are social animals. We need contact, conversation, and sport (I miss Formula 1, okay – can’t they just have races without crowds? – sorry, getting distracted).

So, for those craving social interaction, here are some things that you can do to enrich your lock-down time.

Read Books at Home

Yes, reading. If you’re reading this blog, you already know what to do. But, if you’re like my English Literature students who say that reading isn’t your thing (true story), this is your chance to change that.

Now is the time to read
Antique Beauty by Stepan Bakalovich

A novel is still the best way to experience another person’s life. Write that down. There are great series and things out there, but there is nothing that truly compares to getting sucked into a good book. The era of social distancing is the time to discover the world of literature.

If you’re stumped on what to read, you can have a gander at my reviews and see if something strikes your fancy. You can get classics for free (e.g. the iBooks app has many), you can shop online, buy eBooks, or get paper books delivered – there are many options. But, admit it, you probably have a ‘to-read stack’ somewhere, right?

If you have kids, this is also the best opportunity to read to them. Seriously, don’t think of it as a chore or a slog. Pick a good book and read it aloud. You can even let the kids have a turn to read a chapter or section. This will help them improve their reading skills and – if you keep it fun – increase their joy of reading. Reading with my family are some of the best memories I have with them.


Libraries and bookstores are no-go areas at the moment (which is necessary but no less heart-breaking). Luckily, you can sign up for a 30-day Kindle free trial, so you can fill your days of isolation with meaningful moments of literature. Plus, if you sign-up you’ll help the site a little.

Or, if you love physical books, like me, you can order them from Amazon. They have thrilling new titles like Where the Forest Meets the Stars, by Glendy Vanderah; The Mirror and the Light, by Hilary Mantel (one I’m personally excited for); and many more!

Please tell me what you are reading in the comments below.

Listen to Books

Yes, more books! Audio-books are amazing! With the right reader(s) and production team, an audio-book can become something worthy of the stage. Not only is it a fantastic art-form, it can also help you through dense tombs that would otherwise be intimidating. Alright, that’s not the only reason, but it’s one worth considering (it helped me get through the Eye of the World).

Audible is one of my favorite places to browse and buy audio-books. Their subscription service offers great value for money by giving you a book of your choice a month plus two Audible Originals. You can sign up for a 30-day free trial and start listening immediately! Or better yet, give it to someone you love! There’s nothing like the gift of a good story.

As I said above, reading doesn’t have to be a solitary thing. If you are isolating with your family, how about listening to a book together?

What do you think?

Write

I would not be a good writing mentor if I didn’t tell you to use this time to write.

Write!

Sit down. Shut off the social media. Pause the game. Close spider solitaire. You’ve got this. You’re supposed to be at home so don’t let that sneaky part of your mind make excuses for you. Therefore, use this time to its fullest. This way you won’t feel like any of it is wasted.

It’s hard, I know. I’m in the same boat. I have the same distractions you have and – certainly – the same amount of internal arguments over what to do now.

So, let me know what you are writing.

More to Come

Coming up in Part 2: the virtues of nerdiness, we will explore some of the other fun (and nerdy) things you can do when you can’t leave the house. In the meantime, let me know what you’re doing at home to stay active and safe.

Please stay safe out there, guys!

TOp Image: After the Dance (1876), by John William Waterhouse [Public Domain]

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