Omega Writers

Lowering writerly ‘eggs-pectations’ in the time of a pandemic

sunny side up egg on frying pan

I don’t know about you, but this ‘current season’ has hit my writing routines like a sledge hammer on a boiled egg. Sure, the substance is still there – you can make out the egg white and pieces of shell, and the yolk is present too – but it’s difficult to imagine undoing the impact of that hammer.

Eggs and yolks aside, times of crisis, depression, stress or adjustment can all rock our creativity. We feel brain-dead, exhausted and downright frazzled. In times like these our ‘normal setting’ expectations can feel desperately out of reach.

If you think back to the last writers event you attended, you probably came away with an enormous To Do List like mine: things to write, organise, market, study, promote, edit, review etc. Being a writer has always been hard work, but challenging times like those we’re currently in take away reliable structures (like time, routines, support or mental stamina). Our well planned To Do List becomes a nagging uncertainty. We just can’t do it anymore.

But I wonder if maybe that’s okay.

You see, God never asked us to be superheros, only to be faithful. But how do we choose what’s worth chipping away at when almost everything feels impossible? I don’t think there’s a hard boiled rule about this, but here are three tips I’ve found useful in the process:

1) Keep a grasp on the BIG WHY

The BIG WHY is what drives your writing. No, it’s not your Goal-In-Focus Why, or even your Strategic Get-It-Done Why. Your BIG WHY is more elemental than that. It’s the reason you started writing in the first place, that thing that pulls you back again and again and again. For me, it’s the love of words on a page. Regardless of whether there will be an audience, I simply enjoy the act and process of writing. Find your BIG WHY and keep that in focus.

2) Toggle the zoom key

When our writing is shaken from routine it can be helpful to zoom out, right out and consider the bigger picture of our writing adventure. This allows us to imagine the tiny forward moving tracks we could, rather than the high productivity trails which prove impossible in challenging times. Hope is found in the long term sweep, rather than the temporary discouragement. Zooming out allows us the courage to zoom back in, lower our expectations and take the tiny little steps we can.

3) Be kind to yourself

This may seem obvious, but when we’re used to achieving a lot, small achievements can feel trivial and unimportant. We are tempted to make comparisons, beat ourselves up and even consider giving up writing altogether. But take care of yourself. Seep yourself in God’s word and let his perspective hold yours. Allow yourself time to read, to journal, and take those baby writing steps again taking care to choose tasks that enliven, encourage and inspire.

What about you? What have you found helpful as you’ve adjusted writing expectations in this or another challenging season?

PicturePenny Reeve (also writing as Penny Jaye) is the award winning, Australian author of more than 20 books for children. Her most recent book, The Other Brother, was published by Wombat Books in February 2020. Penny holds a Master of Arts in Writing and Literature (Deakin University) and loves encouraging fellow writers to develop their craft. You can learn more about Penny at and