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Stay Sane in Quarantine with Escapril

With all of us having to socially distance in our own homes these days, there’s very little structure to our daily lives. I no longer have classes to walk to, a bus to catch every day, or meetings to attend that cannot be attended on my laptop for the comfort of my bed. For someone like me, who’s struggled a lot with ADHD and thrives with a structured schedule, that’s a massive change for my brain to deal with. I’ve been having some trouble keeping track of time while in quarantine - oftentimes, I forget what day of the week it is.

I decided I needed something at least somewhat structural to combat this; something that would stimulate my mind and get my creative juices flowing. Conveniently, one of my good friends reminded me at the end of March about a delightful little challenge called Escapril, and I decided to take part.

Escapril was created by poet Savannah Brown, and the premise is simple. In March, an official prompts list is released, one for every day of April. The prompts are never more than a few words, and oftentimes only one. Write something every day of April - yes, every single day - based off of the day’s prompt. It can be as specific or general as you want. From there, you can share it to the internet or simply keep it to yourself.

I’ve been getting more and more into poetry recently, so I decided that giving Escapril a whirl would be the perfect challenge to keep me on task every day and give me something to do. We’re nineteen days into April as I write this blog post, and I’m pleased to report I’ve actually written nineteen poems. I didn’t manage to write one every day - sometimes I’d miss a few days and write three at once - but I’ve written a poem for each prompt, and I’m confident I’ll make it to the end of the month successfully.

This has been a surprisingly challenging thing for me to do. I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to be forced to write. I like to write things down only when the inspiration strikes, because there are higher odds that I’ll actually like what I end up with. However, this method hasn’t been good for my productivity. I love writing more than anything in the world, but before I decided to do Escapril I was actually writing less and less due to the fear that what I wrote wouldn’t be good. Escapril hasn’t magically caused me to produce nineteen masterpieces; there are some poems that I’ve written this month that I haven’t liked at all. But I’ve also produced some work I’m really, really proud of, and more importantly, I’m writing consistently. The poems I’ve written have spawned ideas for new ones, and my own standards for how my writing should be have gone down. I am less afraid of failure, because the only person I was failing was myself by holding myself back.

Going forward, I probably won’t force myself to do another challenge like this until next April, but I will make sure I keep writing. I’m grateful that this challenge has forced me to rediscover why I love to write so much and regain confidence in my own abilities to produce things that I’m proud of. Quarantine is definitely a weird time for all of us, but I’m glad it gave me the time to take on something like this and improve myself.

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