As a writer, we all face the inevitable setback or two. A delay in editing, miscommunication with the illustrator, or even a misformatted final copy (yes, this happened to me.) These events won’t be the death of your publication, but it can put a damper on the celebration. Yet, if you’ve already experienced any of these, you understand that life goes on because you made it through. But if you are a new writer and delays are a new thing for you, this sudden stall must give you a certain level of panic. And it is understandable. You have been on this rollercoaster of emotions since signing your first big deal, and now you are just about to see the fruits of your hard work blossom, and now this. The CoronaHold of 2020.
You Are not Alone
The first thing you should know is that you are not alone. Everyone is in the same boat. It’s just not your book. Even as I write this, I have a novel on hold. I also have two Children’s books on hold. I am on this ride with you. So, these pointers I am about to share, are the things I do to get me through this stall pattern.
What Can I Do During this CoronaHold?
Staring at your Inbox or scrolling through your social media feed, looking for breaking news that this thing is over will get you nowhere. Neither will daily emails to your publisher asking them the status of your work. Believe me, they want to get your book to market just as much as you do; they are not making money with it sitting waiting to be printed. The best thing for you to do is get back to life as normal. If you have a day job, that’s great. Focus your efforts on your job. However, when you get home and at the time you would normally spend writing, you may find the time a bit empty. With your project done, submitted, and in limbo, what should you do? Well, you are a writer, you should write. Never let one be enough. So, here are a few suggestions to occupy your waiting time.
- Start a New Project
If you are a die-hard writer, you should already have a journal of ideas. Pull one out and begin a new project. You don’t have to pen a new novel, just get something started. What you write will depend on how you write. Are you a planner, or a panster? If you plan, start writing outlines, character descriptions, and other details. If you fly by the seat of your pants, then get going; let those creative juices flow.
- Take a Writing Course
There are many ways to do this. There are free as well as paid online writing courses. edX is a site that has free writing courses, and you have the option to pay for a course certificate. These are actual college courses from prestigious universities. There are deadlines as they follow real classes as they are in session. A Google search and a little research, and you can find other options. You’d be amazed at how much free material is out there just waiting to be learned. Then there is the infamous Masterclass, even ones by R.L Stine, Judy Blume, and James Patterson. Yes, these do cost a pretty penny, but you learn from the best in the business.
- Find a Freelance Job
A Freelance job can both occupy your time and earn you money on the side. It does require some setup, and you do need to be wary of some costs and deadlines, but it is both exciting and rewarding. Sites like UpWork and Fiverr are useful for finding freelance work. Both are free to set up. On UpWork, you look through job listings and you bid on them. It does cost to bid for jobs, and it’s competitive. With Fiverr, you set up your account, and people find you, it’s like placing an ad in a paper. The more attractive your profile, the more responses you can get. There are others out there; these are just the two that I am familiar with.
- Take a Break
If writing is not your primary source of income, then feel free to take some time off. It may actually do you some good. Allow your mind to cool off, your fingers to rest, and the fire from your keyboard to simmer down. Sometimes that is what a creative mind needs, a moment of rest. Especially when you are a new writer. Here is a perfect analogy. When someone is just beginning to work out, they are told not to work out every day. They are supposed to take a day or two off in between workouts. Why? The reason is that when you first begin to work muscles, they stretch and strain, leaving you sore. They need time to repair and rebuild. The same goes for a writer; only this is mental. You need some time to repair and rebuild mental writing muscles.
- Market your Current Work
If you have a piece already published, this would be the perfect time to double your efforts in marketing. If you don’t already have a strong presence, establish yourself in the market of your work. Use social media to plug your current pieces, get those in the spotlight, and get some sales. Remember, people are at home right now, with not much to do. You have a captive audience. People are bored; maybe people who aren’t readers will become readers. This will also pave the way for when your CoronaHold work is finally released.
The Final Word
We are all in this stall pattern. So, as a new writer, you are in perfect company. Don’t worry about your precious work of art. It will get there. Yes, it is a nerve-wracking experience. I have been there. I am there with you with one of my novels. The important thing is not to become so consumed with it that you lose the passion you had for it in the first place. Relax, and set your mind on other things. I hope I have given you a few things to think about. But, if you have the love for writing that I do, this CoronaHold is just an excuse to get started on something new. A blank screen is a new adventure just waiting to be written, and you are its grand designer.