In the middle of 2019 I had high hopes for 2020. My daughter was transitioning from a baby to a toddler, allowing me more writing time. I had a couple of projects near completion. The biggest thing I was excited about was hitting the road.
A big revenue stream for me was the live events. I would pack up my books, tent, tables, tech and giveaways and load them all in the car. I would drive to the craft show or event that I was scheduled for, set up show and start my day. During the time, I would sell books, shake hands, kiss babies, talk with readers, get ignored, eat some food I shouldn’t have eaten, reject ghostwriting offers and people watch. At the end of the day, if successful, I would have little to any books and more money than what I came with. For me that is one of the joys of writing. I loved interacting with people and hearing their thoughts. Like writers, readers are a unique bunch. I purchased a new vehicle so I could branch out more and see new places where people don’t know me and attempt to sell there. I wanted to have a stronger foothold on my state and increase my readership.
Toward the end of 2019 I was watching one of my favorite Youtubers addressing news of a new virus in China. He was relaying stories of people being closed off in their homes and entire villages being quarantined. His advice to his fellow Americans is to stock up on toilet paper, masks, water and food because the virus is coming. I took his advice and stocked up on those items. I figured this event may last a few weeks or a couple of months.
Let’s fast forward to the present. The pandemic is still going strong. The numbers reported are still looking bad. It’s been 2 years since I’ve ventured out to a live event. I haven’t traveled outside of Northeast Ohio. I haven’t gone to any family functions. Online sales of my books have increased during this time but I do miss the revenue from live events. With two years of mask wearing I’ve forgotten what some people look like.
I’m in a good mental space but I’ll admit these are dark times for many people. With the lack of interaction, job loss and health scares it’s easy to lose one’s mental health. For writers it can be extremely easy to spiral out and lose your place as a writer. Immediate real world problems take the time reserved for writing. Personal loss can eliminate the desire to write. These things over time could permanently eliminate writing from someone’s life. Luckily there are some things writers can do to withstand the mental and professional onslaught of COVID-19.
First, it’s OK to have these feelings and thoughts. These times have brought serious issues that we have to deal with, some that we have never faced before. If you need the time to deal with personal issues, take it. If you are mourning the loss of a loved one, mourn. Deal with those things so when it’s time to get back to writing you have a clear mind and heart.
Try as best you can to stay in touch with other writers. It could be a phone call, a social distanced meetup or even a letter. The International Writers Association have been conducting meetings via Zoom during this time. Those official meetings started off as informal meetups just to see how we were all doing. Keeping in touch with other writers can maintain the flame of writing until its ready to become an inferno again.
If the pandemic has gifted you the present of time, now is a good time to write. With so many aspects of writing non-existent for the moment, that time can be filled with the one thing writers should be doing the most. It may be hard to get back in the mood of writing depending on what you write. Setting a good mood can make writing easier during this time. Listening to music that fits what you want to write or songs that invokes memories are a good way to get in the writing mood. Using visuals around the room or on a screen can also help. I used virtual reality to visit the places I wanted to see for my writing. I also used it for my writing. It allowed me to escape the house for a couple of hours at a time.
This is also a good time to catch up on reading. The majority of the people in the modern world have a mountain of books in a permanent que to be read. Not only is reading a great escape but it can also keep a writer’s pen sharp.
One of the biggest things writers can do is think past this period. This will end. Things may not be the same as they once were but we’ll get close to it. In some ways society may be better off for it. Plan now what your game plan will be when the pandemic is over. I’ve started thinking about my new supplies and equipment when it’s time to sell at live events. Think of how you can monetize that newly purchased Zoom subscription. Think of how better you will be as a writer and hang in there until the storm has passed.
Robert Moore is an author and publisher at MooreWriting Publishing