• Julie Gray

Prepare For the Future, Writers!

So many of us are struggling in these frightening times; I know I have been! It's hard to write and create or even feel creative when the world has ground to a halt. But there are some important things to remember: nothing lasts forever and the future will still come. But will you be ready for it? No, I don't mean with canned corn and new knot tying skills (although that does come in handy!) I mean, will you be ready creatively?

As writers, we are uniquely blessed - or maybe obssessed- with writing down our thoughts and feelings, whether through fiction or nonfiction. Can you find any relief in journaling about your feelings during this time? It might be for posterity, it might be something you can work with later, either explicitly in your work or as a lived experience that informs your understanding of fear, hope and lack of control when writing a character.

There are many ways to be feeling right now, none of them all that great but remember, this will pass and though it's hard, it won't actually be all that long in the scope of things. What will happen to your book project in six months? There may be a collective creative sling-shot that will throw is all into the future. Don't let your writing projects come to a halt during this time, in other words. The world wants and needs content, particularly uplifting content, or stories that take us to far off worlds. Will you be ready with lots of material and ideas in six months, when things not only return to normal but some writers will be in the position to rocket UP the reading lists?

Listen, some industries and professions have been and are going to continue to be very hard hit by this time. They may never be the same. But we humans do love and need our stories, especially in times of stress and change. I predict that these times will produce more ebook readers than we ever had before, and more audiobook listeners too. I think that people who were formerly unsure of ebooks will be converted during this time, and get used to reading in that way. I just had a book I wrote a few years ago converted to an ebook and so far it is selling much better than the print edition ever did. I know that I buy and read many more books as ebook; they are cheaper, and you get instant gratification. Ten seconds and your book is ready to read. No waiting for the parcel to be delivered, no heading out to a bookstore; I really think that the "shelter-in-place" edicts going on in most nations will create a new generation of ebook readers.

When the times get tough for creatives, we must load up our quivers for the inevitable return to not just normal but perhaps even better. Write, write, write and plan for the future. Use this time to deepen your writing skills. There are free classes and videos all over, heck you can listen to Patrick Stewart read Shakespeare on Twitter!

Will you be ready, with a new manuscript, or two or three in a few months? How about those short stories you keep meaning to write? Things will get better. Your stories and writing career can be a part of a wave that has not yet crested - a wave of creativity. I am almost completely booked with clients to edit right now; I expect that in coming months, my calender will be full. These scary times are also exciting and hopeful times. Be prepared, writers!