June 7, 2009

Beat Recession Depression – 10 Tips for Writers

“I’m in recession depression,” one writer told me recently. “It was hard enough trying to get my book published when times were good. Now, I might as well forget it.”

Forgetting about it is almost the worst thing a writer can do. It’s second only to the very worst, which is concentrating solely on publication.

While you’re waiting for your next (or first!) writing piece to be published, here are ten tips to keep you from sinking into recession depression.

1. Remember, whether you’re published or not, you’re still a writer. Writing is a passion before it’s a profession. If you allow thoughts of publication to get in the way of your enjoyment of writing, you run the risk of giving up. Some of the best writing happens when writers put the business of writing aside and just write.

2. Don’t get stalled by disappointment. In a past blog post, I wrote about famous books that were rejected numerous times. J.K. Rowling, ee Cummings, Stephen King, Rudyard Kipling — what set these authors apart from others is that discouragement didn’t stop them. “I’m sorry Mr. Kipling, but you just don’t know how to use the English language.” Those are the exact words an editor used when rejecting one of Kipling’s short stories. Had Kipling given up, the world would have missed out on The Jungle Book, Just So Stories, and Captains Courageous.

3. Write freely every day. Clear your brain of thoughts about publication and feelings of inadequacy. Sit down and write purely for the enjoyment of it. This sort of writing clears out the cobwebs; it brings raw feelings to the surface. Sometimes, free writing can be the start of something great.

4. Take time to read. Choose books that are out of the ordinary for you. Try different genres. You might discover new interests and avenues for your writing.

5. Study and learn. Visit publishers’ web sites, browse their catalogs, and read blogs and articles about writing. Find out what those in the business are saying about the current market. Look for trends. See who’s buying and who’s not. Knowledge is power, especially during tough economic times. The more you learn about the current market, the wiser you will be when you try to sell your work.

6. Make a plan. The recession is causing publishers to cut back on the number of new titles they publish. This won’t last forever, so use this down time wisely. Set some post-recession writing goals. Decide where you want to go with your writing, and then make a plan to get there.

7. Blog and Tweet. Blogs and Twitter are two great ways to self-publish your writing. A blog allows you to write whatever you want, whenever you want to write it. When you blog, you’re building a collection of writing samples that not only demonstrate your writing skills, but also allow readers to learn more about your insights and interests. Twitter is fun, because it limits you to posting short “tweets” of 140 characters or less. The challenge is to make them interesting. Lots of writers, editors, agents, and publishers are using Twitter. It’s worth checking out.

8. Network with other writers. You’re not the only one suffering from recession depression. Misery loves company, so now is a great time to network with other writers. Join a writers’ group in your community or online. Find out what other writers are doing to beat the recession blues.

9. Step outside your comfort zone. Writers often label themselves: I’m a children’s author, a freelance writer, a technical writer, an educational writer…. What label have you assigned to yourself? Look beyond your label, and explore new territory. Try out a new style or genre, and see where it takes you.

10. Form a new perspective. I’ve been reading a wonderful novel called The Noticer, by Andy Andrews. In it, the main character, Jones, encourages people to look at their situations with a new perspective. With that in mind, how do you perceive your writing? Is your perception plunging you deeper into recession depression? If the answer is yes, then you need a new perspective — which brings us full-circle. Remember to balance writing for publication with writing purely for the enjoyment of writing.

Here are a few resources you might want to explore. Feel free to share some of your own in the Comments section.

To create a free blog, go to Blogger, or WordPress.

Join Twitter.

Build a free flash web site at Wix.com.

Check out some of the best writing blogs.


Anonymous said...

Bravo, what phrase..., a brilliant idea