Over the course of the last few months, our lives have changed hugely. We have gone from taking the freedom we had for granted and now are appreciating the smaller things in life.
When I first took my children out of school (a week before the government here in the UK closed schools), I wondered how having children at home would impact me and my creativity. I am an editor, I am a ghostwriter. Both of these jobs require creativity – if I can’t be imaginative, think ‘outside of the box’ and visualise what the author is hoping to achieve, then I simply cannot be a good editor or ghostwriter. However, I have found that I have settled into a good routine with my children and, now that I have stopped reading ALL news articles and almost obsessing with the virus, I have found myself able to be working as normal, or maybe even more efficiently than normal as I now no longer have to dash around taking the children to various clubs!
However, I am not the norm at all. There are many authors who I am working with who vary in how creative they are feeling. Some authors are thriving, they now no longer have a ‘day job’ to worry about or no longer have a hefty commute, they are finding they have more time and they are more creative, more inspired than ever to reach their word count goals, to bring their books to life. Other authors are struggling, they may have more time on their hands, but they are struggling to write. They sit at their laptops and no words come, or they may write a few lines then not think it is good enough. There are other authors who don’t physically have the time to write at all; juggling children, their jobs, their mental health… there is no time to fit in writing.
What I would like to reassure all the authors who work with us is that it is OK. It’s OK if you have to cancel an editing slot you had with us because you can’t complete your revisions in time. It’s OK if you can’t look at the feedback I’ve sent because you don’t think you can face another ‘to do’ item being added to your list. It’s OK if you’re unable to put pen to paper as no words are coming. It is also OK if you’re writing more than you’ve ever written before and you are creating manuscript after manuscript that you’d like me to look over.
I have spoken to several authors who are very established – one of which has their name in the New York Times Bestsellers list and another who’s in the Sunday Times Bestsellers list… one of them is feeling more creative than ever, the other has had to take a break from writing as they are just unable to get into the headspace they need to write.
Everyone is different at the best of times and, during a pandemic, an experience we haven’t lived through before, it is clear that we will all react to it in a different way.
What’s important to remember is this; when this is over, or when you’ve settled into a new normal, I will still be here to help guide you through the writing process. Illustrators will still be here to bring your story to life. Readers will still be here excited to read your words and lose themselves in your book. If you have to put your publication dreams back by a few weeks, a few months, a few years, it’s OK. We will all be here to support you along the way.
Likewise, if you are now way ahead of your publishing goals and are likely to be publishing during the pandemic, don’t worry. We are all still here; I’m editing away and have been able to provide more editing slots than previously thanks to not having to taxi the kids around to various events. Illustrators are still working away remotely. Readers are downloading books more than ever before and are appreciating the joy of stories.
We may be in the midst of a pandemic, but we are in it together and we are supporting you.
Don’t push yourself, if you’re struggling to be creative, it will come back to you eventually. Read as much as you can, even if it doesn’t help you to get your creativity back, it will help you when you do. Relax when you can. Look at the small things around you which mean a lot – these can creep into your mind, help you when you do write again. Use the time to look after yourself and don’t pressure yourself to write if you are unable to. It will be OK.