So the economy sucks. Maybe you’ve lost your job or you’re simply looking for something to do since you can’t afford to go anywhere right now. I have a suggestion. Maybe it’s time to write that book that you’ve talked about writing for the last 10 or 20 years.
Nearly every time I give a book signing or reading for my novel, Seeking Sara Summers, someone inevitably walks up to me to announce that they want to write a book someday. Sometimes they’ll say they have the idea for the book, they just haven’t had the time to put it on paper. Sometimes they’ll even tell me their idea to see if I want to write it. (Please know that I will never take you up on this suggestion. I follow my own muse and like to develop my own ideas.)
But now, as the economy and our lives go through major restructuring, it may be the perfect time to get started. It requires absolutely no money up front. Most of us have a computer and know how to open a Word document. If we don’t, nearly all of our wonderful community libraries have computers and kind people there to show you how to work them. Or at the very least, most of us have paper and pens lying around the house, if not cocktail napkins and the backs of the envelopes of those bills you haven’t been able to pay.
Once you get started, you can tell your family and friends, as well as your online following, that you can’t go to the unemployment office right now because you’re working on your book. If anything, saying this may give you a much needed boost of self-esteem. After all, you aren’t sitting around watching Oprah, CNN or The View; you’re tapping into your artistic talent. This is an investment in your self that can pay great dividends down the road.
I’m not really suggesting that you shirk off your responsibilities. I’m just wondering if, for some of us, this time might offer an opportunity within the crisis.
However, nothing is easy. The journey from first word on the page to a finished manuscript that is good enough to be submitted to agents, editors and publishers is a multi-stepped process. Even if you decide to self-publish, you need a good, well-written product or your mother will be the only one to buy it.
Whether you write literary fiction, mysteries, thrillers, superhero fiction, lesbian fiction, science fiction, women’s fiction, et al, or memoir or non-fiction, the process of writing that book can take months, even years, to complete. And even then, there are no guarantees. But you might as well get started while you have a little time and see where the path takes you. You may surprise yourself.
I believe that whatever you write, it will help you on your life’s journey. Writing is as much an act of self-discovery as anything else. It’s never a wasted activity, whatever the final outcome.