Writers and the Pandemic



Recently, many people who have been laid off or are out of work, have learned to work from home. 

Most often, I hear stories about the challenges of scheduling uninterrupted time so the day’s work can be accomplished.  

For years, we writers have dealt with that problem—and many others: Back/neck pain, snacking/overeating, lack of exercise, trouble focusing, reduced income, sleep deprivation, family issues, lowered self-esteem due to unproductiveness and social isolation. 

So, fellow authors, our professional lives really haven’t changed too drastically. 

Low self-esteem can be the worst result. Especially if we tie our self-worth to our success as authors.

We need to write because that gives us pleasure or because we have a message we want to share. And that has to be enough.

If money and fame are the reason for doing anything, we are just setting ourselves up for hurt and disappointment.

But, here are things we can do, right now, that have lasting effects–new ways of helping others in the midst of our world crisis:

Write stories about disasters, memoirs, the triumphant human spirit. Craft devotionals, idea books for parents, songs and games for children. The list is endless.

We can use the creativity we possess as writers to encourage and inspire our readers.

What has the pandemic taught you about yourself? About others? How has it changed your life? Has it altered your thinking…your priorities…your faith…your writing?


Covers That Speak to the Heart

SIMON SAYS_mckup04


I can see the cover now: a blinding storm—a blizzard, perhaps—commuters trapped in an avalanche of snow—waiting to be rescued by—a team of sled dogs and a handsome forrest ranger…

(Sounds so good,  I just may write it!!)

But, wait—we are talking about the COVER of the book.

The question is: Should the cover tell the story…or only allude to it?

Since I just finished the cover for my newest fiction book, Simon Says, I can only share my insights from the process.

I thought, I knew what I wanted. I even conveyed it to the design team at 99Designs.

However, when I made a poll of my favorite designs, it turns out that responders had something else in mind.

They wanted a somewhat vague, emotionally-driven cover.

This shouldn’t really surprise me, because when I shop for a book to read, covers that evoke emotion are at the top of my list. They speak to the heart.

The cover should be a little vague. It should allude to–but not tell the whole story. It should make the shopper curious...pick it up…turn it over…read the back copy…hunger for more…

My new cover shows a boy watching a neighborhood baseball game from afar. The reader doesn’t know it is about bullying until they read the back cover copy…but THEY SENSE THE ISOLATION and that is how they connect with Marcus, the main character.

So, when it came down to it, I had to trust my audience because

the customer is always right.