J is for Jack-of-All-Trades

Artwork by Tom Torre (@CopernicusNerd)

Artwork by Tom Torre (@CopernicusNerd)

By Jennie Goloboy



Back in the nineteenth century, rural New England was filled with tiny farms. After the harvest, when the snow started falling, that didn’t mean that the farm families could put their feet up for the next four months–instead, they turned to making handicrafts that they could sell, like straw hats.

Being an author also involves being something of a jack-of-all-trades, and being sensitive to seasons and timing. At many points in your career, there’s nothing to do with your current project but wait. So what do you do? Here are some ideas that might inspire you, and also help your career:

1. Re-energize. Recharge yourself by exposing yourself to things that inspire you. Read a book, visit an art museum, go on a nature hike. Make something non-literary–soup, a scarf.

2. Socialize! It’s important for you to keep yourself mentally and physically healthy, and chatting with other writers is part of that. Is there a writers’ group near you? If not, you could start one!

3. Write a short story. If you write science fiction and fantasy (as most of my clients do) there are lots of good markets for your work. (Try www.ralan.com.)

4. Outline your next work. This will also help you get enough distance from the current project to edit it effectively, if necessary.

5. Social media. Are you blogging, Tweeting, etc? Bring everything up to date. Write a blog post. Follow people who followed you. If any of your friends have work coming out that you can help publicize, now’s your chance! Your goal is to get ready to help publicize your novel when it does come out.

Publicity, generating future ideas, and recharging yourself–these are all important parts of being a writer that you can’t forget.

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