Uncertain Times Call for Change
This month was quite fractured for me in terms of working time and writing time, as my 18-year-old daughter was stuck in France and getting her safely home was a gong show, a stress fest that made me think I was having a heart attack for four straight days.
We all have our stories about this pandemic, and we all need to get them down, eventually. But if you’re looking at editing websites you’ve probably already got a project or two nearly ready to put out in the world.
The things you have been working on might not feel important any more, but they are. They’re important because continuing to work on them in these times of high uncertainty will increase your own strength as a human being.
Now more than ever writers, in fact humans in general, are all here to support each other and to learn how to function in a different reality, maybe for a lot longer than we think.
Making it easier
If you’ve worked with me in the past you know I’m interested in all kinds of writing–all lengths, all genres. Fiction and non-fiction. History and memoir, how-to and self-help; literary fiction, science fiction and mystery, thriller and romance.
Being a generalist has served me and the writers I work with well, partly because of the cross-pollination that comes from exposure to different ideas and different ways of expressing them, but also because nobody gets trapped in thinking one type of book or one way of writing it is the only way.
I want to keep working, of course. I love my work. But it’s struck me that how I offer it needs to change.
Most editors have websites, and many of us don’t change them that much from year to year except to add testimonials, revise a cost, or fix a glitch. It’s hard to tell how flexible an editor is by looking at a website that’s designed to not need much attention.
Unless you’ve really searched through this site, you might not know that there are a bunch of ways to get your project looked at. I always try to work in whatever way will best serve the writer’s situation.
More clarity and transparency
I usually take on projects by doing a sample edit and then giving a flat fee quote. Sometimes an hourly quote, if it’s coaching a writer through getting their stuff on the page.
However, that takes a certain level of trust by the writer before they even send me their stuff for the sample. And until they see my quote, they don’t really know what to expect in terms of cost.
This needs to change. It probably should have changed a while ago.
We’re each in an uncertain situation with regard to money, time, health, bandwidth for our writing projects, and ability to handle stress.
So I will try to remove some of the uncertainty around getting your writing projects out by posting costs rather than giving quotes, and by describing the smaller, more affordable ways that writers can work with editors / writing coaches / book doctors–call it what you will.
I’d love it if our tastes align and you want to work with me, but you will be able to use this information to approach any editor or writing coach and ask for a quote.
If you’ve popped into this website to investigate me among several editors and aren’t ready to contact me directly, come by again in a couple of days to get more clarity about costs and ways of working.
In the meantime, keep being a writer!
If you’re a writer, you read a lot anyway, and if you have gotten close enough to finishing a project that you’re looking at editorial websites, you probably write a lot, too.
Reading is good not just for seeing how other writers solve their problems on the page, but also for managing stress. A 2009 study by the University of Sussex’s Mindlab showed that six minutes of sustained reading a day (books, not social media) can lower your stress:
Reading a book lowered stress levels better than all other activities tested, including listening to music (61 percent), having a cup of tea of coffee (54 percent), and taking a walk (42 percent). On the contrary, playing video games lowered stress levels by 21 percent, but increased heart rate.Anna Papachristos, A+
And keep writing, even if you have to change how you do it. Writer Benjamin Percy, one of my mentors and a great writer who crosses that divide between literary and genre fiction (and also writes non-fiction and comic books), recently posted that Bram Stoker wrote Dracula in a time of high stress, overwork, and uncertainty. He wrote it in fragments then pieced them together.
Whatever your new reality is, I hope you find time to keep writing, even if it’s in fragments.
Stay safe, be kind, keep your heart open, make positive choices, and don’t forget about your writing dreams as you navigate the changing reality of being a human on planet earth.
If you’ve read this far, here’s a terrific piece on how we can all move forward together: Do not lose heart. We were made for these times.