Sunday, November 29, 2020

Six Actions for the Silent Weeks


By Terry Whalin @terrywhalin

I understand 2020 has been a strange year with a worldwide pandemic. While many things have changed, some things continue in the same general pattern. Normally the period from Thanksgiving until after New Year Day becomes a series of silent weeks. During these weeks, many people are busy with other activities so they do not return phone calls or emails and it looks like everything is going into a huge stall. Here's an article I wrote for Almost A Writer about what to do in the silence.
The professional writer understands this season and still keeps pressing ahead in spite of the silence. In this article I want to give you six action-oriented ideas to move forward with your writing. You don't have to do all six of them—but if you did it would help you. I encourage you to read through these ideas, then choose one or two that you will take action and incorporate into your writing life. Nothing happens without consistent action. We can think about it all we want and that does not do the hard work of getting it done.
1. Start or keep working on your work in progress. Books take time. During the holidays you can choose to reduce your word counts and writing schedule. Or you can cut down the number and continue writing and moving forward. Even writing 500 words a day you will move your book forward. My encouragement is to keep making progress and keep writing even in this season.
2. Learn a new skill or work on launching a new website. In the midst of a busy season, my personal writing plans get set aside and during this time of year they are back in focus and moving forward.
3. Read a writing how-to book. I continue to read a how to write book every month. It's something I have been doing for years. There is a great variety of possibilities in the writing life. In the first chapter of Jumpstart Your Publishing Dreams, include a fairly extensive list of the various types of writing. You can get it here (no opt-in needed).  
4. Pitch magazine editors, book editors, literary agents, podcast hosts, radio show hosts, and others. As I wrote about in this article, every writer has to pitch—whether you are brand new or have been a bestseller. It's simply part of the process.
5. Write a review on Amazon and Goodreads plus tell others about the book through your social media connections. I continue to write book reviews when I read or listen to a book. I encourage you to do the same. Most of my reviews are about 100 to 150 words. They do not take long to write but are an important way to support and help other writers. It's an important action everyone can do in a short amount of time.
6. Begin a new habit for your writing life or something personal. Organize a section of your office or on your computer. For example, several years ago I started a gratitude journal with short daily entries. I continue this practice today. Or about three months ago, my wife and I changed how we were eating and I'm thinner than I have been in a long time. It has not been easy but the consistent changes have paid off. You can read here about my daily habit that I continue to practice.
As you practice some of these actions, understand your consistent action may not pay off immediately but will propel you forward into the new year. Which action are you going to take during these silent weeks? Let me know in the comments below.

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