Updated: Jan 16
Writers and freelancers are used to a healthy dose of uncertainty when it comes to clients and income. You can be poor one month and rich the next.
So, when the Coronavirus hit, it was status quo for many writers. For others, work took a dip before rebounding. In the time in between, many writers dusted off projects that had been waiting on the back burner for far too long.
The latest Question of the Week at Eat Like a Writer was a call-out to writers about how their writing has been affected by the Coronavirus pandemic. Some writers have picked up writing for the first time, while others have adapted their writing to fit the current climate.
At the start of the pandemic, I lost two of my biggest clients. I panicked a bit, but focused on covering the pandemic and how it was affecting business operators. After a while, I gained two new clients, and started this website to boost the visibility of fellow writers.
In March, the senior editor of Writer’s Digest wrote that the only thing that could keep writers from carrying on their work during the pandemic was fear. With so many book festivals, conferences and book signings cancelled, writers turned to outlets such as Zoom to offer streaming book launches and tours (via Poets & Writers).
Everyone has been affected by COVID-19, some far more than others. The following is a small peek inside what’s been happening with writers.
“For me, it's been both good and bad, actually. Good in that I've been home far more than usual so have been more productive as a result. I've released two books over the summer, and am having my historical romance series made into audiobooks which will release in the coming months. I've also started writing another story to release next year. So the time has been put to good use. Bad in that I am often distracted and unable to focus. When that happens, I turn to administrative tasks and research, or pull out a book to read for pleasure and further distraction from our current reality.” --Betty Bolté
“I’m a Contributing Editor at The Writer Magazine and author, most recently, of Better with Books: 500 Diverse Novels to Ignite Empathy and Encourage Self-Acceptance in Tweens and Teens (Sasquatch, 2019). I worried, when the pandemic forced my husband to work at home and my 13-year-old to do school on Zoom at home, that I'd never write again. Perhaps in response to the fear of losing income and career momentum, I began to freelance more than ever. Over the past six months, my brain's been working overtime, and I've had Covid-related feature articles in The Washington Post and Upworthy, and social justice-themed pieces in Romper, Parents, and Brevity. I haven't been this busy--or this creative--as a writer, in years. I find interviewing people around the country to be particularly gratifying; I tend toward positive, optimistic features that highlight good people doing good things, and it's been such a pleasure to talk with these interview sources over the past months, and to highlight their work. As a creative writing professor for Southern New Hampshire's MFA in Creative Writing Program, I've been fielding student concerns that they can't concentrate, can't write during this time of upheaval. I tell them to install a distraction blocker on their computer and train themselves to sit down for an hour or two during a set time each day and cultivate writing as a habit and a method of survival during the pandemic.” --Melissa Hart
“I've been a full-time freelance writer since 2016. I've worked with brands such as Skyscanner, Plann App and Neil Patel, and I've been published in Matador Network and Culture Trip. In February, I lost all my travel industry clients due to COVID. In response, I shifted my niche to CBD and then to digital marketing. I optimized my LinkedIn profile to attract clients and sent out at least 10 cold emails to potential clients in my niche. Shifting my niche, pitching my a** off, and re-positioning myself as an expert in the digital marketing niche has allowed me to stay afloat and land contracts that pay as much as $400 per blog post. In terms of travel, I've started getting more work in that niche since South Africa relaxed our lockdown restrictions to allow local and international travel again.” --Lauren Melnick
“I'm working on a new book that is due to the publisher on October 26 but my progress is horrible with my kids in the house doing e-learning. With constant interruptions, I can hardly get a word down. In the past, I've written complete drafts in less than a month. This one is taking forever, I don't think I'm going to meet the deadline, I'll probably punt until next year!” --Mike Moyer
“I'm the author of 10 nonfiction books (mostly marketing how-tos) and run a commercial writing and marketing consulting firm offering all sorts of written documents from resumes, to press releases, to entire books. My most recent book is Guerrilla Marketing to Heal the World (endorsed by Seth Godin, Chicken Soup's Jack Canfield...) Since I take businesses beyond mere "sustainability" (status quo) to "regenerativity" (improving): I write many materials that focus on how to turn hunger/poverty into abundance, war into peace, and catastrophic climate change into planetary balance. In the last few months, I've given a lot of thought to how the pandemic creates opportunities for this kind of deep social change and environmental healing--because, after decades of being told that society can't pivot, we've just proven that yes, we can. I've just begun querying on a new book, "Leveraging the Great Pivot: How COVID-19 Creates Opportunities for Racial Justice, Economic Advancement, and Environmental Healing." This concept has also shown up in my monthly newsletter, blog, and daily Facebook gratitude journal.” --Shel Horowitz
“I’m an author, speaker and founder of the Dream Life™ personal development program. I've worked with John Maxwell, Jack Canfield and have a global direct sales team of over 500k strong.With my two young sons now at home all day, every day, I was left with very little quiet, and very little writing time. All the energy I normally focus on composing or elevating my coaching skills and personal development program was taken up with dreaming up new ways of keeping these little guys entertained - and myself and my husband sane (and well-fed!) amidst all the chaos. Now that we're all a bit more used to this 'new reality' and have learned to re-focus our energy, I've felt a sudden surge of creative energy over the last two months. This has also been fueled by the fact that my field of expertise is much more relevant now. Everyone should be designing their dream lives, and knowing that I'm flowing in the right direction has helped my words flow again.” --Denise Walsh
“What’s the best medicine for the darkest, and most stressful days? Laughter, of course. So this year, with all its troubles, twists and turns, I’ve crafted more humor into my writing. Because the darker and more difficult things become, the greater the human need for humor. Sometimes, we just need humor to carry us through. In case you missed the point, humor.” --Karen Perry
“I'm a science fiction/horror writer who works from home. Until the Coronavirus came along, I worked from home by myself. There are a number of ways that Coronavirus has changed my writing this year. My kids are now home from school and will be for the rest of the school year. This has really cramped my writing style, as I now have to schedule my writing around their classes. Unfortunately, those online classes can be somewhat unpredictable, as they may end early for the teacher to help one student, giving the others free time. This makes it impossible to set aside a block of writing for myself with any certainty. So now I'm forced to catch snippets of time when I can. It has really slowed down my pace. When I first heard I'd be stuck at home for a while due to the pandemic, I was excited, I mean, it's a writer's dream to have tons of free time to write. But I found I was frozen for a time and unable to write. I got my wish, but now I was afraid I had nothing to say and had trouble getting anything out. It took me a while to get over it, but I finally plowed ahead with a new story idea. Things have also changed for me in that I can't attend writers conferences. Conferences were/are my main place to sell my work, meet new writers and socialize with editors, agents and publishers. I always come home energized and excited about writing, and unfortunately, that just isn't happening this year.” --Matt Betts
“I am a published author of four books - some bestsellers - in the self-help genre. My writing is always based on a deep connection to all of consciousness––that is the case for all my books and also my work as a holistic practitioner and podcast host. My passion for helping people to be more connected to themselves and feeling empowered to live happier lives is especially important right now. This changing time of turmoil helps me immensely to go even deeper with myself, to be even happier, and to feel even more satisfaction because it's a time that asks for more than just go out to have fun and feel happy. It asks for each and everyone of us to go deep inside, to connect, and find well-feeling inside of us, then share that well-feeling with the world––making my writing even deeper and also faster.” --Jacqueline Pirtle
“I started writing more as a way to share my struggles, fears, and anxieties during COVID. I began a blog to force myself to focus on the joy that surrounds me during these difficult times. I also wrote and released a book that I’ve wanted to do for years. It’s called Bursting With Happiness and it focuses on how incorporating small “bursts of joy” can make our lives, and the lives of those all around us, happier. I wrote it during this time because we all need a bit of joy, now more than ever! Throughout the book I discuss the difficulty that I’m having with COVID (as a germaphobe and someone who struggles with OCD this is my worst nightmare come true!)” --Lisa Dimino White
“I write Women’s Fiction mostly and unfortunately, virus or no virus, the battles that women fight everyday have largely remained unchanged and the issues that needed to be highlighted and things that needed to be said before still demand attention. Personally, with social time being cut so vastly, I’ve had more time to read and learn of new writing styles to be inspired by. My writing time has more or less remained the same with social time being exchanged for more family time – I would say I’m writing the same amount as I was before the virus.” --Humeira Kazmi
“Prior to the pandemic I often found inspiration during my commute to work, driving to visit friends or chauffeuring myself on an array of daily errands. A short drive was the perfect anecdote to writer’s block. All of that changed with the pandemic. As the co-author of the self-help book, “EraseN